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There's Something About Carrey

1998 in Review

The Waterboy

Despite stunning ignorance and a reprehensible Cajun accent, Adam Sandler's hapless Waterboy floated to the top of the box office.

While erstwhile feminist films sent off mixed messages, there was no confusing the macho intent of such filmmakers as David Mamet, whose House of Games rehash The Spanish Prisoner celebrated misogyny and the femme fatale. In fact, movies in general seem to be replicating the bad behavior of the Chief Executive with varying degrees of success. Even before the media focus on bodily fluids began with Monica Lewinsky's dress, few could resist the hair gel in the Farrelly Brothers' hilarious There's Something About Mary, even if Dumb and Dumber's Jim Carrey was otherwise occupied (his place, apparently, has been taken by Adam Sandler, who demonstrated in the stunningly successful and unfairly chided The Waterboy that the most rewarded virtue in cinema is shameless stupidity).

Smart people, though, were no strangers to indulging in shame. Neil Labute added to his reputation for glibly sour misanthropy with Your Friends and Neighbors, and Todd Solondz offered a genial pedophile and knee-jerk nihilism in the critically acclaimed Happiness; less fortunate was Peter Berg, whose Very Bad Things was, well, very bad. Bad behavior also sparked two of the year's overlooked gems — Neil Jordan's viscerally moving, ruefully funny Butcher Boy and James Toback's indulgent but moving Two Girls and a Guy. Instead, kudos went out to the geriatric duo of bare-assed lottery scamsters in the over-praised blarney fest Waking Ned Devine.




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