Members of Washington’s media were invited to a screening of The Paperboy ahead of its Friday release last night. FishbowlDC went but we think we’re now permanently scarred.
As we previewed last week, Paperboy is a modern film noir starring Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey. The story, if you could call it that, centers on two journalists and a prison groupie who attempt to clear the name of a death-row inmate played by John Cusack.
Sounds like a fun time, right?
Paperboy is the nastiest, crudest, most disturbing movie we’ve seen this year. In the event that you accidentally stumble into the wrong theater this weekend– the one showing Paperboy rather than, say, Frankenweenie — we’ve put together a comprehensive list of things you should know before seeing it.
1. Despite IMDb’s description of Paperboy as a film about “a reporter [who] returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate,” that’s not what this movie is about. McConaughey plays a reporter, yes, but his character is more accurately described the same way you’d describe his role in every other movie he’s in: A sweaty, greasy-haired slob with a thick southern accent who, you gather, is intended to be viewed as a sex symbol.
2. Paperboy contains possibly the most uncomfortable, disgusting sex scene ever filmed; and it doesn’t involve actual sex. In the scene, Kidman’s character sits across from Cusack, the prison inmate. Kidman, wearing a dress, spreads her legs, rips open the crotch of her pantyhose and touches herself while simulating oral sex. Meanwhile, Cusack, an ugly hillbilly mess, masturbates through his clothes, shouting “you bitch.” This happens in front of a trio of men, including McConaughey and Efron, who look on in horror.
3. In one scene, McConaghey is found lying on a plastic tarp in a hotel room, inexplicably chained, gagged and mutilated by two men. Later on, viewers learn that McConaghey is a self-loathing gay man and that turns him on.
Yes, we have four more points…
4. As previously reported, Kidman’s character pees on Efron after he suffers a severe allergic reaction to jellyfish stings. In a normal movie, the camera would zoom in on either Kidman or Efron’s face as this is happening. Nope. Viewers are instead treated to a a wide shot of Kidman squatting over Efron and a close up of the urination.
5. A large portion of the movie takes place in a swamp where a dirty backwoods family lives and guts alligators and other wildlife, presumably to eat. We found ourselves actually holding our breath for these parts of the movie, only breathing through the mouth when necessary.
6. Singer Macy Gray is in the movie, portraying a loving maid and companion to Efron’s character. Gray’s actually not bad as an actress. It was nice to have her in such an otherwise cesspool of a movie.
7. Finally, a memorable line from the movie: “This is the newspaper business. We don’t have time for all the facts.”
Paperboy officially releases this Friday.
Notables in the audience: The Washington Examiner Yeas and Nays columnist Nikki Schwab, DCist and FishbowlDC Fan Club V.P. Ben Freed and Metro Weekly‘s Chris Heller.