UnClassic Film Review:My Left Foot

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One day each week, we at UnClassic Film Review check out what happens to be playing on Turner Classic Movies at 3:00 in the morning that day and review it without having a clue what it is. Our qualification for taking on this task is two-fold: we know nothing about obscure old popular films, and we drink our own urine. We will base our review, which will be thorough and informative, solely on the blurb in the TV listing.

My Left Foot (1989)[edit]

This week's film is My Left Foot, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan. It was made in 1989 and directed by Jim Sheridan.


A man with cerebral palsy learns to paint with his foot.

Hollywood's dirty little secret[edit]

Dirty little secret: Here Russel Crowe plays a disabled mathematician in Ron Howard's snooze-fest A Beautiful Mind. If Crowe can play crippled, anyone can.

Here we have the infamous "dirty little secret" on full display. I wonder if the person who plays the cripple in this film got an award or anything for it. Probably. But he did not deserve it. Because everyone knows that playing a cripple is the easiest job in the business. Everyone except awards voters, that is.

Let's look at famous cripple roles. What's Eating Gilbert Grape launched the career of Leonardo Da Vinci, everyone thought he was incredible, and he hasn't had any good roles since. Then there was I Am Sean Penn. The role of crippled retard Sean Penn was played by an actor that nobody has heard from since. And he won the Oscar award for it. And it goes on and on. Remember Robert DeNiro in Awakenings? Is it any coincidence that since playing a retard there, he hasn't had a single performance worth a crap? Same for Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain man, where they play retarded brothers. Oops, that was a spoiler, sorry. OK, if you haven't seen Rain Man, forget that I said Tom Cruise is also retarded, because that's the big plot twist.

Incidentally, I cry foul, Mr. Turner. I turn on your little cable station at 3:00 a.m. for "classic" movies. When I am devouring fudge swirl ice cream and Sam Adams beer curled up on my couch, I expect to see stiff, theatrically awkward characters, overblown, stiltingly delivered dialog and black and white for shit's sake. What the hell is this? This movie was made when I already had kids. It's probably in color for christ's sake. And the acting is probably top-notch. And isn't Daniel Day-Lewis still alive? When I think Turner Classic Movies, I think dreadfully boring dead people, and that's that.

Catch me crying in front of this? No way.

But anyway, here a cripple paints with his foot. It's probably all emotionally moving and triumphant; one man's determination to live a disadvantaged life on his own terms, and the help he at first shuns from the one who truly loves him, but then finally accepts in a manner both humbling and empowering. Spoon my eyes out. Please.

Do movies get more maudlin than this? I mean, I hate to come across cold and cynical, but that's the only way I can stop myself from bawling at scenes like this, because, frankly, it just gets me right here. And that's so damn embarrassing. I can't even show my face to the ice cream carton.


No, I'm not watching this overwrought crap. Mostly because I don't want to have to explain the swollen, tear-stained eyes tomorrow morning at the office. "I cried at My Left Foot" won't cut it in my crowd. Get back to real classics, Mr. Turner, so I can make proper fun of them.