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Cannes 2012: Lee Daniels' Nasty 'Paperboy' Reviews In A Poem

by Sophia Savage
May 24, 2012 4:26 PM
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'The Paperboy'

Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" has arrived at Cannes, and it's receiving quite a reception. With stars like Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey and Macy Gray, it was always going to get attention. But critics are having a field day with the movie's pulpy content. Our Cannes review of the film is here, and Indiewire reports on responses to its early screening for buyers. Below, we've turned the glorious words of Indiewire, ThePlaylist, Variety, THR, Pajiba, The Guardian and The Telegraph's reviews into a poem. Enjoy...


Swampy, Southern, sweaty, socially divided and sex-mad summer


laughable images

a dead porcupine, bloated with rot in the sun

you cannot spoil what's already rancid


working his abs

sweaty and luxuriant

A dead possum

for symbolism, and stuff

Lurid, florid, humid, flaccid and insipid

Down and dirty

grungy exploitation melodrama

appealingly rough and rasty texture

a tale of murder, idealistic journalism, warped sexual desires

gloriously grubby

A half-naked


risibly overheated

Southern pulp trash

sticky, sweaty atmosphere of delirium and sexual frustration

only partly excuses

the woozy ineptitude

In the summer of '69

An aging sexpot with a prison fetish

A vision in hot-pink lipstick

deliciously tacky

a woman of strange, even telekinetic talents

Crazy Southern gothic

bathed in blood, sweat, urine, mud and crocodile guts

possessed by the spirits

of blaxploitation

and "Baywatch"

Serious commitment to outright silliness

A hypersexualized cartoon

stench will always linger

on the filmographies of everyone involved

Craptastic work of


A heady, humid swamp fever rises

gripping, scary and queasily funny picture

a dark threat which lurks like one of its gators just below the surface

A blowsy, sexy and very unstable woman

a romantic

sheer auto-erotic potency of that sweaty, dangerous criminal


the sad, motherless boy

A calamitous failure

a haggard old dog

morally questionable and smug

a dud through and through

summer so hot that


must walk around

in tiny white briefs

gay interracial BDSM sex

results in the loss of an eye, Nicole Kidman peeing on Efron’s face

You leave the cinema

feeling almost overwhelmed

by the badness.


filmed adoringly

kitted out in the manner of a gay 70s pornstar

Strictly without merit

a laughable potboiler

a sorry, limp, bedraggled mess

so bad it’s bad

Transcendentally awful

In the grand scheme

of dogs’ dinners

The Paperboy is a ten course canine tasting menu

with wine pairings.

Accidentally bad or deliberately camp

To find favour only amongst

connoisseurs of tat

Steams straight past authenticity

into the realms of bad pastiche

“If anyone is going to piss on that boy,

it’s going to be me."


  • rgm | May 30, 2012 12:19 PMReply

    A virtuoso "review round-up" and perhaps the cleverest yet to appear on Indiewire. Certainly the most fun.

  • From Tokyo | May 28, 2012 3:01 PMReply

    I appreciate the warning. For myself, controversy/graphic grittiness does NOT make me want to see a film. I'm not squeamish, nor am I a prude, but with over-the-top films the warning is enough, for what is seen cannot be unseen.

  • Elaine | May 27, 2012 12:48 AMReply

    I dont understand why Daniels would put Zac Efron next to Nicole Kidman!! He is NOT there yet!

  • mary | May 25, 2012 4:20 PMReply

    the critics make me want to see the film more !
    plus the performances are always good in a daniel's film.....he has proven that in his past films.

    you gotta give it to daniels...he's got the balls to be unique.....i am sick and tired of men in black, spiderman, star trek money is always for the unique.....good. bad or indifferent. BRAVO DANIELS !

  • MN | May 24, 2012 10:42 PMReply

    Maybe the festival, think twice before selecting a movie with Efron and McConaughey just because of their abs and blue eyes at the next time, much less to compete for some award.

  • Jesse | May 24, 2012 7:16 PMReply

    God article.
    Any movie critic, who write that this movie is good, loses me as reader.

    If a video that they used to promote that seemed ridiculous; made ​​by a teenager with a photoshop, (using a juxtaposition with a image of Efron 'wanna be a magazine model', posing for a photo), imagine how bad must to be the movie.

  • rgm | May 24, 2012 5:58 PMReply

    Brilliant fun.

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