Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heathcliff (1997)

Year: 1997
Rated: NR
Run Time: Too fucking long.

Cliff Richard as Heathcliff
Helen Hobson as Catherine Earnshaw
Darryl Knock as Edgar Linton
Sara Haggerty as Isabella Linton
Jimmy Johnston as Hindley Earnshaw

First Viewing - February 7, 2010 on Youtube.

It physically pains me to even type this. I would rather just drink heavily until I forget that I spent two hours of my life watching this...this...all mighty ass raping. But there is not enough alcohol in the whole state of Montana to make me forget. In fact, drinking the necessary amount to make me forget would kill me and then you, dear readers, would never know to stay away from the most atrocious adaptation of Wuthering Heights to ever haunt celluloid.

A few weeks ago while I was writing my Wuthering Heights: The Other Versions blog, I realized that one of the random musical versions of WH was actually filmed. While searching for an image, I discovered that the whole damn thing was on youtube. It couldn't be that bad, right? Maybe it would be kitschy and adorable like Thumbelina. Or hell, maybe it could be good. Who was I to judge?

I do not simply have the strength to do a full WH review of this movie. There will be no handy-dandy individual sections on the costumes (Regency! WHAT THE FUCK?), the sets, the music (oh, God, I am feeling weak with remembrance), or what I liked or disliked. (BECAUSE I FUCKING DISLIKED EVERYTHING!) And the characters....[Jordyn pauses to inhale and exhale deeply]...don't get me started.

First off, let me give you a little background information. There's this singer from Britain named Cliff Richard. I had never heard of him till this week. At age 55, he got it into his head to play Heathcliff. Since he's TOO FUCKING OLD, he financed a whole musical production on his own. They put it up in Britain, then taped it. This is what I saw.

By the way, did I mention it's called Heathcliff? No, not Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff. Get it right. Because that's what the whole story is about, right? There aren't any other characters, right? Fuck this shit.

Basically, the play starts with some stock footage of the Moors and some kids running around with each other. Then it's Cathy's funeral. Then Heathcliff remembers everything. The story goes in a semi accurate direction, hitting important plot points but then taking 10 minute tangents to sing an awful song.

Let me try to describe the music to you. It's like if Andrew Lloyd Webber and Michael Bolton decided to write a musical. On the night of their writing session, they ate week old egg salad sandwiches from a vending machine belonging to the devil. But instead of postponing their writing session, they powered through that diarrhea infused night and gave birth to this.

Actually, the music was written by John Farrar who wrote at least two good songs ("Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "You're the One That I Want" from Grease). And the lyrics were written by Tim Rice. Yes, Sir Tim "Aladdin/The Lion King/Aida" fucking Rice. What the fuck? How can this be bad? I really blame the actual music...but the lyrics are no blue ribbon winners either. It's like Tim Rice decided that he would throw out the first thing that popped into his head and keep it. That, or this was punishment for losing a bet.

Here are some examples of the songs: "Gypsy Bundle." "Gambling Song." "I Do Not Love You Isabella." I was praying for death when a group of women were inviting Cathy to "Thrush! Cross! Grange!"

They cut out Nelly, just fyi, (GRRRR) so after Cathy shreiks "I! AM! HEATHCLIFF!" to herself, Heathcliff is plugging his ears and running away. We are then treated to a twenty minute interlude where we see Heathcliff gain is fortune by dancing in Africa, India, and China.

My issues with this pile of shit are insurmountable. There is absolutely nothing about it that I enjoyed. All right, I take that back. When the cast isn't stabbing our ears with the horrible songs, they exchange dialogue that is actually from the book. Woo. Hoo. I think this is just pure laziness though. There was too much work to be done with the singing and choreography.

What's most entertaining to me is that I used to think WH '03 was a bad musical version. Heathcliff makes that look liked fucking Les Miserables. Which is ironic, because this turd is trying to be Les Mis but failing tragically. This is just the product of some selfish fucker wanting to play the "greatest role of all time."

Perhaps the most ironic thing about this whole all mighty ass raping, is that it had fans! It made money! It ran for a year and broke all sorts of records in Britain! The greatest injustice is that this is available to the English speaking world (via Youtube) and yet, some of the rarer, more interesting versions will never be seen again.

My word to everyone: stay away. Far away. This is literally the worst thing I have ever seen. And I've sat through several Razzie winners...and Date Movie. This movie/play/piece of shit personally offends something I dearly love and care about and therefore, constitutes such a title. I hope I never see anything as bad as this as long as I live.

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