Jarv’s Birthday Series Redux: The Last Supper (1996)

This has literally never happened to me before. Seriously, I’m not joking about this. I have been forced to change my entire review because of something I found on the internet.

Obviously, I’ve written film reviews before, and I’m well aware of what a toilet the World Wide Web is, but I think that I’ve finally found the single stupidest person with internet access out there. A person so stupid that they really shouldn’t be allowed near computers just in case they snap the keys off and swallow them. A person so dimwitted that they make that fat Star Wars dork on YouTube a few years ago look like a founding member of Mensa. I am almost completely struck dumb by the sheer cretinism and intentional point missing of this utter moron. In short, I have found the Tea Party’s core vote.

And what, you may ask, has this got to do with The Last Supper, a black comedy starring Cameron Diaz released on August 23rd 1996 in the UK? Well, read on and I’ll tell you.

Contains astonishingly big tomato plants and spoilers below.

Video killed the radio star….

The Last Supper is a dark as midnight black comedy telling the story of 5 liberal post-graduate students sharing a house. Every Sunday they hook up and debate the big issues of the time (how to remove head from rectum and what we can pressure the government to ban) while achieving the sum total of, er, nothing. One night they grant a place at their table to Bill Paxton’s right wing trucker, and his reprehensible racism, misogyny and far right beliefs cause an argument. Killing him by accident, they (Jude played by Cameron Diaz and Luke played by Courtney B Vance are the two most important) argue about what to do with the body. Luke and Marc (Jonathan Penner) persuade the other three to dispose of the body. This prompts the debate that the world would be a better place if they could go back in time and kill Hitler before his rise to power.

This epiphany prompts the group to invite notable local right wing figures to dinner, and then debate them. If they can persuade the individual to recant their views, then they don’t get to drink the poisoned wine and therefore end up in Jude’s tomato garden. Eventually the toll of murdering all these people begins to manifest in the characters in the to be expected ways, Jude crumbles under the guilt, while Luke’s psychosis starts to become apparent. The group nearly splits up over the murder of a teenage anti sex education advocate, and Luke murders the local Sheriff who was sniffing around their suburban cemetery. The climax of the film has the group attempt to poison talk show host Ron Perlman (based on Rush Limbaugh), who pieces it together and murders them instead. To be fair, they have it coming.

“I’m walkin’ out of here, or the hippy gets it”

There’s a danger with this sort of film. The Last Supper clearly designed as a message movie, something to keep the liberal chattering classes entertained before they go out trying to ban pushchairs with unacceptable safety belts and the like. However, the danger is that when you’re as clever as Dan Rosen (writer) and Stacey Tile (director) think they are, that the subtlety of the message may be missed by those that most need to hear it. With that in mind, I thoroughly suggest you read this- it’s from a complete imbecile writing for a waste of bandwidth called “Just Conservative” and it is the least coherent and clearly most cretinous pile of drivel that it’ s been my utter joy to come across in a while.

The Last Supper review by Just Conservative

The man from Del Monte, he say….

Before I go on, I’m not intending to sneer at this poor devil too much. I’m going to a bit, because I can’t help myself, but the review linked to is a direct result of allowing an ingrained tribal political dogma to inform your entire life. There’s no such thing as a good “Conservative” movie, just as there’s no such thing as a good “Liberal” movie. What there are are good and bad films, and they may have an ideology, or a message or whatever, and you may disagree with it, but that doesn’t necessarily make or break the film by itself. What I’m trying and failing to get across here is that while the majority of message movies are bad, it isn’t because of the message itself, it’s because it may be lacking in some other department. Incidentally, right wing nut jobs, the slasher films that you so despise for their sex and violence are actually the most morally right wing type of film out there. I know that’s facile and overly simplistic, but even a second’s analysis will allow you to work out that promiscuity and substance abuse in these films automatically leads to punishment- invariably of the fatal kind. Think about it for a minute.

Someone really needs to look at their spice rack.

Anyway, Just Conservative think that “Liberty in this movie means killers trying to state political views. Every thing in this movie stands against our beloved America. This movie is screaming hatred against this Christian nation.” Stating something as insane as that is, in my opinion, begging for it. It’s obvious honk, to begin with, but I’m not sure how much further it could be from missing the point of the film. God bless ‘Merica.

See, I thought it was pretty obvious. I thought it was fairly unsubtle. I didn’t realise that The Last Supper was waging war on Life, Liberty and the American Way. How did I miss that? Is it because I’m dangerously left wing? I don’t think I am. Is it because I’m stupid? Very possibly. Or is it because I don’t think in binary terms, I can look at something and see that there are multiple angles that the film is getting at and that politicians of any stripe are vermin equivalent to the bacteria floating in a Mexican toilet bowl?

