Horror-thriller directed by Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst has a 19% score on Rotten Tomatoes
It turns out that it’s not just fans who John Travolta has a problem with; critics have been pretty hard on him and his latest film “The Fanatic” too.
Travolta is getting panned once again for starring in a horror-thriller from Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst, which is an update on films like “The Fan” and “Misery.” Critics have called Durst’s character development “shallow” and Travolta’s performance as a man who may be borderline autistic everything from over-the-top to “cringe-worthy.”
“Fred Durst’s ‘The Fanatic’ hates fans. It hates actors. It hates tourists, shop owners, and servants. It really, really hates autistic people. And it hates you. It’s a movie that thinks you’re an idiot, someone who won’t see through its shallow provocations, illogical behavior, and vile misanthropy,” Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with making a film about troubled people, but there needs to be a reason to watch it beyond pointing and laughing.”
Travolta plays a man named Moose who has an intense devotion to horror movies and loves collecting movie memorabilia. His favorite actor is an action star named Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa), who snubs Moose for an autograph and later gets aggressive with him when he shows up at Dunbar’s house.
However, Moose’s mental condition is never specified, and his erratic behavior and bizarre outfit and haircut that’s part-mullet and part-bowl cut, undermine the film’s story and Travolta’s performance.
“With no explanation for what the Moose’s condition is — and boy, is what Travolta doing a choice — Durst and his main star have, rather than giving us a character, merely offered up a hapless, carnival figure of laughable madness, alternately impossible and improbable,” Robert Abele said in his review for TheWrap.
“With his inexplicably choppy hairstyle and boyish speaking voice, Travolta in particular comes across like a grown man trying to imitate a first-grader,” Noel Murray said in his review for the Los Angeles Times. “It’s kind of a tin-eared spoof of fandom — or worse, of the disabled. It’s probably for the best that ‘The Fanatic’ is so terrible. If it were made with any actual care, it’d be offensive instead of just dumb.”
“The Fanatic” opens in theaters Friday and has just a 19% score on RottenTomatoes.
Check out some of the reviews for the film from around the web below.
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
Fred Durst’s “The Fanatic” hates fans. It hates actors. It hates tourists, shop owners, and servants. It really, really hates autistic people. And it hates you. It’s a movie that thinks you’re an idiot, someone who won’t see through its shallow provocations, illogical behavior, and vile misanthropy. It’s one thing for a movie to be deadly dull or incompetently made–and this movie is both of those things, to be sure–but it descends to another level when you realize that it exists perhaps even intentionally to be nothing more than a cinematic version of an internet troll. Find the Block button for this one…There’s nothing wrong with making a film about troubled people, but there needs to be a reason to watch it beyond pointing and laughing. “The Fanatic” is a bully, a movie that knocks around the very people who made its creator millions and even the industry that pushed it into existence. This film has no entertainment value to supplement for the lack of humanity at its center.
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
I’ll give Travolta this: He commits. This is not a flattering project for him, and the actor is obviously deeply invested in the material. He produced it. But he needs a director who will tell him to rein it in. Last year’s “Gotti” had eight directors, and “The Fanatic” is helmed by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. Suffice it to say, he’s not getting the greatest of guidance. Late in the film, Moose screams “Why do you hate me?!” at Dunbar. The line might have a double meaning, with Travolta also partly yelling at the mean critics of his rocky film career. But it’s not hate, John — it’s just tough love.
Simon Abrams, NPR
Travolta’s performance, like his twitchy character, isn’t even desperate in a cruelly amusing way: When he inevitably manages to get Hunter where he wants him, Moose tries to win over his captive audience by crudely imitating movie baddies from Friday the 13th, Saw and Reservoir Dogs, as if we needed reminding that this character knows more about movies than reality. The same could be said about Durst and The Fanatic: He consistently punches down at fans who, in the relatively innocent days of the late 90’s and early 00’s, might have been encouraged by Durst’s band when they sang about “my generation” and doing things “my way,” not to mention feeling misunderstood “behind blue eyes,” and “[doing] it all for the nookie.”
Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
With his inexplicably choppy hairstyle and boyish speaking voice, Travolta in particular comes across like a grown man trying to imitate a first-grader. It’s kind of a tin-eared spoof of fandom — or worse, of the disabled. It’s probably for the best that “The Fanatic” is so terrible. If it were made with any actual care, it’d be offensive instead of just dumb.
Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
For as much resentment as these celebrities may want to vent about their pushier fans, there’s still no excuse for the hatefulness of “The Fanatic…” This territory was more profitably explored by Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy.” For that matter, it was more profitably explored in the miles-more-trashy Tony Scott movie “The Fan.” Durst has a good eye for L.A.’s seamy underbelly. But he’s also annoyingly disingenuous, as when he signals Dunbar’s regular-guy quality by having him play a Bizkit tune for his kid while out for a drive.
Katie Rife, The AV Club
Moose lives with an unnamed condition that feeds his obsession with movies and leaves him vulnerable to scammers–either an intellectual disability, something on the autism spectrum, or both. It’s hard to tell specifically, given that Travolta’s performance is constructed entirely out of loud printed shirts and acting tics lifted from a community-theater production of “Of Mice And Men.” Our movie-mad Lennie’s opening line: “I can’t talk too long, I gotta poo.”
Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post
I’ll say one thing for John Travolta’s performance in “The Fanatic,” a movie about a rabidly movie-obsessed loser who goes off the deep end when he meets — and is rebuffed by — his favorite actor: He’s committed. Adopting an awkward gait, a nervous, grating delivery, nerdy glasses and an unflattering haircut that is one part mullet, one part jarhead and one part Lloyd Christmas in “Dumb and Dumber,” the actor invests the kind of intensity in his role that suggests he’s angling for an award of some kind. Unfortunately for him, the movie — directed by Limp Bizkit frontman-turned-filmmaker Fred Durst, whose experience with a stalker-like fan is said to have inspired the film — does not live up to the extravagantly wounded ferocity with which Travolta attacks his part. It doesn’t even live up to the haircut. “The Fanatic” is a psychological thriller with no real psychological insights or particular thrills, other than the gratuitous violence with which the story climaxes.
Robert Abele, TheWrap
“The Fanatic,” however, which Durst did have a hand in writing, is a brainless, exploitative folly which gives John Travolta free rein to mine the history of cringe-worthy autism portrayals for an offensively garish Frankenstein pantomime of unhinged obsession. It ultimately suggests this side-career of Durst’s should be well and truly snuffed out…But with no explanation for what the Moose’s condition is — and boy, is what Travolta doing a choice — Durst and his main star have, rather than giving us a character, merely offered up a hapless, carnival figure of laughable madness, alternately impossible and improbable.
20 Most Outrageous Oscar Moments in History, Including That 'Moonlight' Surprise (Videos)
- Jerry Lewis Improvises Oscars Finale for 20 Minutes (1959)< /b>Lewis hosted the show in 1959, but for some reason, the show ended 20 minutes early, so he improvised a monologue for the rest of the show, which was joked about for many years after that.
- Charlie Chaplin Receives 12-Minute Standing Ovation (1972) When receiving the Honorary Award in 1972, Charlie Chaplin received a 12-minute standing ovation,the longest in Oscar history.
- Marlon Brando Refuses Best Actor Oscar (1973) When Brando won the award for Best Actor for his role in “The Godfather,” he sent up Sacheen Littlefeather to wave away the statue and say that Brando couldn’t accept the award due to the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry.
- Man Streaks on the Oscar Stage (1974) While David Niven was hosting the Oscars in 1974, he was surprised when Robert Opel decided to streak across stage, flashing a peace sign.
- Sally Field’s “You Really Like Me!” Speech (1985) When Sally Field won Best Actress for her performance in “Places in the Heart,” she famously said, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me!”
- Rob Lowe’s Disastrous Musical Opening with Snow White (1989) This musical number was torn apart by critics, attracted a lawsuit from Disney, and had Julie Andrews, Paul Newman, Sidney Lumet and Gregory Peck co-signing a letter, calling it an “embarrassment” and “demeaning.”
- Jack Palance Does Push-Ups on Stage (1992) When Palance won the Supporting Actor award for “City Slickers,” he talked about producers taking risks with older actors. To give an example, he popped down onto the floor and did some push ups.
- Tom Hanks Thanks (and Outs) His High School Teacher (1993) Tom Hanks delivered one of the most outstanding acceptance speeches when he won the Best Actor award for “Philadelphia.” He also gave a shout-out to his high school drama teacher as one of “the finest gay Americans I have known.” (Hanks had contacted his long-retired teacher beforehand, but the incident inspired the 1997 comedy “In & Out.”)
- Roberto Benigni Goes Wild (1999) When Roberto Benigni won the Oscar for Foreign Language Film in 1999, (“Life Is Beautiful”),he went wild and climbed on chairs, jumped around and hopped onto the stage.
- Gwyneth Paltrow’s Long Acceptance Speech (1999) Gwyneth Paltrow accepted the award for her role in “Shakespeare in Love,” and cried and hiccuped throughout the entire three-minute speech.
- South Park Creators Dress Like Gwyneth Paltrow and J-Lo (2000) Trey Parker and Matt Stone dressed as Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow in 2000, but later admitted they were “tripping on acid.”
- Julia Roberts’ Acceptance Speech (2001) When Roberts won for the Best Actress award for “Erin Brockovich,” she went way over the time limit and asked for the Academy to turn off the clock. However, she forgot to mention the real-life Brockovich, for which she later apologized.
- Halle Berry’s Oscar Speech (2002) Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, and in her speech, called her award a door-opening moment for “every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance.”
- Late Heath Ledger Wins The Oscar (2009) One year after Heath Ledger died, he won the Oscar for his supporting role in “The Dark Knight.” His family accepted the award on his behalf.
- Melissa Leo Swears on Stage (2011) When Leo accepted the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Fighter,” she was so nervous that she kept cussing throughout the entire speech.
- Jennifer Lawrence Falls (2013) When walking up stage to get her Oscar for Best Actress for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Lawrence tripped. The audience gave her a standing ovation but Lawrence said, “you guys are just standing because you feel bad that I fell.”
- John Travolta Botches Idina Menzel’s Name (2014) When introducing Idina Menzel, who was set to perform “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” he botched her name completely and called her, “Adele Dazeem.”
- Ellen’s Superstar Selfie (2014) Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 2014 Oscars and wanted to break the record for the most retweeted photo of all time, so she snapped a star-studded picture with Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep.
- Sean Penn’s Fail of a Joke About Alejandro Inarritu (2015) Sean Penn introduced the winner of Best Picture, “Birdman,” by saying, “who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” before announcing Alejandro Inarritu’s name. However, the joke was completely lost on audiences and many criticized Penn for being racist.
- “La La Land” falsely declared Best Picture Winner instead of “Moonlight” (2017) At the 2017 Oscars, Warren Beatty declared “La La Land” the winner of Best Picture. But it hadn’t — due to a mix-up with the envelopes backstage. And “La La Land” producers went from accepting the award on stage to handing over the prize to their counterparts for “Moonlight,” the actual winner.
A look back at Oscar highlights, from Marlon Brando refusing his award to John Travolta botching Idina Menzel’s name
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