The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides

By John Saleeby
June 1, 2009


"The Virgin Suicides" is a wonderful but difficult Movie - It's about five beautiful teenage Sisters who all commit suicide. Worse than that, not a single car chase, no martial arts, and not even one of the Sisters is played by one of the Wayan Brothers. Crap! How can you get a good Movie out of that? I'll tell you how - You get Sofia Coppola to Write and Direct it. I tell you, when it comes to Writing and Directing Movies Sofia Coppola is The BEST! That girl can make a good Movie out of anything! "Lost In Translation"? No problem! Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanson AND Anna Faris AND they're all in JAPAN? You'd have to be Terry Zweigoff to get a crappy movie out of all that. But "Marie Antionette"? Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman AND Rip Taylor And they're in FRANCE in the EIGHTEENTH CENTURY? Any woman who can make a Movie as good as "Marie Antionette" out of that mess ought to be wearing ear rings made out of Jean Renoir's eyeballs (Youngsters can replace "Jean Renoir" with "Kevin Smith" to join in on The Comedy Fun). God, I love Sofia Coppola! I love Jean Renoir, too, but if I loved him the way I love Sofia Coppola I could dig up his grave and make a cage of his bones. Every movie Sofia Coppola has made is GREAT. Yeah, she's only made three but if PT Anderson had stopped at three you wouldn't have had to put up with "There Will Be Blood".

And now I am obliged to mention that Sofia is the Daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, the Academy Award Winning blah blah blah . . . I refuse to get all AFI over this guy's work until it is widely acknowledged that "The Outsiders" is his Best Movie. Everybody knows that out here in The Real World where Guns N' Roses is The Best Band Ever but over there in The Dip Shit World where U2 is The Best Band Ever all anybody wants to talk about is "The Godfather". Maybe The Edge could explain to me exactly what is so great about that thing. Note To The Edge - I am kidding. Stay the fuck away from me. I'm sorry, but I don't "get" "The Godfather". Okay, the old Jew has been spooning with a dead horse head all night - That is Entertainment? Give me Johnny and Pony Boy hittin' on Cherry at The Drive In. I can't even think about it with breaking out into tears! When he remakes "The Godfather" with My Main Man Ralph Macchio as Michael and "Apocolypse Now" with C. Thomas Howell as Kurtz then - And ONLY then! - will I have one tenth as much respect for Francis Ford as I do for Sofia! And Roman? What is he, Fredo Coppola? A little "Godfather" joke for all the Squares! You suck, but I want you to have a good time, anyways!

"The Virgin Suicides" is a Mystery. Why did the Lisbon Sisters kill themselves, WHY!? Everybody loves a Mystery but "The Virgin Suicides" is a Mystery Without A Solution which to the "Law And Order" Crowd is as lame as a Bob Segar record without a lot of screaming like a bear is tearing his leg off. I'm sure a lot of people are immediately confused by how the Movie shows Cecilia (Hannah Hall), the youngest of the girls, kill herself within the first fifteen minutes and then goes right ahead without everybody being interviewed by a bunch of wise cracking hardboiled Police Officers until a Psychiatrist played by a Gay Asian Guy comes in to deliver a lecture on Teen Suicide with a lot of statistics and shit. You think they woulda put up with that guy on "NYPD Blue"? But "The Virgin Suicides" don't have nothing like that! Don't this Coppola chick know nothin' about Movies? How the fuck is this movie gonna wrap everything up all nice and neat with a Big Dramatic Courtroom Scene full of windy Lawyers when we still ain't had no Cops show up? There's a Priest but it's a Priest played by Scott Glenn so Sofia gets rid of him before we have to watch his Baptize a baby while riding a Mechanical Bull. The Local TV News Crew comes in but Sofia just makes Fun of them and they slouch off before they can put Kathleen Turner as Missus Lisbon on TV and everybody runs into the street screaming in Horror. Screw The Cops, The Church, The Media - We can't count on em in Real Life, why the Hell should we have em in our Movies? That stuff is Television! Any situation which can be handled by The Authorities is too puny to be presented through The Art Form We Call Cinema! I'm sorry about getting up on my Soap Box but it is the only way I can get up on on my High Horse.

