Just, Melvin

"Weak"

Just, Melvin Review


The trouble with reviewing a documentary is the inherant difficulty in making a case for a review. You work in narrative film, you watch narrative films at least once a day, every day, for years on end, and you write about three or more reviews a week on nothing other than narrative films. Then someone sets films like Spring Forward, Spectres of the Spectrum, My Dinner with Andre, or a documentary in front of you and all of a sudden you are dead in the water.

Documentaries are the absolute worst of this crew. You have a general impression that it was touching, you have a general impression that it was good, and you have no specific points beyond this. Your standard weapon for the biopic, that it is playing the sympathy card by being "based on a true story," is taken away. You have a dilema: how do you insult the true story as being exploitative? Is there a point that truth every becomes sensationalistic?

This question weighs heavy on the mind of many a media commentators (people who ironically make their living on the vehicles that the deride). It sits on the backs of many more a movie critic at this moment, while we collectively ponder the ultra-hard-hitting documentary Just, Melvin.

Just, Melvin is the true story of 50 years of sexual and physical abuse to a Pacific Northwest family at the hands of one Melvin Just, an inbred looking hick if I've ever seen one. Said hick beat and raped his stepchildren for years on end, resulting in a dysfunctional family ten times beyond anything you see on Jerry Springer, one corpse, and one documentary that verges on exploitative.

Just, Melvin tells this story in a manner that is not only bizarre (the story is intercut with writer-director-producer-partial subect James Ronald Whitney's appearences on Star Search), but also extremely amatuerish. Whitney looks into the camera and makes an hour and a half long documentary that has all of the quality filmmaking of an after school special. Imagine an after school special with a lot of profanity and frank talk of sexual abuse, and you have a clue what Just, Melvin is like.

The fact of the matter is that the profanity and frank take on the subject are the only two things that Just, Melvin has going for it. Reviewing a documentary about sexual abuse with anything other than a glowing review makes the critic look like a total schmuck, and Whitney knows this. The documentary's production values are shabby, the story that it tells is trite although it is true, and the manner in which it is told is, as admitted by the director, part of entertaining the audience. Hello? This is a film about a pedophile abusing his children. If you're having fun, then you should seek help.

Can truth be explotiative? I answer the age-old question here: YES! For those media commentators who wish to see proof, you need to go no further than any multiplex that is playing Just, Melvin.

Aka Just, Melvin: Just Evil.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st January 2000

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.