Damn it, it was the Salmon mousse

The point here is that you aren’t meant to sympathise with the murderous students. Luke is obviously a psychotic, and they are all weak, pathetic and whiny. You aren’t meant to look at the people and think that it’s a good thing to murder a priest (hilarious scene) because he thinks that abortion is bad. Their problem is that, ironically, they’re guilty of the exact same dogma as the poor deluded simpleton that wrote that, for wont of a better expression, review. The left, or the more sensible section of it, doesn’t want to stifle debate just as the non-extreme right does not. These aren’t admirable people: they’re murderous weaklings, lacking in the intellectual faculty to win a case by argument and are, and this is the important bit, exactly the same as those they despatch.

Brilliantly summed up by Perlman at the climax of the film, where he points out to the dumbstruck quintet that he doesn’t believe his dogma; it’s a persona and he’s taking people for a ride. This, frankly, renders them speechless, yet it’s to the film’s credit that these idiots are this naive. Does any politician believe a word of what they stuff in their manifesto? Of course not, because if they did, then they’d be zealots and far too dangerous to be allowed anywhere near power. The world simply isn’t as black and white as our heroes believe, people are not split down an imaginary political line where the good live on the left and the bad on the right. People are just people, scumbags and saints live side by side, and it’s this that they simply did not understand.

Eleanor Rigby had plans for Father Mckenzie.

It’s not a perfect film. Lots of it is incredibly clunky, not least of which is the plot device of the cop on the trail, and it’s crass and unnecessary to make their first victim a sex offender. Furthermore, the most entertaining section (the killings) whips by far too quickly with far too much focus on our cardboard liberals falling to pieces. By the time Perlman appears on the scene (an incredibly lazy piece of writing, this), the film has lost momentum, it’s bumbling along not going anywhere and not making its point. Each killing has accelerated with the pro-smoking advocate being on screen for about 14 seconds before they stuff the arsenic laced wine down his throat, and this is to the detriment of the film. This is a mistake, because we’ve become  desensitised to the killings and shortening the time they have to show their abhorrent nature to our crusading group of morons means that the killings become less righteous and more sordid, and although the pettiness of their victims is increasing, there’s no sense that they still believe in their cause- Luke is doing it for kicks, for example.

Ron couldn’t contain his joy at sneaking the part of Jack Hell from Roddy Piper.

Overall, this is a good film, and with a bit less of a broad brush it could have been a great one. It’s darkly funny, well acted, polished and very impressive, but the flaws in it work to the detriment of the point that Rosen was trying to jam down our throats. Perlman’s appearance is frankly a relief, as his cameo steals the whole film without any effort whatsoever. Nevertheless, I do recommend it, because apparently it’s dangerously subversive and offers an insight into the evil pagan mind of the left wing who want to destroy your lives. They know where you live, by the way. How’s that make you feel? Secure? I’m giving The Last Supper 3 deluded Hippies out of a possible 4, because I do rate this film, although I do in a way look at it as an opportunity missed.

Until next time,

Jarv

The Full List for the Birthday Series Redux:

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

29 responses to “Jarv’s Birthday Series Redux: The Last Supper (1996)”

  1. Jarv says :

    I do really like this film, by the way. I’m not sure if it came out in the very very sarcastic review.

  2. tombando says :

    Perlman, Vance and Paxton mean this will be worth it. Giant robots and all.

  3. Xiphos0311 says :

    Until that last bit the conservative guy was sort of on point if oddly stated and way to verbose. Never heard of this movie don’t think I will watch it sounds pretty lame actually.

    • Jarv says :

      He goes off the rails as soon as he tries to review it- his first piece of “analysis” is that liberals want to kill anyone that doesn’t agree. It’s pure tinfoil hat wearing garbage.

      It’s not preachy- honestly. He’s completely missed the point of the film.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I just see it as a guy writing for his audience. I would imagine that if the movie had been reviewed at a left wing website it would probably take on the tone of how good it would be to kill off those that don’t agree with how awesome out repeatedly failing ideas are. political websites throw red meat to their audience.

      • Jarv says :

        There aren’t any left wing things for it. I did check.

        He’s completely wrong. In fact, he’s so wrong that it’s staggering, he’s completely misread the film. It’s paranoid horseshit that a little Indy film- which quite clearly presents the left wingers as weak, whiny, fuckheads is advocating the extermination of everyone that doesn’t agree with them.

        Any left wing site that did post as you suggested would also be missing the point.

        I have, and for no reason I can put my finger on, a suspicion that a chick wrote it, actually.

      • Jarv says :

        To be fair, by the way, I don’t think a left wing blog would be stupid enough to think this film advocates what they’re doing.

        If they were, then I’d flay them

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        apparently you don’t read Daily KOS and the like. I troll a lot of those sites(conservative ones also) so I see that shit all the time.

      • Jarv says :

        No, I don’t. What I meant, though, was that I’ve never seen a Last Supper review on them.

        I do read the Guardian, and some of the shit they come out with is ridiculous.

  4. Droid says :

    I’ve forgotten most of this movie. It was okay, but I don’t think I’ll bother revisiting it.

    • Jarv says :

      It’s a good film that narrowly misses being great due to being too broad brush. I was thinking more about it, and the teenage girl that provides the tipping point is horribly misguided. There’s no way that they’re going to execute a minor. Luke is, but he’s a psycho, but the rest of them aren’t.

