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Once
Review Written by: Alex Sandell
Once
Some idiot singing.

Show of hands: How many of you singing the praises of this film (and hopefully you can sing better than Glen Hansard) are college age, majoring in liberal arts and building your identities by declaring your love for this trite, poorly made, low-budget independent film? How many of you keep your non-"Hollywood" DVDs on display in milk-crates in your dorm room, as a mating call and status symbol? That's what I thought.

Show of hands: How many people who didn't raise your hands for either of the questions asked in the last paragraph LOVED this movie? Or even saw it? No one? That's what I figured.

Horribly shot, horribly lit and filled with mediocre acting and horrible songs, this is one to avoid. Not only isn't it "the best movie of 2007" or "one of the best musicals ever made," it's quite possibly the worst movie to ever receive critical acclaim.

People claim to love it because it isn't a "Hollywood" musical (which is unfortunate, as Sweeney Todd kicks its ass, slits its throat and takes names). Not "Hollywood?" Hmm. Are we simply going by location here? The plot itself is very "Hollywood." A slight little love-story with an ending so sappy Oprah would break down and cry (and then give a copy of the DVD to every member of her studio audience!).

The poor lighting, cinematography and directing didn't feel "Hollywood" at all, but neither did the crummy home movies I watched at my Uncle's last Christmas and I don't think that alone entitles said movies to receive unwarranted praise by blathering morons trying to prove how "in touch" with their feelings they are. To like this movie, your "feelings" have to be at least partially formed by a ton of weed, a little acid and a brand-spankin' new girlfriend who wears Birkenstock sandals -- even in the winter.

When the lead "actor," Glen Hansard, started wailing away at the beginning I literally thought it was a joke. I figured he'd be pushed aside by a real singer and made a fool of. But I thought wrong -- this screechy freak is the lead of the movie. And the only person to come along is the one-note wonder played by Markéta Irglová. The two sort of fall in love in this weird way where their "romance" makes them realize that they're in love with somebody else. They hook up because they're mutually attracted to one-another's horrid voices.

It's like dogs arousing each other by sniffing each other's asses. "Boy, that shit smells good! It smells even stronger than my shit! I love you!" And then John Carney, the so-called director of this miserable hell claiming to be entertainment, documents the ass-sniffing love by never once properly framing a shot. The guy can't even film these dorks walking down the street without messing up.

And I guess what makes this movie "real" is the shaky hand-held camera. It's like Michael J. Fox forgot to take his Parkinson's meds and was told to shoot the movie using his palm as a tripod. And I suppose Stevie Wonder did the lighting, as the movie is so poorly lit in places you can't see a fucking thing that's going on. But oh, can you hear it.

And hear it.

And hear it.

And hear it.

These songs are unbearably obnoxious. They all sound identical and they're all played multiple times. As though they're so moving that hearing them once wasn't quite enough (the filmmakers should have looked to the title of the film they were making for advice). Fans of this atrocity of a film claim the music brought them to tears. One fan claimed I was watching the movie with the wrong organ, and should have been watching with my heart. Yes, that's the kind of person this movie attracts. When he's not posting on forums, he's probably fingering clay with Demi Moore.

I'll end this review with a statement as generic as the movie itself:  This movie isn't worth seeing even once (get it? "Once?" And the movie is called Once. I kill me.). I can't remember a more tedious experience at the theater. This one makes Larry the Cable Guy look like fucking art. Stay away (and, "Get 'er done!").

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©2007 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. Copy this without my permission and I'll have the two singing clowns in this film follow you around the rest of your life, with their out-of-tune singing piercing your eardrums -- even when you're having sex or trying to sleep.