So if we can't count on Our Leaders to take care of everything (I bet Barack Obama hates this movie), it's up to the Local Boys who have grown up worshipping the Lisbon Girls from afar to crack the case. And that's what raises "The Virgin Suicides" above those movies full of Dead Girls all over The Lifetime Channel (Although it really is too bad Sofia couldn't find a part in it for Valerie Bertinelli. Wouldn't you rather see Valerie Bertinelli in a movie instead of Kathleen Turner? Was America's Transexual Community offended by the casting Kathleen Turner as Chandler's Dad on "Friends"? I bet it was! I mean, I bet they were. Sorry). "The Virgin Suicides" might be easier to take if it wasn't about such a nice bunch of kids. These guys are so likeable I'd trust them in a Gus Van Sant movie. If they had been the cast of "River's Edge" it would have been ten minutes long "Is that a dead body?" "I'll get the Coroner!" These lovestruck boys are ruined forever by what happens in their neighborhood and will spend the rest of their Lives trying to make sense of it. Maybe one day they'll see "The Virgin Suicides" on cable and finally get to the bottom of it cause now that I've seen it a few times I think I've got it figured out.

Cecilia is the key to understanding these girls even though Lux (Kirsten Dunst) gets all the attention. Yeah, Cecelia is only around for a few minutes but if Screen Time means anything Raymond Burr is The Star of "Godzilla" and the Guy In The Rubber Monster Suit is Chopped Liver Sushi. You may have never heard of Hannah Hall but now you know how people will feel about Kirsten Dunst five years from now. Is Older Sister Lux a Good Role Model? If you are the Thirteen Year Old Lindsey Lohan, she is. Lux is, for want of a better word (Which pretty much sums up my entire Writing Style), a Bimbo. If I thought I was going to be like Lux in a few years I'd kill myself, too. If I'm going to be like Lux in a few years I'll be Truman Capote! Don't the guys at The Sports Bar make enough mean jokes about me already? "Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a thirteen year old girl." Cecelia tells an old geezer who claims she has no idea how bad Life can be. Man, if I ever woke up and I was a thirteen year old girl I'd be dead faster than a Baby Sitter in a Wes Craven Movie. Good Luck finding John Saleeby after you find a dead thirteen year old girl in my apartment because she's probably me. And if that don't make sense you've obviously never been a forty eight year Comedy Writer with nothing better to do than write for Acid Logic. Suicide? It's as obvious as The Def Jam Comedy Hour! So Cecelia kills herself, Lux's slutty ways get her in so much trouble Missus Lisbon pulls all the girls out of school, locks them up in the house until they all go nuts, and . . .

You may be confused by the Comedy in this Movie but - My God! It's a movie where five teenage girls kill themselves! We'll take all the help we can get! Like when we find out that The High School Stud is being raised by two Gay Men. Pretty silly, but once we've seen Cecelia dying in her Daddy's arms we've gotta get as silly as possible, man! Let's bring in Adam Sandler and Our Boy Kevin James in to do their Nutty Gay Couple Routine from "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry ", dress em up like a couple of Drag Queen Hookers, and have a Pie Fight with The Cops from "Reno 911"! As funny as the Comedy in "The Virgin Suicides" may be nobody ever laughs at it even once. This is Sick Humor of such precision that if Michael O'Donahue had lived to see it he would have wondered why he bothered. This is probably why a lot of people hate "The Virgin Suicides", after "Family Guy" and all those Mel Brooks movies they can only put up with jokes about AIDS and The Holocaust that come with great big neon signs reading "AIDS JOKES!!! WE'RE CRAZY!!!" and "HOLOCAUST JOKES!!! SICK!SICK!SICK!" up on the roof. We gotta have jokes in this movie or it would kill us. But if you laugh at "The Virgin Suicides" you will burn in Hell for All Eternity. Comedy Relief? What possible relief could there be to this story? You want relief, go do what Cecelia and her Sisters did. It might be a sad story to you but to them it's probably a Laugh Riot.

The Big Question - Which Lisbon Sister do I like the most? Well, Mary is obviously The Prettiest but the more I watch "The Virgin Suicides" the more I Love Therese. She's sweet. But I can't watch this Movie any more. It hurts.

John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

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