With the death of Miloš Forman, I decided to revisit one of the best and most underrated movies of the 90’s, his 1996 film The People Vs. Larry Flynt.
A biography of a pornographer was an unusual subject for such an esteemed Director of Forman’s caliber, having cleaned up at the Oscars for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Amadeus (1984) but there is a correlating theme between all three, that of insanity and potential genius warring within the mind of someone who fights against a system/person that seeks to undermine and subdue them whether it be Nurse Ratched in Cuckoo or Antonio Salieri in Amadeus.
In Larry Flynt’s case it was the religious and political right who tried to have him jailed for publishing his magazine Hustler which pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable at the time.
This led to a Supreme Court showdown where Flynt fought against a defamation lawsuit filed against him by televangelist preacher scumbag Jerry Falwell who was offended by the jokes that Hustler made at his expense in the magazine.
Ultimately, Flynt won what would become a precedent setting case for the First Amendment that protected comedy, parody and satire against those who were being mocked demanding financial reparations for “emotional distress” at having been made the butt of someone’s joke.
The great irony is that someone considered as lowly as a pornographer ended up defending free speech against the self-righteousness of the so-called “Moral Majority” due to his magazine’s output which seems quaint compared to what is available on the internet today.
The movie itself is one of the finest pieces of filmmaking of the 1990s.
It has the measure and pacing of an older filmmaker who is in complete control compared to younger Directors of the time who tried to define themselves with style over substance.
The script was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski who wrote 1994’s Ed Wood, which is also one of the best movies of that era. Woody Harrelson gives his career-best performance as Flynt while Courtney Love shows surprising acting chops as Larry’s wife Althea Leasure. Edward Norton builds upon his star making turn in 1995’s Primal Fear as Flynt’s long suffering attourney, Alan Isaacman.
These three carry the film with a fantastic supporting cast including Crispin Glover, James Cromwell, Richard Paul, Vincent Schiavelli (a Cuckoos Nest veteran) along with Woody’s own brother Brett Harrelson playing Larry’s real life bro, Jimmy.
This is an A+ production with excellent art/set design, sublime cinematography and a beautiful score from Thomas Newman (The Player, Revenge of the Nerds). In a just world this movie would have swept the Oscars as it’s a supreme example of studio filmmaking at its best and also deals with one of, if not the most, important aspects of the American Constitution, our freedom of speech.
But that was never going to happen because as much as Hollywood is derided as a bastion of liberalism and degeneracy, there was no way in Hell that a movie about a pornographer was going to win anything given the staunch blowback from feminists (the only time they’ll blow anything) who attacked the film for celebrating someone who exploited women while ignoring that none of the women who posed for Hustler had a gun put to their heads.
But then that would fly in the face of their cultivation of eternal victimhood status and attempts to infantalize women who want to control their own sexuality; typical of the arrogant and condescending “we know what’s best” moralizing from the Feminist/SJW crowd we see today.
Anywho, The People Vs. Larry Flynt is not only of the great movies of the 1990s, it’s also one of the best comedies of that decade which provides a nice balance to the heartache and tragedy that befell Flynt who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by a sniper in 1978 and then lost Althea who drowned in 1987 while heavily medicated.
Virtually forgotten today, it’s a shame that The People Vs. Larry Flynt isn’t heralded for the masterpiece that it clearly is. But that’s because plebs want uplifting stories about plucky do-gooders who triumph against The Man.
Well, FUCK THOSE PEOPLE because Flynt is a true hero who paid the price even though dipshits will deny it because they can’t stomach the idea that a man can have a moment of grace even if he’s a scumbag with less than noble intentions which I can identify with perfectly!!! FACT!!!
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