Good movies unfold, bad movies unravel. With both, at least, you get to figure it out for yourself. Some movies don't reveal themselves as bad until years later (how many movies have been falsely colourized by youth or the forced mood of a date, I wonder). For example, when you come across The Usual Suspects on a Sunday afternoon, do you put down the clicker so you can wade through that foolishness all over again? I didn't think so (mind you, Benicio del Toro's profanity-laced mumble-jumble act is worth a few laughs).

Miracle at St. Anna plays no such games. It is caustically obvious in its awfulness. It announces itself by laying on the horn and then barges through the front door anyway, knocking over lamps, slurring stories that don't make any sense, accusing you of being a bad host while sliding change off the coffee table, lurching around, leering and ugly. It is insistently bad.

Imagine The Green Mile meets Saving Private Ryan and then insert as many stereotypes as possible. C said she kept waiting for Tom Hanks to come trotting around the corner. We've got the Mice-and-Men-gentle-giant-type black guy, the by-the-rules black guy, the jive-talkin'-hustler-type black guy and the normal black guy who's really Puerto Rican. We've got the charming little boy who needs to be saved. We've got the noble partisans. We've got the honest-but-conflicted Italian villagers. We've got the fallen-madonna love interest. We've got the machine-gun-happy German soldiers, who seem capable of only hitting civilians before running into machine-gun fire themselves (stupid Nazis!). We've got the evil, brutish German officers. And one good one, just because.

The story staggers around and then sits down and drools on itself before getting up again just in time to make no sense – something to do with a statue head and a mountain that looks like a human profile and some massacre and some betrayal? I think. Oh yeah, and there's some racist American officers from the bad American south and some racist American ice-cream parlour proprietors from the bad American south. And these four black soldiers basically just go around and do whatever they want, and talk shit to whoever they want, because that's how the army works, especially during a war, and especially for black guys in the 1940's. And just in case you don't know what's going on, the musical score has all the subtlety of spraying Air Wick in someone's face.

Awful. Really, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. C said she couldn't believe that Spike Jones Spike Lee directed it. I looked back at her and said, "I'm so sorry."


  1. Spike Lee, not Spike Jones. Even more astonishing.


    Scroll down for snippets from critical reviews. You'll feel vindicated.

  3. "The story staggers around and then sits down and drools on itself..."

    I love this, this one line just made my day.


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