The Lion In Winter
by a buncha Limeys
Reviewed by Archie Campbell


I'm including Gerald in this letter because he also recommended this film.

Well, I finally set aside a couple of hours in order to watch this movie.
It pains me to say it, but it was a thoroughgoing waste of my time. How you could recommend a movie like this, let alone praise it as you have, defies the logic of both friendship and artistic evaluation. This movie is just plain bad. I will attempt to list the ways in which this movie sucked, although, as I've implied, you should know better. Good lord.

Ways in which "The Lion In Winter" (hereafter referred to as 'LIW') slobs the knob of badness:

Historical/Casting Inaccuracies:

1) There are no lions in England. Need I explain?

2) Katharine Hepburn is an American. How could she play a queen of England? And one of French descent, to boot? Plus, we know from "On Golden Pond", that she has an American daughter, Jane Fonda, who is hostile to colonial powers. Maybe the screenwriter should've hired an historian. Geez.

3) England and France are on the same side. How could they not be? In two world wars they fought side-by-side to hurl back the Spaniards. Plus, how could "Queen" Hepburn be a Frenchy, but her cousin/nephew/whatever from Paris be hostile to her hubby, the King?

4) There were eight King Henries, but they only ever talk about the second one in the movie. And they write it 'II', instead of the more efficient '2'. So much for Empire.

5) Only modern bicycle messengers wear fingerless gloves. At least, only the ones I've seen on TV. And I'm not sure they had bicycles back then. This is a minor historical point, but I'll be sure to run it down.

6) There were no homos back then. It is well known that Oscar Wilde was the first British Homosexual. Didn't anyone research anything for this film?

7) James Bond (of the "Goldeneye" era, anyway) was never the King Of
France, much less a (this may be redundant) fairy one.

8) The past, especially the distant past, was in black and white. This is documented everywhere.

9) Dogs back then were the size and weight of modern adult male bison. The dogs shown in the movie were about the size of cats back then, or of frogs.

10) Christianity did not exist at the time the film takes place. Jesus
was born in England, but it was a few years later (1901).

General Reasons For Suckage:

1) Yak, yak, yak. This film is all talk, and most of it I couldn't
understand for the accents, and all of the ancient words, like "tapestry". Only modern fragments could I pick out, such as, "pimple", or "sodomy". And the dialog was so lame. It was all "I'm-a gonna beat you and take your shit", and "No, I'm-a gonna plot 'til that thing you want, the Aspartame, is mine, or remains mine in the first place. And Richard gets to be Queen, er, oops, King." "No, John the toad-boy gets to be King". "No, listen to me, the effeminate Jeffrey. I get to be King. Why don't you love me, Daddy?". And so forth. Couldn't anyone ever do anything?

2) Anthony Hopkins should only play heroes, like Nixon or cannibals who are also psychiatrists.

3) No sex, but lots of talk about it. Unfortunately, it was mostly by the 150-year-old Hepburn.

4) FX were virtually nonexistent. No explosions, no car chases, not even a donkey-cart mishap. Fucking cheap limey bastards.

5) No action. Only a couple of scenes featuring swords, one of which
featured Richard the Big Homo Warrior, who was too much of a pussy to cut the other guy's head off, like in a more modern or "good" film. There was a cool scene at the end with lots of daggers, but again, this scene fell victim to the Big English Pussitude Factor. At least the prison guard got stabbed up good.

6) Mistress not hot enough, and waaaaaay too clothed for duration of film. Would it be too far out of the service of the story to see her tits just once? I mean, people back then were often naked for long periods of time, and at random intervals, but mostly at church. There was a church in the film. 2 + 2 = Boobies.

7) The ending? What was that? They spend the film trying to destroy each other, and then are all casual and laughing-on-the-shore at the end? Huh? Henry had *so* many opportunities to stab or bludgeon Eleanor, and vice-versa. He also could have set her boat on fire after she got on board at the end. That would have been killer. But he doesn't even give her a beat-down? WTF? Instead, we get ambiguous crap about "I hope we never die! Do you think there's any chance of it?! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!".

I really can't believe that you missed all of this, but perhaps you were severely impaired when you saw the film. Did you huff paint thinner beforehand, perhaps? No matter. You're still my friend, but I'm afraid that you have forever lost whatever currency you once had in the film recommendation department. I just hope we can put this ugly little episode behind us. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see a good movie, and "The Hot Chick" won't be playing forever.

Your Pal,