  5. Just Pillow Talk says :

    Never even heard of this. Sounds like I would just fast forward to Perlman’s part at the end and save the hour or two from watching the whole thing.

  6. Bartleby says :

    I have a slightly different take on this. First off, Just Conservative is a terrible writer but Xi is also right–he’s writing for his audience. Jarv is right in that he’s a moron, because I think he’s drunk the koolaid and IS part of his own audience.

    Unless of course the whole thing is some kind of performance art, which means he’s overcooked it, just like the movie.

    I really dislike The Last Supper, but it’s mostly because it doesn’t really know what it’s trying to do. It surely thinks it does, and seems to have a clear message, but as you pointed out it’s so unbsubtle that there’s no point making a feature length film if your point hasn’t advanced any from the first scene to the last.

    Last Supper may be targeting people on both sides who swallow an agenda hook, line and sinker, but it’s not without its own biases and that ends up with it yammering on like a dim, literal-minded child in ways similar to JC. The problem is that Perlman is so good in his sequence, which is large enough to obscure the rest, that he almost sells the movie to us. It helps I guess that he seems to understand the script better than everyone else involved.

    In the end I felt like I was sitting there listening to some absorbed yuppie who thinks they are smarter than they really are, tell me something ‘important’.

    I also don’t think I laughed very much through Last Supper.

    • Jarv says :

      Part of the reason why I like it is that it’s slightly smarter than the likes of Just Conservative think. It’s showing that people/ dogma are rotten, and if anything leans slightly right- who’s the “winner” in this film? It’s the far-right talkshow host, while those on the left are killed.

      Perlman’s section does obscure the flaws of the film, though.

      Laugh out loud is probably the wrong term, it’s a black comedy, and there’s lots here that induces a smile. It isn’t hysterical though.

      Re- Xi’s point. I’m not denying that he’s writing for an audience, of course he is. I find it amusing how stupid he is and how badly he has missed the point by. That’s all- I think he is that stupid and that far off the mark that I don’t think it can be ascribed to preaching for the choir.

      • Jarv says :

        nds up with it yammering on like a dim, literal-minded child in ways similar to JC

        I don’t think it does. The portrayal of the murders negates this. The first one with the priest perhaps does, but by the time they get to the little girl, the victims aren’t even being given the opportunity to state their case. They’re being effectively purged.

        I wonder if there isn’t a communism allegory buried in here somewhere.

      • Bartleby says :

        I didn’t mean the characters, the movie itself is yammering, and it’s doing so by amping up the murders to the place of purging.

        I thought the intended point was tied back to the ‘what if you could kill hitler?” idea that they have, and that extreme dogma will eventually lead back to the very thing you think you want to destroy; in this case, the Nazis.Their brave new world would eventually get around to a form of genoicide. The thing JC has gotten confused about is that the movie is a little clumsy, and I can see a not particularly astute person walking away with the thought that the movie thinks liberals want to murder any idea they don’t agree with or can’t change. Of course, JC is stupid because he thinks that makes the movie pro-liberal. I never saw it that way at all.

        The muddle comes in because there’s no good example of a similar right-wing character to match the idealistic but deluded left-wing nutters. Paxton is vile and beyond-the-pale so he’s not a consideration, and the others aren’t given much definition until they are just victims, and Perlman proves to just be a BSer who doesn’t even have convictions. It’s implied that only the liberals are so veracious as to murder for their political leanings.

        I think this would have been bang-on as a play that mostly suggested the first two-thirds of the film, and left all ‘victims’ off screen save for Paxton and Perlman.

      • Bartleby says :

        and yes, Perlman kills them all, but it’s hardly over ideals.

      • Jarv says :

        Well, yes, that’s the point- it’s an Animal Farm thing about all extremities resembling each other. I disagree that it needs a strong right-wing character. It doesn’t. What it does need is one of the murder victims to be a hard-core Spartist/ extreme Trotskyite.

        Someone lurking at the far left end of the political spectrum talking about collective ownership and whatnot. A Stalin apologist. This would then force the murderous bunch into examining their own ideology, and if the “could you kill Hitler” thing is the crux of the film, then surely they could also kill Stalin. To turn his murder down would be to reveal the grotesque hypocrisy of their stance.

        It is, apparently, a great two-act play. This is where anyone trying to tie it to a political standpoint are getting it wrong. If anything the film is anti-politics and anti-ideology. It’s certainly not pushing a liberal agenda.

  7. MORBIUS says :

    Like the meals being served,

    I found this to be ‘passable fare’.

  8. ThereWolf says :

    Nice one, Jarv.

    I might give this a go. ‘Black comedy’ is a genre I need to brush up on, I’m not altogether comfortable with it. Daft really; ‘Dr Strangelove’ and ‘Catch 22’ are classic examples and I like both of those.

    While I am aware of a movie’s political leaning on some level, generally that stuff goes over my head.

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