Chapter 27 (2008)
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Review Date: April 14, 2008
Director: J.P. Shaefer
Writer: J.P. Shaefer
Producers: Naomi Despres, Alexandra Milchan, Robert Salerno
Jared Leto as Mark Chapman
Lindsay Lohan as Jude
Judah Friedlander as Paul
The film follows the last three days in the life of Mark David Chapman, right before he assassinated Beatles great John Lennon. He stands around in front of his hotel with a record for him to sign. He has lunch with Lindsay Lohan. He changes hotel rooms. He goes to buy a pen. He handles the Bible a lot, as well as “The Catcher in the Rye”. He narrates a lot and lets us know how much his life sucks. Then, he kills someone who only wanted peace and love for the world. A waste of celluloid ensues…
It’s very rare that I will be watching a movie and feel like it’s my “job” to review it. I generally love watching movies and reviewing them, but halfway through this film, I was disgusted at the man that I was watching on screen (not Jared Leto, the actor, but the character he was portraying) and didn’t really feel like watching the rest of it, but I forced myself because I thought that if the film ended up being without much merit in the end, I could “warn” others to stay away from it and if even one person did so because of my warning…watching this piece of shit might have been worth it. So what did I think of the movie? Well, once again I find myself in the rare position of having the subject matter of a film really turn my stomach to the point that I’m not sure if I can evaluate the picture objectively. I mean, I’ve seen (and appreciated) other films about “killers” before – consider TAXI DRIVER and DEAD MAN WALKING – but those movies actually had something to say, they provided me with some empathy, understanding and depth about their subject. Unlike this film.

What you should expect to see when you watch this movie (and I hope to God you don’t) is the last 3 days in the free life of Mark David Chapman, the fat, ugly, insecure, pitiful jerk of a guy who decided that killing a great artist (John Lennon) would…well, I’m not exactly sure…I think he thought it would make him famous or something. Or maybe he thought it would give his life meaning, not sure. The film never really provided me with any understanding of this nutjob and why he did what he did. All I got out of this movie was that he was 1) nuts and 2) obsessed with “The Catcher in the Rye”. Since I’ve never read that book, I suppose I missed a ton of subtext about it, but even with that, we get almost zero background on this jerk, and even less insight throughout the movie (other than the fact that he’s overweight and his glasses keep slipping down his nose). We also get lots of shots of Leto topless (to make sure that we know that he really gained 70 pounds for the role), moping around, acting like a total weirdo and basically looking for pity in a “cruel world”. Boo fuckin’ hoo, dude. Everyone in the friggin’ world has problems, but they don’t decide to get themselves a gun and kill someone over it.

My favorite bad line narrated by Leno’s character in the film goes something like this: “I’m too vulnerable for a world full of pain and lies and phoniness.” M’okay. I guess one can’t really argue with that, I mean…who among us really LIKES “pain, lies and phoniness”? But why do you have to go kill a fine human being over it? Why not just off yourself, asshole? I hated this film a lot because it seemed to play directly into the hands of what this friggin’ psycho wanted in the first place, which was to “become famous” or have people talking about him. Well, congrats to writer/director J.P. Shaefer for making that man’s dream come true (and a real “classy” move by hiring an actor named Mark Chapman to play John Lennon in the film…real classy, man). A whole fuckin’ movie following a psycho’s final days before murdering someone, with very little insight into the whys behind it all. That said, Jared Leto surprised the shit out of me with an excellent portrayal of this skuzzball, and not simply because of his added weight. He actually sounded, acted and looked very different from the Emo-dude that he is in real life, and if you’re a fan of his, you might want to catch the flick for his impressive performance alone. The film’s final 20 minutes are also somewhat tense (but in an “icky way”) because it’s the night of the assassination, and the anticipation is palpable, but again…is this really something you want to spend money/time on? Rent something with meaning instead, people. Don’t support movies that provide crazy people with more fame and infamy. Stop the madness and please avoid this film at all costs.

PS: Lindsay Lohan is credited with the third name in the opening credits, but I think she has like 3 scenes in the whole movie, and each one is less pertinent than the other. Another great career move, girl.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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