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By Doug Brunell | July 15, 2004

Tell me this isn’t ironic: I’m waiting for a “Primetime” special on the hazards of pornography, so I turn on ABC (the network that airs “Primetime”) a few hours early just so I remember to watch, and I see “Coyote Ugly.”

I never saw this movie in the theatre, and I never rented it. To be honest, it looked stupid. The fact that a few of my friends raved about it, but only because of the amount of jiggle, only solidified my view. In the interest of the greater good, however, I sat and watched it this time around. Normally I hate watching movies on network television because they’re censored beyond belief, but I figured I wouldn’t lose too much of this film’s essence that way. And looking back now, the network should have done more censoring … of the film’s story.

If you haven’t seen it, here’re the basics: Some girl works in a softcore porn bar, but wants to fulfill her dream of being a songwriter. She’s a good singer, too, as her boyfriend keeps telling her in his sexy Australian accent. Unfortunately she is too scared to sing her crappy songs on stage, so she just wants to really focus on writing her dumb a*s songs or some such nonsense. Her mom was a singer, too, but gave up or something, and now her obese dad wants his little girl to pursue her dream. He does not, however, like her working at the softcore bar where the female bartenders splash water on each other as brain-dead college guys (including Johnny Knoxville) hoot and holler at them the same way little kids yell at monkeys in the zoo. Unfortunately, these girls fling no feces.

If you’ve never seen the film, you can still guess its ending. Hell, I was correctly guessing lines before they came up. I’m not bragging, either. That really doesn’t take any skill. All you have to do is watch twenty-three big budget pictures, and you’ll be blessed with this truly useless ability.

As I watched this disaster, I couldn’t help but think the producers really wanted to call it “Hey! Look at my Tits and A*s!” The studio, in a remarkable show of good taste, was not about to let that happen, for which the director was probably pretty thankful. It’s obvious that he (and though I didn’t pay any attention to the credits, I’m assuming a male is responsible for this) thought he was making a “serious” picture. Unfortunately, it turned out to be porn for people too young to rent the real thing and older folks too embarrassed to see it. And just like all the best porn movies have the barest of stories to keep the sex flowing, “Coyote Ugly” followed in the same mode just to keep the girls dancing on the bar. (I was really hoping that in the uncensored version of the film, the women served drinks out of their vaginas, but my friends assured me that wasn’t the case.)

The fact that this came on before a special where Diane Sawyer bemoaned the fact that teenagers (“… just 18, the legal age to star in these Films”) did porno made me wonder if the head of programming at ABC was some kind of joker. Did he think this film was somehow better than the porn films, which were at least honest about what they were? Maybe he was hoping people would see “Coyote Ugly” and then the Sawyer expose and say, “See, if you want to watch porno, why not just see ‘Coyote Ugly’ instead? Nobody cries about being in that movie.”

I cried, guy. I cried. I cried for me. I cried for John Goodman.

Goodman played the overweight dad who ate fried chicken and worked at a toll booth. His daughter spent her nights acting like Anna Nicole Smith, but he still loved her, which I guess showed he had a heart of gold under that rough exterior. I had to wonder why Goodman, who was in the wonderful “Barton Fink,” decided to s**t up his filmography with this piece of cinematic cancer. Did the producers let him have his pick of the women? Was Roseanne stealing his residuals? Did he lose a bet with Bruce Willis? What was he thinking? Did he not read the script?

I didn’t even need to see this film to know it was a bad movie with an awful plot and a typical ending. I just knew that Good Girl With A Heart Of Gold Who Acts Like A Drunk Slut To Earn Money would make good in the end. I knew she would conquer her stage fright in front of all her friends and Daddy. I knew that not only would she conquer her stage fright, but that she would kill up there on stage. And she did! She had all the right moves and all the right camera angles. Sure, less astute viewers may have thought she was blowing it by turning her car around before she made it to the club for her big break, but that wouldn’t make a good ending. She had already blown one chance, and it cost her boyfriend his prized “Amazing Spider-Man” comic book with the “original appearance of the Punisher.” You can’t have another failure right at the end of the movie. There’s no time to build the tension before the big production at the end. Everyone should know this by now. It’s not an indie film! It’s a Hollywood movie, so it has to be predictable … and it should’ve inspired a new law.

There are standards you have to meet to become president in this country…I know they’ve been loosened over time with people like Clinton and both Bushes, but the templates have remained true. You have to be at least thirty-five years of age and born in this country. I would like to add another requirement to the list. If you happen to find this film enjoyable, it should bar you from ever taking command of the Oval Office. You’d think that would be a given, but I believe it needs to be made into a law. The only person this film benefits is that fourteen-year-old boy in Kansas whose family has no porn, no Internet, no Victoria’s Secret catalogs, no issues of “National Geographic,” and whose mother wears men’s underwear. That boy — that poor, sad, lonely boy — is the only person in America allowed to enjoy this film. And if he someday makes it to where he can run for office, and he hasn’t turned into a serial killer, then he can be elected if the public so chooses. Anyone else who likes this movie is an idiot, and we all know idiots can’t be good presidents. Right? Right.

So, Mr. Goodman, what were you thinking?

Discuss Doug Brunell’s “Excess Hollywood” column in Film Threat’s BACK TALK section! Click here>>>

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