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The Duke Presents “The Cinema Of Kirsten Dunst”

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It’s all about the dimples and the eyes, is what The Duke would suggest. Pasolini had a face like a walrus’s arse. Goddard liked to think he was hip, but truth be told, he just looked like a smug motherfucker. Eisenstein was handsome, for sure, but I’m guessing he just arranged all those sailors in such a way that their burly machismo reflected onto him.

“Stand a little further to the left, various communists, especially you, with the top off and the muscles. You stand right over there, parallel to me, is what. You fuckers with no teeth can hide behind that boat.”

Probably when he went out, though, he took all the no-teeth folks with him. The sailors were told to stay in the damn bunks, is what, like when you go to a nightclub or maybe the discothèque or a barn-dance, and you take the most pathetic looking people you can find, so as you look all the better. Imagine wandering into that damn club with three topless sailors either side. A motherfucking walking illusion is what you’d be.

So anyway, whilst The Duke is far from a body-fascist or any a that shit, I have consulted various diagrams, pie-charts, astrological measurements, and have discovered that it is, indeed, the dimples and the eyes that ensure The Motherfucking Cinema Of Kirsten Dunst is preferable to even the most inventive of Italian fare.

Not that there aren’t parallels with these masters of yore. Both Eisenstein and Kirsten, for example, have a Strike! in the filmography, although Kirsten’s concerns an all-girl boarding school that’s about to be integrated with nasty boy-types who probably don’t even know a thing about cannibal cinema or say motherfuck, whilst Sergei’s 1925 epic has all to do with the factory’s and the rebellion and a fella hanging himself and then next thing anyone knows baby’s are getting flung off of balcony’s and cows are being slaughtered in close-up.

There’s no slaughtered cows in Kirsten’s version, nor indeed any baby’s being flung from balcony’s. This, however, is the fault of writer / director Sarah Kernochan, and Kirsten couldn’t have helped even if she wanted to, I’d imagine.

Although how anyone could see fit to refuse Her requests is beyond even the interstellar intelligent of yours truly, i.e., The Duke.

Bounding into the barren atmosphere of Earth back in April 1982 (beating The Duke by a month) Kirsten started out acting as a child in various flicks, being just a child Herself, and therefore suited perfectly to the roles in question. Most famous, probably, are the likes of Interview With Tyler Durden, wherein Kirsten plays a pre-teen vampire, running rings round Tommy Boy Cruise and Brad Anniston, and Jumanji, about Kirsten and some other kid of some kind find a board game and then next thing anyone knows Robin Williams shows up followed by a buncha hilariously cack CGI monkeys.

There’s a sequel to Jumanji on the way, even though the studio maintain that no, it hasn’t a damn thing to do with the flick about the CGI monkeys, so don’t go telling folks it’s a sequel, cause it isn’t, you sonofabitch.

The sequel, however, seems to be Kirsten-free, and therefore irrelevant not only to this intellectual discussion, but also just about anything you might have going on in your life.

1997, though, heralded the arrival of Wag The Dog, and a sign of the greatness to come. What the flick concerned itself with, was that the president’s been getting up to the old in-out with some woman or other, and so a buncha media types are hired for to create a “war”, that they might distract the voting public. Kirsten is drafted in to play a young lady in some war-zone, except really it’s just a studio, and Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman discuss whether or not to have some CGI cats in the footage.

Thank fuck they stay away from CGI monkeys.

Wag The Dog is just one example of the subversive political thinking going on behind Kirsten’s dimples and eyes and smile. For sure, She may have provided the voice of Young Anastasia for Don Bluth’s film about horrible evil Russians, but there’s a socialist heart beating under that remarkable chest is what The Duke would guess.

To wit;

Social critiques abound in the likes of Fifteen And Pregnant, Crazy / Beautiful, Mona Lisa Smile etc. Politics are debated in the likes of the aforementioned Strike! and 1999’s Dick, about two girls including Kirsten who meet Richard Nixon. Small-town America is satirized, parodied in the masterful Drop Dead Gorgeous and Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides.

