Revisited: Australia—one of the worst movies ever made . . .
I originally posted this movie review in April of 2009. I revived it this morning and found it so appropriate and so beautifully written that I decided to make it available for readers that may have missed the original post. This movie review is truly a delight to read, and I say that with all modesty aside. How can one be modest when one can claim authorship of such a glowering analysis of a movie that reportedly cost $130 million to bring to the screen?
Oops, I meant such a glowing analysis.
Glowering is an adjective, defined as the work of a saturnine, almost misanthropic young genius. Because I am neither saturnine, young nor misanthropic, I lay claim only to the genius part of that four-part definition, and I reject the other three parts. Click here to confirm the meanings of glowering, saturnine and misanthropic. You can also click here to read the original post if you like, but that should be unnecessary—it’s identical to this post and I haven’t changed my mind, not even one whit.
My original and current opinion of the movie Australia was, and is, as follows:
Having read the reviews of movies made by various reviewers over a period of many years, I have decided to try my hand at the process. This effort was prompted by my having ordered the movie Australia from Time-Warner’s Movies on Demand.
I sincerely regret ordering the movie. More than just ordering it, I regret that I actually watched about half of it. I regret buying it ($5.99), and I regret watching it because of its poor sound track (fading in and out), its Beverly Hillbillies/Dukes of Hazard musical score, its childish dialogue, its never-ending depiction of (and its fawning over) the vaunted mysticism of the Australian aborigines, its amateur directing, its atrocious acting and its computer-generated images, ostensibly showing Australia’s magnificent scenery—some of the landscape scenes were genuine, but others would rival scenes from the Harry Potter movies. Seared into my brain is the segment showing the cattle drovers galloping their horses at full speed on the edge of a precipice and cattle falling into the abyss—that memory will stay with me forever.
I endured about half of the film before I gave up in disgust. I don’t know how it ended because I didn’t wait for the ending, and I don’t want to know how it ended because I really don’t care. The entire cast and crew and everyone else who was even remotely connected to the movie should be charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to watch the film in its entirety, credits included, for at least 500 of their waking hours (143 times) with their heads clamped in a stationary vise and their eyelids taped (or stapled) open.
Australia is one of the worst movies ever made—it easily qualifies for a spot near or at the top of any Worst Ten list. I have difficulty believing that Nicole Kidman actually earned her nomination for best actress in Moulin Rouge!, and it’s even more difficult to understand why she was awarded an Oscar in The Hours for the best performance of an actress in a leading role. I haven’t seen either of those movies, and because of her silly, superficial and inane performance in Australia I don’t plan on ever seeing them.
However, I must say that I enjoyed her performance in the movie Billy Bathgate, but only the part where she dived (yes, dived, not dove, is the correct past-tense of the verb to dive, regardless of what the dictionary shows) into a secluded waterfall pool after standing, well-illuminated in full-frontal view of the camera, for several heart-thumping seconds before diving—and that scene was enjoyable only because she was sans swimsuit. Actually, she was sans everything—she wore only a smile, and showed considerable evidence of not having used any sort of depilatory preparation. Since the scene did not require the actress to emote in any fashion, she therefore rocked it (she did this scene with Dustin Hoffman watching, and I have envied him ever since).
My rating system for movies consists of ten stars, with films being rated from zero to ten—the more stars, the better the movie.
Australia earns a well-deserved zero.
That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
December 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm
Wow, I really liked the movie and have seen it twice. Oh, well, just goes to show me that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and our tastes certainly do vary. Oh, variety, it is indeed the spice of life!
December 14, 2010 at 8:08 am
No te preocupe! That’s Spanish for “don’t worry about it.” By your having sat through that agonizingly long movie, not once but twice, you have demonstrated more stamina than I have every known. As the old farmer said when he kissed the cow, “To each his own.” As for variety being the spice of life, that bromide has gotten legions of husbands into lots of trouble!
Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment.
December 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm
Mike: You mentioned the movie Billy Bathgate. A good portion of it was filmed right here in Hamlet. This was during the latter part of 1990 and early 1991. I’m sure you will recognize the downtown area of Hamlet as it was used for the town scenes.
Nicole Kidman was chauffeured around in a white Chrysler New Yorker. I remember seeing her car pass in front of our old house on Charlotte Street numerous times.
December 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm
I remember you telling me that, Bill. I also remember us going by the burned-down hotel where some scenes were shot and you and I acquiring some souvenir bricks even though the signs said something to the effect of Do not remove items, etc, etc. I kept my brick for years, but somewhere along the way it disappeared. I guess I just got tired of hauling it around. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment.
December 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm
Now that you mention it, I do remember us, well, maybe it was just you, “acquiring” some of the souvenir bricks. That was several years ago though, sometime around 1993 or 1994. Even though Cindy constantly tells me that I remember everything, I will have to admit that I had forgotten all about that until now.
September 24, 2011 at 9:07 am
As an Australian I reluctantly agree with you. That movie rates as one of worst I have ever seen and made me cringe.
September 29, 2011 at 8:40 am
I understand your reluctance to agree with me on my rating of “Australia.” I would be reluctant to agree with anyone that panned Hollywood’s “How the West was won” but I would definitely agree with a low rating.
I had an opportunity to spend a week in your country during the Vietnam conflict. However, I weighed the 14-hour flight to Sydney against the 4-hour flight to Manila and I chose Manila. I have regretted my choice ever since and will always regret it. It’s one of my saddest memories of “what could have been.”
Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment.
May 25, 2012 at 5:55 am
Couldn’t agree with you more mate……..terrible film possibly the worst ever and yes I’m Australian. Bugger……what a waste of money.
May 26, 2012 at 5:34 am
Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment. I spent some time on your web site and learned that you worked with Hugh Jackman for his role in Australia. Good work, Greg—well done. It’s a shame they didn’t have you work with Australia’s Leading Lady in the movie. I still shudder when I relive the scene in which she sang to a child—the director must not have been on the set when that scene was shot.