Naked Lunch

"Terrible"

Naked Lunch Review


Quick, off the top of your head, tell me all you know about this movie.

If you recalled fondly the line that Nelson said in an episode of The Simpsons after Bart uses a fake ID to get into this film ("I'll tell you two things wrong with that title"), then you're like most of America. I knew a little bit more coming in: that it was based on a novel by William S. Burroughs that is the quintessence of non-linear narrative and that it was directed by David Cronenberg.

On the way out, I know precious little more.

Naked Lunch is one of those films that is so mind-blowing that it is baffling. So intelligent that it feels idiotic, and so strange that you wonder if you took something beforehand and forgot about it. Yet it was one of those movies critics loved.

Screw 'em.

In the movie Contact, James Woods asks "Why is it always the opinion of the egghead set that aliens are friendly?" Although the answer Jodie Foster gave back was sufficient, it should have been a more callous response: "Because we don't fear what we don't understand." However, among the intellectual set, things go one step further. Among the intellectual set, heresy is saying "I don't get it", and thus hidden meanings that weren't there in the first place are put into books and movies. The entire business is subjective, we will not know the metaphors placed into them unless we know their makers, and thus everyone is afraid to say "you're wrong" about what the meaning is.

The unknown doesn't scare us. Admitting we don't know it scares us.

Naked Lunch, like so many movies, has no real point to it. However, because it is so weird and so out of our heads it is the automatically taken position of the intellectual set that "if I don't understand it, it must be good." Two things come out of this. The first is the comedy when someone tries to give an idiotic explanation of what something means in the midst of ignorance (i.e. the man who thought "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" was an expose about Bill Clinton). The second is the tragedy when people keep their mouths shut, not brave enough to say what is on their mind.

What is on my mind, and the mind of just about anyone who has seen the film, is "what the hell?" You have no idea what is going on in the movie, and by the end you still have no idea what is going on in the movie. Yeah, you've seen a lot of weird sights (the transvestite drug dealer, the roach-centipede intelligence war, the cannibalistic typewriters), but you're no closer to understanding what went down than anyone else is.

There is a word for this, intellectual elite: incomprehensible. I know that it is the "I" word and that you're not supposed to say it in class or conversation, but that's what Naked Lunch is.

But, you know what, it isn't just the intellectuals who do this.

The debate over whether Naked Lunch is genius or simple lunacy begins anew with Criterion's DVD release of the film. Two discs of material and a weighty little booklet ought to help you through the battle over Naked Lunch, including a Cronenberg commentary, a documentary following the making of the film, a special effects illustrated essay, and countless archival materials. Hands down, it's the best DVD with an anthropomorphic typewriter ever.



Naked Lunch

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th April 1992

Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Film Trustees Ltd., Naked Lunch Productions, Nippon Film Development and Finance Inc., The Ontario Film Development Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Bill Lee, as Joan Frost, as Tom Frost, as Yves Cloquet, as Doctor Benway, as Fadela, Joseph Scoren as Kiki, as Hank, as Martin, Robert A. Silverman as Hans

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.