House Of D (2004)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres: Coming-Of-Age, Drama, Urban Drama
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David Duchovny David Duchovny
Anton Yelchin Anton Yelchin
Robin Williams Robin Williams
Téa Leoni Téa Leoni
Erykah Badu Erykah Badu
David Duchovny David Duchovny

6.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 04, 2005
In the history of American cinema, there have been lots of really bad movies. I remember suggesting that "Jackass: The Movie" was the worst motion picture of all-time, and I still stick by that statement. However, there are others. Each and every year, more than 50% of the films I see turn out to be total garbage -- useless cinema that should have never made it past the script stage. Looking back over the past five years or so, I can pretty well list the worst of the worst -- they leave almost as strong an impression as the good ones. Looking back, "House of D" would certainly fall in the top five. Where do I begin with this epic waste of time? I came close to walking out of the theatre twice; however, I would have been following the gentleman behind me. He walked out about thirty minutes into the picture and he never came back. I don't blame him. I know exactly what he was feeling, because I was feeling the same thing for the ninety or so minutes this dramatic slice of dog shit sucked away my neurons. What genius thought it would be a good idea to let David Duchovny write and direct his own movie? Lions Gate Films are not known for these kinds of disasters -- surely they smelled the funk all over this one. But, if they did, why was it ever released theatrically?

The protagonist of this story is Tommy Warshaw. We first meet Tommy as a middle aged man (David Duchovny) living in Paris and wanting to tell his wife and son a secret that has haunted him for thirty years. And, he does. We then cut to Tommy as an almost thirteen year old (Anton Yelchin) living in 'The Village' with his neurotic mother (Tea Leoni), his mentally retarded best friend Pappass (Robin Williams), and a lady living in the Women's House of Detention (Erykah Badu). So, what was this terrible secret that took Tommy to France and sent his life in an entirely different direction? By this time, when it is finally revealed, we're expecting something huge -- something devastating. But, what do we get? Beats the hell out of me. I don't know if they ever did tell us what the secret was? The scenes that were suppose to represent the secret cannot be the secret -- they are nothing. So what if his retarded best friend stole a bicycle. So what if he got kicked out of Catholic school. So what if he decided to play Clint Eastwood and pull the plug. These things are really not catalysts for this 'supposed' life changing experience. And, why would this secret matter to his family? Why even tell them? It is not dark. It is not sinister. A little ridiculous, maybe. I kept getting the feeling that I had maybe went to the bathroom, unknowingly, and missed about twenty minutes of the plot of the film.

The bottom line is this: who gives a shit? I didn't care about any of these characters and I certainly did not care what happened to them. Anton Yelchin is screechingly bad as the young Tommy -- he is stiff, rigid, untalented, and pure boredom. No wonder the people around him are dropping dead and leaving him hanging -- he has the personality of a wet sponge. Robin Williams is all over the place as Pappas. At first, I thought this was a sequel to "Jack" and he was suppose to be the same age as the children. Then, I realized this was not true when Williams says he is 41. Jesus. These days, when a 41-year-old retarded guy tries to land a job working in a boys school, they would lock him up before he even signed his W2's. There was something really creepy about the way Williams played the character -- I didn't find him sympathetic, nor did I find him amusing. Poor Frank Langella gets the most disposable character in the film -- the Catholic priest who really has no point to the plot. And did anyone else notice how all of the people with French accents had such terrible French accents? Jesus Christ -- get a coach or something. If the crew is going to go all the way to Paris to film some scenes, they might as well find some actually French people to play the damn roles.

On to the directing. Woof. This is one of the worst directing jobs I have ever seen in my entire life. There are so many scenes that have no business being there, and so many scenes that are turned upside down my Duchovny's ineptitude. For instance, why so many scenes with Yelchin pissing into a cigarette filled toilet? And why, towards the end, does he reach down and take the cigarettes out of the fucking toilet? This was disgusting. It was not emotional. I wanted to vomit. The biggest sign pointing to an inexperienced director was the French scene where Duchovny is telling his wife his story. Some of the neighbors are listening with their heads popped out their windows, tossing in the occasional wisecrack. How in the hell is this going to happen in real life? And why in the hell does he talk French one second and American the next -- make up your mind, Mulder. The scenes with Yelchin and Badu seem ultimately staged, and therefore no drama comes from it. The scenes between Yelchin and Leoni are decent enough, but Duchovny turns Leoni's character into a raving lunatic -- he shifts her personality too dramatically, and even a gifted actress such as she cannot keep up with his ludicrous speed. I would venture to say that 50% of this film was unnecessary in conveying any part of the plot or story. Even a more experienced director could not have made sense of this weak, weak script.

So, what does the 'D' in the film '"House of D" stand for? That's a good question. It could stand for 'dumb'. It could stand for 'depressingly bad'. It could stand for 'dreadful'. Yes, I like that one -- it sums it up quite nicely -- dreadful. This was, without a doubt, the worst films I have seen in 2005, and one of the worst films I have seen in the past decade. David Duchovny never needs to write or direct another film for as long as he lives -- dare I say he should just drop out of sight after this disaster. The only thing -- and I do mean the only thing -- that remotely resembled quality in this film was Tea Leoni's performance, and even she should be bitch slapped for reading this script and thinking it was a good thing. Oh wait -- she's married to the director. Who cares? Even she should know better, husband or not. "House of D" was as painful as movies go, and I do not mean that in a positive way. It was like being forced to watch talented actors read really bad high school poetry to the backdrop of The Shaggs music. It was as close to contemplating suicide in a movie theatre as I have ever come. The "House of D" is burning. Bring the gasoline. 1.5/10.
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