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Stupid Films: A Textbook Case

The Eyes of Laura Mars directed by Irvin Kirshner at the Sack Paris

By Raymond Bertolino

IT'S A PITY, but hardly a surprise, that so many filmmakers are successfully peddling such worthless pictures to movie audiences these days. Any sense of taste or quality in popular films has apparently gone the way of the nickel subway ride. One might forgive a film's tastelessness if it were at least moderately amusing or entertaining, but if a film is both tasteless and boring, it is an intolerable rip-off.

The formula for producing these "non-films" has become quite standard: find any old trashy material for a script, get an established star or two to act the parts, throw in some gratuitous sex and violence, promote the hell out of the film with catchy advertising, and just watch while the megabucks roll in. The lucrative rewards are enough to make even the most dedicated producer forget all about intelligence, talent, and artistry. The uninformed, sheepish filmgoers have only themselves to blame for shelling out millions annually on this celluloid rubbish. Supply, in this case, unfortunately responds to demand.

The Eyes of Laura Mars is simply another in a long line of hyped-up fiascos. The picture starts nowhere and goes nowhere, the story is plain dumb and the acting is pathetically poor. The director seems to have hastily thrown together some pretty bad bits and pieces and tried to pass it off as a whole motion picture.

Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway), a punk-chic photographer preoccupied with photographing violent, bloody, and morbid scenes, becomes alarmed when a psychopathic killer begins knocking off her friends by stabbing them in the eye with an ice pick (a rather uninspired and not very subtly executed modus operandi which grates more than it terrifies). Mars has visions of the murders as they are happening and tries frantically to find the killer, using her psychic powers.

A young detective, played by Tommy Lee Jones '69, helps Mars in her search and the two, fall in love rather suddenly and unexpectedly. The romance seems highly improbable and the love scenes are downright silly, as Dunaway always acts just a bit too shocked and desperate. Jones as the happy-go-lucky, rather moronic cop acts too juvenile, and is not at all believable. Jones played football at Harvard and I don't know how much acting he did, but he sure could use some acting lessons quick.

In short, Eyes is a real stinker. Even the twist ending is stupidly handled and unsatisfying. The film never quite holds one's attention; both the plot and the characters are so far-fetched and poorly constructed that the attempt at suspense fails miserably. The unintended audience laughs of absurdity come more often than the intended gasps of horror. Yes, this is definitely one film where the nays have it. Enough said.

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