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(1999) (Sharon Stone, Jean-Luke Figueroa) (R)

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Drama: A recent parolee reluctantly becomes the guardian for a six-year-old boy who's sought after by some criminals who killed his family.
Having taken the fall for her mobster boyfriend and completing her three-year Florida prison term, Gloria (SHARON STONE) violates her parole and returns to New York City. There, she discovers that her former boyfriend, Kevin (JEREMY NORTHAM), along with his henchmen Sean (MIKE STARR) and Terry (BARRY MCEVOY), are responsible for murdering a family, leaving six-year-old Nicky (JEAN-LUKE FIGUEROA) an orphan.

Upset that he never came to visit her in prison, and even more disturbed upon hearing their plans for the boy, Gloria nabs Nicky and hits the road, but not before the boy grabs a computer disk -- that contains an official payoff list of city officials and officers for which the gangsters murdered Nicky's family. As the two leave, Kevin proclaims that Gloria's now as good as dead.

Not sure what to do nor how to care for her young companion, Gloria tries getting help from various people, including her sister Brenda (BONNIE BEDELIA), old friend Diane (CATHY MORIARTY), and Kevin's boss and her former lover, Ruby (GEORGE C. SCOTT), whom she hopes to persuade to allow her and the boy to live.

Unless they're fans of Stone, it's extremely unlikely.
For violence and language.
  • SHARON STONE plays a tough walking, profanity spewing lady who's just been paroled from prison for taking a fall for her gangster boyfriend. Once she's reluctantly in charge of Nicky, however, her motherly instincts take over and she tries to protect the boy and do what's best for him (at least in her mind).
  • JEAN-LUKE FIGUEROA plays that young boy who cusses a bit, but is otherwise a normal six- year-old who must deal with having the rest of his family murdered.
  • JEREMY NORTHAM plays Gloria's gangster boyfriend who strikes her and is otherwise continually threatening her and the boy.


    OUR TAKE: 0 out of 10
    It's not often that one wishes that the villains in a movie would succeed and finally "take out" the protagonists, but that's the case in Columbia Pictures release of "Gloria." While not politically or morally correct, such an action would at least put the audience out of its misery of having to sit through this travesty that feels about one hundred times longer than its nearly two-hour run time.

    A remake of the 1980 John Cassavetes film of the same name (which featured Gena Rowlands in the Oscar nominated title role), this is a mind-numbingly bad picture with wooden acting, horrible writing, and a pace that would embarrass even the slowest tortoise. Although the year is still quite young, this one already gets our vote for being one of the worst films of 1999.

    Of course every year many bad films are released -- and this time of year seems to be the popular "dumping ground" for them -- but the biggest surprise/disappointment about this one is that it's directed by Sidney Lumet. Recipient of four Best Director Oscar nominations (for "12 Angry Men," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Network" and "The Verdict"), Lumet has had some misfires as well, but none that are as irksome as this one.

    Something of a mishandled mix of elements from the original film as well as subsequent entries such as "Witness," "The Client" and even the not quite as awful "Bogus," we're presumably supposed to get the "aw-shucks" feeling upon seeing Gloria's tough-as-nails exterior melt away as her motherly instincts kick in and she falls for this cute little kid.

    While that worked in "The Client" and even "Aliens" with Sigourney Weaver's tough character immediately becoming maternal for the little girl Newt, it just doesn't work here. Instead, it comes off so artificially forced and unrealistic that you keep hoping the bad guys will eventually catch and separate the two of them so that we don't have to endure any more of the strained material.

    Saddled with that half of the film that doesn't come close to working on any level, one would hope -- or expect -- that the other half about the gangsters chasing after the woman and little boy would at least be somewhat exciting, suspenseful, or even dramatic.

    Yet it miserably fails those first two qualifiers and barely registers in the third. Case in point, there's an obligatory car chase scene that has to be the lamest variation of that overused cinematic element that I've probably ever witnessed on film.

    Now I wasn't expecting the film to be some grandiose action flick, but I was certainly hoping it would work on some level (other than severely grating on one's nerves). Unfortunately it simply doesn't, and the audience is thus left with a lackluster production that limps and plods along to its uneventful conclusion (that's followed by a near unbearable and excruciatingly long denouement). In case you've fallen asleep by then or have already left the theater -- two extremely likely scenarios -- the film -- not surprisingly -- ends on a heavily predictable note.

