Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson) beefs up his strip club business by publishing an explicitnewsletter. This newsletter becomes the glossy porn mag Hustler, and Flynt becomesstaggeringly rich. He also becomes the target of a serious of obscenity trials. Harrelson is terrific,and this was the film that confirmed that Edward Norton’s film-stealing performance in PrimalFear was no fluke. Courtney Love, as Flynt’s wife Althea, acquits herself well among theseheavyweights. Though ma…y critics argued that she was simply playing herself, that’s not as easyas one might think. The film does perhaps protest a bit too much, and questions of misogyny aredealt with too summarily. Still, a film that is overtly political is a rare enough beast these daysthat one should celebrate the ones that do get made, especially when they are made this well.
Very nice sound. The music is very expansive, and the FX are blended into the music verywell. So often it seems that music is granted a monopoly on the rear speakers, but watch thecredit sequence (as just one example: though the music dominates (as it clearly is meant to),distinct environmental effects still have their place, creating a very satisfying listeningexperience.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio is preserved (no phony 1.78:1 semi-widescreendeals here). The blacks, and flesh tones are very good, with no edge enhancement haloing. Thepicture does look a little bit murky, though certainly not enough to hamper enjoyment of the film,or to result in grain. The sharpness could be ever so slightly stronger too.
A pretty full single disc (I’ve seen double-discs with less). There are two commentaries, onewith co-writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski in coversation, and one with Norton,Love and Harrelson recorded separately. Both tracks are very interesting, and maybe recordingthe three actors individually was a good idea: no endless goofing around that happens too oftenwith multi-commentator roundtables. Love is disarmingly revealing about what the movie meantto her personal life. There are 2 deleted scenes with optional commentary. “Free Speech or Porn”is essentially a promotional featurette, but is not without interest. More informative, though, is“Larry Flynt Exposed” — a half-hour biography narrated by Dennis Hopper (!). Also includedare a New York Times article (“Larry Flynt, Patriot”); filmographies for Milos Forman,Alexander, Karaszewski, Love, Harrelson and Norton; and trailers for The People Vs. LarryFlynt, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Auto Focus. The menu’s main page is scored andanimated, and the transitions are animated.
Almost the kind of film you’d expect to have been made in the 70s rather than the 90s. Wellworth seeing in any event.
Special Features List
- Commentary by writers Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
- Commentary by actors Woody Harrelson, Edward Norton & Courtney Love
- “Free Speech or Porn” Featurette
- “Larry Flynt Exposed” Featurette
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Theatrical Trailers
- New York Times Article: “Larry Flynt, Patriot”