It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
The Home and Away star, who has played Alf Stewart in the longrunning soap for 22 years, reveals he walked down the aisle with partner of six years, Gilly, several months ago.
But he refused to make a public announcement about the nuptials at the time because he didn't want any "fuss".
He says, "We just went away and did it, and then gradually told a few people who mattered to us. We're both very happy about it."
The 65-year-old soap star, who has played Alf Stewart on the series for 22 years, was presented with the Gold Logie after he was nominated in the category for the first time at the TV Week Logie Awards, which celebrates the best in TV Down Under.
Meagher saw off competition from Packed To The Rafters actress Rebecca Gibney as well as his Home And Away co-star Esther Anderson to win the prize.
He joked to the crowd, "These things have never meant much to me over the years, really, mainly because I've never held one. All of a sudden they seem unbelievably important...
"Just being in constant work for the 40 years I've been in the business has just been a wonderful reward. And certainly the last 22 years on Home and Away is more than enough reward. This is just like the icing on the cake."
TV comedy/drama Packed To The Rafters scooped three trophies, while MasterChef Australia also struck gold with two Logies. Game show Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation was named both the Most Popular and Most Outstanding Light Entertainment programme.
Veteran performer Bert Newton was given a standing ovation as he kicked off the Melbourne event, which he hosted just days after it was announced his actor son Matthew had been admitted to rehab to treat undisclosed personal issues.
The soap opera, the most successful show in the ceremony's history, is the hot favourite to take home a new clutch of trophies at the annual event, which honours the best in Australian TV.
Male castmembers Luke Jacobz, Todd Lasance and Ray Meagher are to battle it out for the Most Popular Actor, while Esther Anderson, Rebecca Breeds and Jessica Tovey will go head-to-head for the Most Popular Actress honour.
Home And Away has also been named in the Most Popular Drama category, facing competition from hit series Packed to the Rafters, which has eight total nominations, and Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, which scored five.
The TV Week Logie Awards will be held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne on 2 May (10).