    The quality of the acting performances isn't much better than the rest of the film. Sharon Stone, who came to mass attention with "Basic Instinct" and received an Oscar nomination for her work in "Casino," tries to do the gangster moll with the Brooklyn accent bit, but simply can't pull it off. Burdened by hackneyed dialogue (not to mention that accent) and having nothing to do but looked upset or unrealistically worried about the little boy, this performance certainly won't do much to appease Stone's already fervent detractors.

    While it's not nice to dump on a little kid's performance, Jean-Luke Figueroa couldn't act himself out of a corner, and without some much needed precociousness, his character comes off as irritating and barely sympathetic. I'm assuming that's somewhat intentional -- so that he's a constant thorn in Gloria's side -- but it certainly doesn't endear him to us and simply gives the film another notch in the "things that went wrong" list.

    Meanwhile, Jeremy Northam, who was good in the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle "Emma," can't do much with his stereotypically slick criminal character here, and decent performers such as George C. Scott ("Patton"), Cathy Moriarty ("Raging Bull") and Bonnie Bedelia ("Die Hard") probably hope this picture -- and anyone's memory of them being in it -- quickly fades into oblivion.

    With a plot that features little proactive motivation on the part of the protagonists and thus consequently has them meandering from one set piece to another, the film comes off as dull, listless and without any sort of emotional, let alone other positive sensory reaction. Had the film been laughably bad, at least there would have been that "redeeming" quality, but alas, that's not even the case.

    When a character makes a comment midway through the movie stating that children shouldn't be exposed to Gloria (the character, which makes Stone ask if she's the mumps -- a good example of the film's failed attempts at humor), we found that to be good, sound advice regarding the film overall for moviegoers of any age.

    If you cherish your sanity and the safety of your brain cells, no matter what you do, don't allow yourself to be lured into seeing this picture, lest you expose yourself to what might prove to be the longest two hours of your life. Not surprisingly, we give "Gloria" -- a film that Columbia didn't dare screen for the reviewers despite the talent involved -- a 0 out of 10.

    Here's a quick summary of the content found in this R-rated film. Profanity is extreme with nearly 50 "f" words, as well as an assortment of other words, and religious and other colorful phrases. We see the bare butts of several men after they've been forced to strip, and some brief sexually related comments also occur.

    Violence is extreme with graphic (but not that bloody) views of people being shot and murdered (along with other lethal and nonlethal acts), and the criminals want to kill both Gloria and the young boy she's protecting. As such, some viewers may find those scenes unsettling and/or suspenseful.

    Beyond that and the thematic elements of a boy having to deal with his family being murdered (he doesn't see that in person, but later learns it from the news), the rest of the film's categories are relatively tame. Nonetheless, should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for you or someone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at what's been listed.

