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I Shot Andy Warhol

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: I Shot Andy Warhol

Starring: Lili Taylor, Jared Harris
Director: Mary Harron
Rated: R
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: May 1996
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Gay/Lesbian

*Also starring: Lothaire Bluteau, Martha Plimpton, Stephen Dorff, Anna Thomson, Peter Friedman, Tahnee Welch, Donovan Leitch, Michael Imperioli, Reg Rogeis

Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

You were wondering if this movie about the woman who shot Andy Warhol could be as strange as the famous 60's pop artist himself? Wonder no more; this movie is f*&%ing weird. It's also engaging and entertaining and does an incredible amount of justice to the sense of surreality that the late 60's had. I SHOT ANDY WARHOL was predominantly based on fact, but is too weird to have been entirely true. Its cast of characters includes hippies, drag queens and a man-hating lesbian.

Played by Lili Taylor, the lesbian is the focal point of the story. As we catch up to her in the movie, she's graduated college with honors and is supporting herself through prostitution while writing plays and books on the side. Her claim to fame thus far is a book called The S.C.U.M. Manifesto, a propaganda piece for her one-member organization, the Society for Cutting Up Men. She's convinced men are biologically inferior to women -- the Y chromosome is after all an incomplete X -- and that the female of the species will soon retake their rightful position by force. Light reading this isn't.

She wants Andy Warhol to produce her second-most- interesting work, the play Up Your Ass, an equally Y-chromosome- bashing piece of art. The only scene from this play we hear rehearsed involves a woman looking for a "yellow turd" for dinner. Her in-road to Warhol is a she-male friend who has long since forsaken his testosterone in favor of wigs and makeup. Taylor doesn't cut this guy up because she doesn't consider him a real man, and I doubt very few males would disagree with her.

Taylor leaves the play with Warhol, who reads it aloud with a few ladyfriends who find the work of the "dyke" repulsive. Warhol doesn't want any part of this play either, but keeps in touch with Taylor anyway because she has this cool hippie vibe about her (everybody did back then). Meanwhile, Taylor keeps trying to sell copies of her manifesto on the street and soon signs a contract with a publisher to write a novel.

Some of the scenes in I SHOT ANDY WARHOL are slow and dragged out, kind of like the trippy hippie experiences that influenced Taylor to try to kill Warhol. Ironically, Warhol and his open-minded self provided many of these drug-induced ideas that eventually pushed Taylor over the edge, convincing her that Warhol and her publisher were conspiring to oppress her life-changing works.

Taylor's character is the very definition of mental illness, but still has a lot of interesting and / or amusing observations about society. A lot of the scenes that aren't even relevant to the Warhol plot are the most intriguing in the film. She relates one story toward the beginning of a man who paid her to walk on his chest in golf shoes for his own sexual gratification. It's a strange world. Even stranger, I still have scars on my chest from that.

Copyright 1997 Andrew Hicks

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