Urban Legends

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By Mark Ramsey | 2000/09/20

Well they’ve finally done it. They’ve made an Urban Legends movie that has virtually no urban legends in it.

Urban Legends – Final Cut is a cross between Dawson’s Creek and Murder She Wrote – it’s Murder She Creek. No wonder the theater was wrapped in crime scene tape and the popcorn was outlined in chalk. These Legends are overdue for urban renewal.

Check out personified urban legend and Blossom pretty boy Joey Lawrence who, the story goes, so yearns to be taken seriously he’s changed his name to Joseph Lawrence. Hey, it worked for Larry Fishburne! Then again, Larry never played second banana to a 12-year-old on a cheesy sitcom for five seasons.

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This movie opens with what appears to be the urban legend of the homicidal flight attendant.

The what? Who ever heard of that?

But not so fast! This movie, you see, is one of those movies within movies within movies. That concept was so fresh the first thirty times I saw it, but the last thirty have just missed that special something.

How can this movie fail? The cast is so cheap, most were found circling the studio wearing sandwich boards that read “Will Work for Catering and Star-Wagons.” Do they have agents or squeegees?

Here’s the deal: Joey and his classmates are in film school competing for the prestigious Hitchcock prize, which is guaranteed to springboard them to Hollywood success since it’s common knowledge that Hollywood flings open the doors to film school award winners.

They’re enrolled at renowned Alpine University, where students specialize in the study of low-fat cheese at high altitudes. Oh yeah, and cheesy film too! As luck would have it, Alpine U has about fifty fully dressed soundstages. You won’t find that at NYU!

Naturally, there’s a Scream-esque masked mystery killer on the loose. But this one is different! Either that’s Joan Rivers sans makeup or he’s wearing a fencing mask! They should have called this movie “I know what Errol Flynn did last Summer.”

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This flick was written by a couple of USC Film School grads which makes me feel bad, because MovieJuice is very hot over at USC (although I’m still waiting for my speaking invite, you guys). But check this out – here’s an example of comedy in this movie: “Hi Ho,” says one character. “Did you call me a ‘ho’?” says another. Ha, ha. Somebody, cue Suddenly Susan. And they say Vaudeville’s dead!

No wonder the credits explained “Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is not only coincidental and unintentional, but would be a shocking surprise to anybody associated with this motion picture.”

Here’s a fresh one: A dead character has a twin brother! Holy Vertigo! No, not the movie Vertigo, I mean the vertigo I feel from sitting through 94 minutes of this crap.

Says the producer of this movie, Michael McDonnell: “There are three basic tenets of a successful contemporary horror movie. You have to really scare them; you want to make them laugh; and you want to keep them guessing all the time.” Bullshit, Michael, to you and your rules. That Sixth Sense was a real rib-tickler, wasn’t it?

When one student is killed, a professor eulogizes “In the movie Day for Night, Truffaut asked the question, is film more important than life?” Not this film, bubba.

Please dear God let this be Scream‘s desperate final gasp. Urban Legends – Final Cut is cinema verité all right.

Verité badité.


Photos Copyright ©2000 Columbia Pictures

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