Movie Review: “Dracula” is the Only Watchable Coppola Film

Francis Ford Coppola is an overrated hack. There, I said it.

His only entertaining movie is one that most people hate: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, starring Keanu Reeves, Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Cary Elwes, and Tom Waits. It’s melodramatic, over-the-top, pure campy fun, and it’s completely out of character for the usually dull, pretentious FFC.

 But what about The Godfather?
The fact that so many people say it’s their favorite movie is the most compelling piece of evidence that we’re all living in some fucked-up simulation. The one time I tried to watch this piece of garbage, I found myself staring at a vase on the shelf next to the TV because what was on the screen couldn’t keep my attention. It was a pretty handsome vase, but there weren’t even any flowers in it. Also, my neck got really sore because I kept falling asleep and my head would suddenly snap to the side. The movie is just so unbearably boring. The only mildly amusing moments are the ridiculous fight scenes that seem to have been cut and pasted from an episode of the 1960’s Batman TV show. “Pow.” “Kablam.” The acting is whatever and the story is who gives a shit? If I want to watch a movie about spaghetti-twirling psychopaths, I’ll take Goodfellas any day.

Apocalypse of Darkness
You know there’s a problem when the behind-the-scenes documentary is more interesting than the actual movie. Helicopters. Vietnam. Blah, blah, blah. I want to see drunk Martin Sheen punch a mirror and slice open his hand. More than anything, Heart of Darkness shows us exactly the kind of asshole FFC is.

The Insiders
Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, and Ed Jackson (credited on IMDB as “Motorcycle Cop”) all in one movie? It’s The Expendables, but with 80’s teenage heartthrobs before they were famous. And that’s really the only reason to watch it. Otherwise, it’s just another silly knock-off of West Side Story or My Bodyguard (also starring Matt Dillon). There’s no Heart of Darkness for The Outsiders, but Rob Lowe tells some crazy stories about it on his podcast (Literally! With Rob Lowe) that once again confirm what we already know: FFC is an asshole—the kind that likes to torture his actors for sport.

Interesting note: According to IMDB, Boston Bruins legend Cam Neely was a non-credited “soc.” The Outsiders came out the year he was drafted, so how the hell did he end up in this? Neely would go on to make cameos in many Farrelly Brothers films, most notably as Sea Bass in Dumb and Dumber, but that’s because the filmmakers were Bruins fans and all of their movies were shot in New England.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
This flick is nothing but softcore porn with bad dialogue, bad acting, and bad special effects—which is why it is so awesome. I was at the height of puberty when this came out and it was life-changing. These were the days before super-accessible porn, and the scene in the dungeon when Dracula’s brides are crawling all over Keanu was the single most thrilling bit of cinema I had ever consumed. I saw it in the theater, and I have a vivid memory of my jeans suddenly feeling too tight.

Years later, when I saw it again, I was finally able to appreciate everything else the movie had to offer. Seeing Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins on screen together is just bonkers. This was pre-Matrix Reeves, at a time when he played some version of Theodore “Ted” Logan, III in every movie—including Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. As likable as he’s always been, it was impossible to take him seriously. That sounds like a harsh criticism, but only if you assume everyone’s goal is to be taken seriously—which I don’t. Even when he was struggling to seem believable, he was sincere, and that was fun to watch.

The rest of the cast was just as ridiculous. I’ve heard Winona Ryder say in an interview that she is embarrassed by her performance in this, which is saying a lot. I mean which of her performances is she not embarrassed by? Gary Oldman’s Romanian accent makes me wonder if he thought he was in a Saturday Night Live sketch. Anthony Hopkins phones it in while still being all “Anthony Hopkins” about it. Would we expect anything less? The Renfield character, played by Tom Waits, eats bugs, and knowing Francis Ford Coppola, poor Tom probably had to eat those fucking bugs for real. Good for him, I guess, though I wonder if he thinks it was worth it. All of these British heavy hitters were clearly in it for the paycheck, which might be why the movie works. It lacks the pretentiousness of every other FFC flick.

Only an insane person would say that Dracula was a legitimately good film, but it doesn’t need to be good to be better than anything else Coppola has done. All it has to do is be more interesting than a flowerless vase, and it most definitely is that. Strangely, if he had made a more faithful adaptation of Stoker’s novel, it would have been much more boring, and therefore much more on-brand. Straight middle-aged men across the country who were in high school when it came out are thankful that Coppola chose not to do it that way. If Pornhub ever goes down, Dracula will get you through the outage. Is there anything in the movie for straight women and gay men? I mean… Keanu… This, of course, was back in the days before HBO normalized on-screen dongs, but it’s better than nothing.

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