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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Kevin Spacey, John Cusack, Jude Law, Jack Thompson, The Lady Chablis, Alison Eastwood
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Warner Bros.
Kiddie Movie: Oh no, I don't think so.
Date Movie: Sure
Gratuitous Sex: No.
Gratuitous Violence: Nothing really. A gunshot, but that's about it.
Action: It's a mystery. No real action here.
Laughs: A bunch of them whenever The Lady Chablis is on screen.
Memorable Scene: John Kelso and The Lady Chablis at the Alpha Phi Beta dance.
Memorable Quote: The Lady Chablis tells John Kelso: "The F. stands for Frank." and John Kelso tells Jim Williams about Sonny's opening statement: "That man can weave horseshit into Egyptian cotton."
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Produced By: Arnold Stiefel

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 2:35 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Photo 1
So, John Kelso (John Cusack) used to think New York City was a goofy place. That was all until he made his was to Savannah, Georgia, to cover a Christmas party for Town and Country Magazine. John didn't need his tape of city traffic and noise to fall asleep to for long, he found Savannah just as noisy, and a hell of a lot more strange.

"Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is Clint Eastwood's direction of a story based on a book by John Berendt. Now I didn't read the book, so how it will please the book fans I have no idea, but I do know this was one kick-ass mystery film. So kick-ass that I almost pissed my pants as my 55 gallon bladder buster soda worked its magic and I didn't realize the movie was two and a half hours long. But enough of my personal problems, what about "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," which for my typing I will simply call "Midnight.." for short.

Photo 2
Well, "Midnight.." opens with a scary lookin' voodoo lady, Minerva (Irma P. Hall), sitting on a bench, pissing off a squirrel, and smiling as a plane comes in to land in Savannah. Here we find John Kelso, a writer, coming from the big city to little ol' Savannah, to cover the Christmas Party of a wealthy, eccentric, collecting all kinds of antiques dude named Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey), for Town and Country magazine. John feels way out of place as he begins to meet a dude who walks an invisible dog, finds out that all of the old, wealthy ladies carry loaded guns, attends a party where they steal electricity from the neighbor, and becomes enchanted, well, maybe not enchanted, but starts to get the hots for Mandy Nichols (Alison Eastwood, who, and please Clint, don't shoot me, but she's a babe). All is well, John attends the Christmas party, has enough for a much longer article than he is supposed to write, finds that Jim Williams is also a fan of his only book, and it is Jim who requested John to cover the party. John leaves to get some sleep before his early flight, only to be awoken by sirens and lights flashing outside his room. He heads for Jim's place, the sight of the hubbub, and finds Jim being accused of murdering Billy Hanson (Jude Law). And the story just gets more twisted.

It seems Billy and Jim were lovers, but Billy had a taste for drugs and alcohol that would get him a little crazy. Billy is dead, and now it's up to Sonny (Jack Thompson), Jim's attorney, to get Jim's name cleared. But John wants to write a book, and Jim and Sonny need someone to find the evidence to set Jim free, so they agree to work together for the common good of both. It is in John's searching that he uncovers all kinds of fun. For one, he gets to discover the work of voodoo woman Minerva, in the cemetery, as she tries to help Jim find a way to clear his case. And as scary as Minerva may be, John also finds the likes of Lady Chablis, a transsexual entertainer who is just a riot as he/she leads any man on that he/she can find, and still keeping her "T" a secret. All the while John is falling more and more for Mandy.

Yea, there may be some deep meanings in the story, that whole homosexuality thing and how your friends desert you once your "out," but this is just a fabulous movie of mystery, comedy, and in the end, did Jim murder Billy or was it self-defense?

Now, not having read the book, I don't know if it ended the way the movie did, but it got a little hokey, after the last funeral anyway. Yea, it ended happy, sort of, and I suppose if Mandy was interested in me I would find it hard to leave Savannah, too. I guess I'm still looking for a movie without a happy ending. My quest goes on.

So, what do I give "Midnight.." Well, in my book, any movie that can keep me in my seat for two and a half hours, even with my bladder about to explode, well, it's a winner. 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!

 

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