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The Million Dollar Hotel
2000 - R - 122 Mins.
Director: Wim Wenders
Written By: Bono and Nicholas Klein
Starring: Mel Gibson, Milla Jovovich, Tim Roth, Jeremy Davies, Jimmy Smits
Review by: John Ulmer
Now here is an odd movie. It is boring from beginning to end, and its biggest star wears a neck brace throughout. Under normal circumstances I would praise Mel Gibson for taking on a small role in a film, but given the film, I have to wipe everything away from memory. But I fear I will never be able to.

I should have thought twice when my video store clerk told me this was the most refunded film of the year.

"The Million Dollar Hotel" is about a hotel--pretty obvious. One day, a man jumps off the top, and cop Mel Gibson is sent into the creepy hotel to investigate. The hotel is inhabitated by a group of pure oddballs; they make the Mansons look like the Beavers. One is a strange man who wanders about thinking he is the fifth member of The Beatles, while a strange woman prowls the streets at night. And the narrator is the worst; he mumbles through the narrative and you can't even tell what the heck he's saying more than half the time. He'll start off and slowly his voice becomes so low-pitched and mumbling, you feel like just putting on the subtitles.

When Gibson starts to investigate, we realize that he is just as odd as the people in the hotel. Which leaves one to wonder what the filmmakers were thinking. Truly, the characters are so disconnected and odd, they are not even original (which I suppose was the filmmakers' goal). They are a bunch of annoying, mumbling druggies that inhabit a creepy hotel. Given the right director and actors this film could have been pulled off, but the director, who uses a bunch of annoying camera techniques, seems to try and make everything dark and broody--nothing wrong with that, but it gets over-the-top after a while, and you actually start to get dizzy. Why? Well, first you have to strain to hear the narrative, then you have to focus not to get dizzy from the narrator jumping around like a monkey on screen. (He admits to Mel Gibson he is dumb. Dumb is an understatement.) THEN you have to strain to see the surroundings, and the camera techniques make you sick the entire time.

The film's idea came from U2 man Bono, and I can imagine how mad he is right now. This film is pure, unadulterated trash from beginning to end, posing as cinematic art. It steals from "Blade Runner" and any other dark film you can think of. There are no redeeming values whatsoever, and I, the man who will sit through any movie and never say that 90 minutes of my life were stolen, actually started to feel like 90 minutes of my life were being stolen. That's a first.

Usually I can watch any film with Mel Gibson, mainly because I think he has a strong yet subtle screen presence, but this film actually made me sick. But I suppose there's some irony, because Mel Gibson himself said at a press conference, "I thought it was a boring as a dog's [bottom]."

If you like trash, dirt, grime, annoying characters, ripped-off camera techniques, ridiculous scripts and horrible voice-over narratives in your films, then I highly recommend "The Million Dollar Hotel." But if you are like the majority of moviegoers who...hmm...actually appreciate GOOD movies, then I recommend you go pick up something else.

Not even the Gibson fans should see this one. As Peter Travers from Rolling Stone said in his review, "I suppose I should tell you that Mel Gibson's character had a third arm. It's not important. It's just one of those movies."
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

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