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"Bad juju."

  • Jul 5, 2009
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John Kelso (John Cusack) is a writer who has come to Savannah to cover a big party given by socialite Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey).  The next day, however, Williams is arrested for murder and John stays on to get to the bottom of the case.

Despite being a true story, directed by Clint Eastwood, and based on a successful novel, this movie left me bored and annoyed.  The plot is quite slim so the story is filled out with quirky local (mostly real) characters that are unrelated to the case.  We see a lot of local drag queen Lady Chablis (who steals the show, which isn't hard to do) and while she's entertaining, she's just a time-filler.  The same goes for a mysterious voodoo lady, a man who is surrounded by tethered horseflies, and another who walks a dog-less leash - all colorful, atmospheric characters, but so what?  Ultimately we know nothing about the killer or the deceased and the trial is less important than the oh-so colorful denizens of Savannah's unique society.

Kevin Spacey specializes in eccentric characters and here he's over the top, arrogant, and unlikable.  Jude Law plays Williams' lover and is only on screen for a minute or two.  John Cusack is completely bland and lacking in charisma, and since he's always on the screen he becomes really irritating.  Disappointing.
DVD Cusack and Spacey Lady Chablis

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July 06, 2009
Though I tend to like southern murder mystery and scandal, I didn't love this movie either. How do you feel about Kevin Spacey in American Beauty?
July 07, 2009
Oh, American Beauty! What an unusual movie. Hated it but kept watching it a few times and finally became fascinated by it. Love the characters, especially Chris Cooper as the neighbor. I think it won Best Picture; I wouldn't have gone that far, but I did like it. How about you?
More Midnight in the Garden of Good... reviews
review by . September 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In this movie, John Cusack plays "Esquire' witer John Berendt who travels to Savannah to attend the annual holiday event hosted by antique dealer, Jim Williams.      Clint Eastwood directs the movie and stays close to the action in the book.      The setting is excellent and the characters are well placed and memorable.      I recently watched the movie and then re-read the book and was impressed by how they compimented each other.
review by . August 10, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I watched MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL for the first time about five years ago. At the time, I found it to be a very strange and bizarre movie, but one that was also fascinating. It captured my imagination. After finally being able to read the book that the film is based upon, I re-watched the movie again. After having read the book, my impressions of the film didn't change much. I was a little bit disappointed that some of the best characters from the book were compressed or totally …
review by . June 05, 2000
Pros: The Lady, of course     Cons: probably Eastwood     What makes a great movie? Transvestites, homosexuals and murder .... what else? First I read the book and then I saw the movie, which in this case was fine. Many details were left out of the movie which fortunately I retrieved from the book.      The setting is historic Savannah, we are entering the back doors and bedrooms of the filthy rich and powerful. Naughty and bizarre and …
review by . April 25, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: VERY unusual characters     Cons: adult situations     ...and Julia replied, "both!"      Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil touches this southern girl's heart and tickles her funny bone. My beautiful friend Michael told me a while back that it was a very interesting story about a Savannah "bachelor." Knowing my friend, I knew just what he meant.       I waited for it to come out on video, …
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About this movie


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a film directed by Clint Eastwood based on the book. The film features Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams and Jude Law as Danny Hansford. He was called Billy Carl Hanson in the movie, so as not to offend members of the Hansford family. The Lady Chablis appeared as herself.

Several changes were made from the book. Many of the more colorful characters were eliminated or made into composite characters. The reporter role, played by John Cusack, was based upon Berendt. However Cusack's character was given a love interest not featured in the book, a role played by Eastwood's daughter Alison Eastwood. The multiple Williams trials were combined into one on-screen trial. Jim Williams real life attorney Sonny Seiler appeared in the movie in the role of Judge White, the presiding judge at the film's trial.

Advertising for the film became a source of controversy when Warner Bros. used elements of Jack Leigh's famous photograph in its posters for the movie without his permission. They later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

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Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama
Release Date: November 20, 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: John Lee Hancock, John Berendt
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (June 02, 1998)
Runtime: 2hr 35min
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