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Saturday, March 10, 2012

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 29 - The Postman (1997)

The Postman (1997; Warner Bros. Pictures)
In 1997, Kevin Costner stared in what would only be the second-worst post-apocalyptic adventure of his career.  The Postman is a strange amalgamation of a Civil War-era feel and Mad Max-esque dusty and ugly future.  Characters ride around on horseback and dress like  steampunk cosplayers who spent four hours rolling around in the dirt.  Where this movie really goes wrong though is with the tiny touches of camp that were thrown in on purpose, because a rebirth of the pony express by a fake president executed by a strange drifter in a dusty future wasteland of a shattered America isn’t enough, you have to have a character named after a group of auto manufacturers.

Costner mugs and poses in this film as The Postman (no, we never hear his name) uncovers a bag of undelivered mail and brings a letter to a town to which it was addressed.  He then, for no apparent reason, digs himself deeper by claiming that the currently divided U.S.A. has reformed and the government is being reestablished under the new Commander In Chief, President Starky (WTF!?)  So, as hope is kindled in the hearts of countless extras in shantytowns, an evil separatist named Gen. Bethlehem (Were they even freaking trying with the names here!?  Oh, and he is played by Will Patton.  Yeah.  The dude from Armageddon.) learns of these goings on and immediately tries to capture the lowly Postman.  So, with passions and patriotism renewed, and scores of newly recruited postmen under his rule, he begins a new Pony Express and fights against the tyrannical threat of the evil Bethlehem.

If I were to list everything I hated about this movie it would take about eighty pages, so I’m going to try to keep this brief.  If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s a lot like another Costner film that’s coming up on this list in that it really does have to be seen to be believed.  It is so strange, so ugly, so badly written and so horribly acted that it is actually comparable to anything released by the Asylum.  However, with all the flaws of this film, the single worst part of the film is the Postman himself.  Costner is utterly lost on how to make us like this character.  Unlike his lead in Waterworld, who was cold and just plain evil most of the time, this character is earnest to the point where you just want to punch him in the face.  He sounds off like a ninth-grader addressing his social studies class and you never get a sense that this character is part of any threatening or menacing future world.  This is one of those bad performances that just deserve recognition and the Postman, as a whole, is a remarkably bad film.

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