The Last Supper

1995 black comedy

Rating: 15/20

Plot: Five annoying liberal grad students decide to start inviting right-wing extremists to dinner parties in order to poison them and then grow fantastic tomatoes.

I first watched this when I was in my early 20s which is just about the right time to watch it. I had fond memories, remembering it as a sort-of gateway movie that got me into dark comedies more. I was listening to a lot of talk radio at the time--Rush Limbaugh and the liberal radio talk show guy Alan Colmes--and still kind of figuring things out ideologically, trying to wrap my mind around right wing and left wing and Kennedy's assassination and abortion rights and all the desert wars. I really miss those days, back when I was young enough to be excused for not having everything figured out and forgiven for voting for the wrong person in the 1992 presidential election. Now I'm middle-aged and closer to death than birth, and I still don't know what the hell is going on. All I really know is that I don't like extreme viewpoints. I'm not a fan of terrorists, and I'm not a fan of Donald Trump although I'm pretty sure he's actually more of a faux-extremists. That's pretty much it. Like more Americans should admit about themselves, I still haven't figured things out exactly.

This movie's all about extremism, and I like how sneaky it is. You're fooled into rooting for one side early although there are definite signs that they are, as the kids say, douche bags. I mean, they use words like "puerile," a douche bag word. They also eat salad after the main course. No, there's nothing wrong with that until you refer to it as "European style," and then there's a huge problem with it. There's also a character with a goatee but no mustache. And more seriously, that black guy is belligerent from the get-go, totally jabbing at Paxton. Paxton almost always leaves a bad taste in my mouth; ironically, he's playing a terrible human being in this movie, and he somehow manages to be more likable than normal. Figure that one out. But anyway, there are clues that this will end up being a movie without any good guys early on, but when you first watch The Last Supper, that does more gradually sneak up on you.

This write-up contains spoilers, by the way. I probably should have pointed that out even though I am writing a movie that is over 20 years old.

I don't know who Stacy Title is, but it's too bad she didn't direct much else. Well, other than Hood of Horror, a movie with Snoop Dogg. This was Title's debut, and I'm sure if she had to do it all over again, she'd take out the pair of montages where characters are messing around with tomatoes or glancing at each other. Or masturbating. Annabeth Gish's character is shown pleasuring herself, and I had absolutely no problem with that scene. But I digress. Those montages, especially the one with a terrible "When I Fall" song by Sam Phillips. The female one.

Dan Rosen, the screenwriter, didn't do anything else either. The writing's fine even when it's a bit obvious. The satire bites. After a while, this gets a little redundant though.

Mark Mothersbaugh handled the score although there's nothing that stands out or would make you think of him. Jason Alexander pops in for a bit. Perlman bookends the movie as a Limbaugh-type character and is about as good as I've seen him. It's really an unforgettable character. Charles Durning is good, too, as a reverend. And there's a bird. I think it was a raven.

Jude, Paulie, Luke, Marc, and Pete. Hey, those are all names of people who were down with Jesus. I wonder what that means.

My favorite moment in this, by the way, is the group's fake screaming during Charles Durning's scene.


Anonymous said...

14 is probably about right. when i was 20 and saw this for the first time I so wanted to live in this house attend grad school, kill extreme right wing nut jobs and maybe watch Annabeth Gish pleasuring herself. there is a little more political commentary here than you gave it credit for. "If you're not a liberal in your 20s you have no heart, if you're not a conservative..." The group of grad students think they are changing the world as young bright eyed liberals. They have everything figured out. Their dinner guests can only prove they arent complete assholes. That they have some contribution to make to society before they kill them. The conversations are very one-sided as they are trying to convince the conservatives of their values, not learn why the conservative think the way they do, and maybe right once in awhile. This all changes when they get the rush limbaugh styles provocateur played by perlman to come to the house. He actually makes them think about their viewpoints and why they hold those values, and to question said values. if i remember correctly the man they hate the most is the only one they dont kill. i rewatched this with amy about 10 years ago and loved it then. didnt know the writer and director didnt do anything else. thats kind of sad. definitely a great first attempt. with all that said i am still socialist because as the rest of that churchill quote goes, i must not have a brain. 15 or 16 for me.

Shane said...

No, I'd give it plenty of credit for political commentary. I think it has a lot to say.

This really was the perfect movie for the mid-90's, a time when political talk radio seemed to explode.

Shane said...

I changed my rating to a 15/20, by the way.