Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition
In which the torture scenes were the best part of this film.

Here are some things that V likes a lot:

Stellan Skarsgård
Historical Fiction
Costume Drama

So you'd think that putting all this stuff in a movie would be a total home run, right? Well, no. Let us discuss the unintentional comedy that is Goya's Ghosts

Have a look at that cast, yo. The aforementioned Mr. Skarsgård (Quality), Javier Bardem (Quality), Natalie Portman (borderline Quality), and directed by Milos Forman (I think Amadeus and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest give him some decent street cred, if not full-on Quality).

I really don't know where to start with this one. There is so much potential for snark that there's almost too much ground to cover. You've got Javier Bardem as an overzealous monk. He goes to have his portrait painted by Goya (Stellan Skarsgård). While he's in the artist's studio, he sees a portrait of a pretty girl (Natalie Portman). He starts asking creepy questions like "so, you artist types, you have sex with your models?" and Goya tries to laugh it off, but you've all seen No Country For Old Men so you know how intense Javier Bardem can be.

So meanwhile Natalie Portman hates pork. She thinks it's icky. She's out at a tavern with her brothers one night and they try to make her eat some, and she's all OMG NO IT'S GROSS HAHA. Just so we establish that she really hates pork. Somehow the Inquisition gets wind of this and accuses her of secretly being Jewish. And she gets arrested for not liking pork (seriously) and they torture her and then throw her in a dungeon.

Then her family begs Goya to plead with Javier Bardem for mercy. Creepy Monk Javier goes to visit her in the dungeon. She's all naked and looking like she needs to eat a few sandwiches. I mean, you can count the ribs on that girl. He gets all turned on and prays with her. And by "praying with her" I mean groping her naked scrawny ass while she fervently begs God to let her out of Dungeon-Jail.

Creepy Monk then goes to visit her family and says there's really nothing he could do because she confessed to being a Secret Jew. The family gets him to admit that she confessed under torture. The family then tortures Javier Bardem until he signs a confession saying that he is actually a monkey and has infiltrated the Catholic Church in order to do harm. THIS IS THE BEST PART OF THE WHOLE FILM FOR SERIOUS.

I begin to wonder what any of this really has to do with Goya. He seems like a background character. They'd have been better off calling it EVIL MONK TORTURE or something similarly lurid. More people would probably want to see it that way.

Meanwhile Goya is painting a portrait of the Queen of Span riding a horse. She's ugly. He paints her that way. He shows it to her and she's all OH NOES I AM UGLY and then she storms off. This does not advance the plot in any way.

Flash forward 15 years. France invades, cancels the Inquisition, frees all the prisoners. Natalie Portman has spent half her life in Dungeon-Jail and girlfriend looks like a serious hot mess. Partially bald, covered in scabs, gray skin. And she's doing this bizarre thing with her mouth that looks like what my grandma does when she's not wearing her dentures. Y'all know what I'm talking about.

And she's stumbling around like a cavewoman, going "nurgh, nurgh" and chewing on the inside of her mouth. It's awesome and hilarious. You just know she was thinking about how Charlize won the oscar when she got all uglied up to play that chick in Monster. No oscar for you, Natalie Portman. I tried to find a clip of this on YouTube with no success. That sucks for y'all, because hideous crazy Natalie Portman is totally rad.

So supposedly she was taken advantage of in Dungeon-Jail and had a baby. So first she tries to go home, but her house is empty and her family is all dead. So she turns up to Goya's house and he thinks she's a beggar and he tries to give her a coin and shoos her off. And Goya is deaf now apparently. But she stands there going "nurgh, nurgh" and he gets a good look at her and remembers who she is.

So he makes her write it all down and he gives her food, but apparently does not give her the opportunity to bathe or change clothes, because she keeps rocking that "Typhoid Mary Meets Amy Winehouse" look for the rest of the film.

Let's do some summing up here, because by this point Goya's Ghosts has peaked. It's all downhill now. Guess who the babydaddy is? Javier Bardem! Natalie Portman gets put in a nuthouse. Goya buys her way out. He finds her daughter. Daughter is a whore, also played by Natalie Portman. Javier Bardem tries to bribe the whore-daughter into leaving Spain. She says no way. Chaos ensues. Natalie Portman finds an abandoned baby and thinks it's her daughter that she had like 15 years ago. Goes around going "nurgh, nurgh, my baby." Goya is still deaf. Javier Bardem is executed for heresy. THE END.

Good points: Natalie Portman trying so hard to be a convincing feeb.
Bad points: Tedium.