  • Kevin pours champagne (or wine) for himself and Gloria, but he's the only one who drinks any.
  • Among the things Gloria says that Nicky will get to experience when he grows up, she says that he's "got a lot of booze to drink..."
  • Ruby and some associates have wine on their table.
  • We briefly see several bullet impact wounds, and then briefly see blood covering Nicky's father's hands.
  • We see a stream of blood that's run down from a man's head where he's been shot.
  • Gloria breaks her parole orders by leaving Florida and returning to New York.
  • Obviously all of the gangsters/criminals in the film have extreme cases of both.
  • A pharmacist refills Nicky's inhaler prescription (for asthma) for a large sum of cash from Gloria.
  • Nicky shoplifts from that pharmacy.
  • Scenes listed here and under "Violence" may be tense to some viewers, but all of that depends on their age/level of maturity and tolerance for such material.
  • Some may find the beginning of a sequence where Sean is walking toward Nicky's apartment as his parents scramble to leave as a bit tense. The same holds true for a subsequent scene when Sean confronts them at gunpoint and then shoots them.
  • Gloria struggles with a man who's hanging from the car she's driving and fighting her over a gun (which gets fired through the windshield). As she drives the car out onto the street, the man is smashed (and presumably killed) when she sideswipes him into another car.
  • Some viewers may find a car chase scene where a henchman chases after Gloria as suspenseful.
  • The henchmen chase Gloria and Nicky through a crowded market and then grab the boy and take him away (and later hold him in a closet).
  • Handguns: Used to threaten or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Sh*thead," "Bitch," "Wop," "You lousy piece of dirt," "Loser," "Shut up," "Pissed off," "Bastard," "Screw you," "Wise ass," "Screwing" (nonsexual), "Nuts" (crazy), "You little punk," "Moron" and "Smart ass."
  • Nicky shoplifts from a drugstore.
  • None.
  • A few scenes have just a tiny bit of dramatically suspenseful music in them.
  • None.
  • Some of the following cussing (the lesser objectionable stuff) comes from a kid, with much of the rest being said in his presence.
  • At least 49 "f" words, 13 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals ("pr*ck"), 18 hells, 4 asses (1 used with "hole"), 4 damns, 1 S.O.B., 1 crap, and 12 uses of "G-damn," 10 of "Jesus Christ," 3 each of "Christ" and "Oh God," 2 each of "Oh Jesus," "Jesus" and "Swear to God" and 1 use of "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • Gloria's "get out of prison" dress shows a great deal of cleavage and also reveals a lot of thigh from its high-cut slit. At other times, Gloria shows a bit more cleavage in other outfits she wears as well.
  • Kevin asks Gloria "Do you want to make love?" but she declines his offer.
  • A guy asks Gloria, "Do you have any good lesbian prison stories?"
  • Making Kevin and his men strip so that she and Nicky can safely escape, Gloria tells them, "I haven't seen a naked man in three years." After they do so, we see several glimpses of their bare butts. Looking at one of the men's nudity, she states "Raymond, who knew?" (apparently referring to the size of his genitals).
  • Explaining to Nicky that he's just a boy and not a man, Gloria says, "You've got a small pee-pee. Men have a big pee-pee. Well, some of them. And someday you will too."
  • Among the things Gloria says that Nicky will get to experience when he grows up, she says that he's got "lovemaking to make..." and that he'll get to "chase a skinny blond girl with big boobs."
  • Another woman shows some cleavage.
  • Ruby (a man) comments to Gloria, "I made love to you."
  • Nicky innocently tells Gloria, "I like sleeping with you." She responds, "You're not the first guy to tell me that."
  • Gloria gives her old cigarette case to a prison guard, stating that she's kicked the habit.
  • Terry smokes once.
  • Nicky grabs a pack of smokes from a cigarette machine, and later puts an unlit cigarette in his mouth. When Gloria gets mad at him for that, he states that he occasionally smokes (although it's assumed he's making this up, since he's young and has asthma).
  • Some miscellaneous character smoke on the street and at the horse track.
  • Nicky's father sends his boy off into the streets, knowing it's the last time he'll see him, and must then momentarily deal with his wife's murder.
  • Nicky must contend with losing his entire family.
  • The criminals' actions, as well as Gloria's.
  • People (cops, officials, etc...) who are on "the take" from criminals.
  • Asthma (Nicky has that).
  • Sean fires several shots through a door that he then kicks down. He confronts Nicky's parents and threatens them at gunpoint. When they don't do what he wants, he shoots and kills Nicky's grandmother and his parents. We then hear (but don't see) him shoot Nicky's sister.
  • Gloria shoves Kevin backwards, and he later slaps her on the face.
  • Terry pushes Gloria back against a wall. Moments later, she knees him in the crotch and then holds his gun on him.
  • Gloria fires several warning shots at Kevin and his men, as she makes them put down their guns and remove their clothes (at gunpoint).
  • Gloria finds a man who's been shot in the head.
  • Kevin hits Sean in the chest, knocking him to the floor where he then proceeds to kick him several times.
  • We briefly see some Three Stooges slapstick violence on TV.
  • Gloria struggles with a man who's hanging from the car she's driving and fighting her over a gun (which gets fired through the windshield). As she drives the car out onto the street, the man is smashed (and presumably killed) when she sideswipes him into another car.
  • During a car chase, a car smashes into a barrier and the driver's head hits the windshield.

  • Reviewed January 22, 1999 / Posted on January 22, 1999

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