The Virgin Suicides, released in 1999, is an incredibly important entry in The Motherfucking Cinema Of Kirsten Dunst, since not only is it fantastic, but also ushers in The Golden Age, when Kirsten produces Her finest ever work, an age which has yet to reach conclusion. Perhaps this age will never end, and Kirsten will continue offering masterpiece after masterpiece to unworthy slovenly lowly hounds like The Duke who can do nothing but weep with gratitude and raise both hands skywards, screaming unto heaven that God might note how happy his work has made humanity, specifically The Duke.

Any the fuck how.

The Virgin Suicides, Dick and Drop Dead Gorgeous all surfaced within months of each other. Maybe you think Takashi Miike is the only one capable of flinging several masterpieces into the ether within a twelve-month period, but what you need to do is reassess that motherfucking assumption right the hell now. To be fair, Miike usually has more swimming pools filled with shit and also singing zombies and bullet-time cock-fights and so on, but still, The Films Of Kirsten Dunst more often than not have Kirsten Dunst, so fuck you Miike, is what Kirsten no doubt thinks about it all.

Drop Dead Gorgeous is fairly unique in Kirsten’s canon, in that it adopts a pseudo-verite approach, being a mockumentary concerning a small-town beauty pageant. Absurd, you would think, since the outcome can be deduced from nothing more than the knowledge that Kirsten is an entrant in said sexist charade, but the film has less to do with the “plot” and more to do with the “satire”, the “social commentary” and so on. For example, we get one of the participants dancing with a crucified Christ on wheels, on account of she wants to appeal to the old-time religion so favored by the township. Even a crucified Christ on wheels, though, can’t detract from Kirsten’s performance.

Kirsten obviously felt that Drop Dead Gorgeous didn’t go far enough in tearing down these kindsa sexist rituals, and so a couple flicks later She appeared in Bring It On, being a brilliant skewering of cheerleader tomfoolery.

Bring It On can be noted as an example of Kirsten’s occasional neo-surrealist flourishes. If you thought there was no place for a couple musical numbers in a teen comedy about cheerleaders, then think the hell again, is what Kirsten would suggest, since look, here they are. These neo-surrealist tendencies are also exhibited beautifully in other works, such as Michele Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, and the earlier Small Soldiers, wherein Joe Dante offers a critique of the declining influence of male tradition in contemporary culture. I.e., it’s about tiny little soldiers. We can see this as probably Kirsten’s way of discussing issues addressed by Film Noir, back in the 1940’s.

Occasionally, Kirsten’s surrealist artistry gets mangled by a useless fucking script (which She didn’t write) and a cack director (who She isn’t). Examples of this can be found in, for example, 2000’s The Crow – Salvation, which promised to be best of the three, since it had Kirsten and everything, but then shocked everyone by being crap, except for Kirsten.

Thankfully, there’s still animated features for when live-action just can’t match Kirsten’s ambition. To this end, Kirsten provided the voice of Kiki (which is Kirsten’s nick-name, don’t you know?) in the English dub of Hayao Mayazaki’s sublime Kiki’s Delivery Service. She also voiced Kaena, the heroine of the 2003 CGI-feature Kaena – The Prophecy. Then of course there’s 1998’s straight-to-video The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, for which She gracefully provided the lung-work for Becky Thatcher.

Of course Tom Sawyer isn’t the only literary source enlivened by Kirsten, and is in fact merely one example of what The Duke will refer to as The Post-Modern Literary Classicism to be found in The Motherfucking Cinema Of Kirsten Dunst. Get Over It harbors both explicit Shakespearian references, and also borrows the mechanics (no motherfucking pun intended) of his A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition, Kirsten’s fondness for modern literature is illustrated by her roles not only in Interviewing Some Vampire Or Other, but also 1990’s The Bonfire Of Vanities and the aforementioned The Virgin Suicides.

Whilst some might see this as a sign of a cultural snobbery of some kind, what you want to do is note the source of not only Spider-Man, but the sequel, Spider-Man 2. In case you didn’t know, these are based on the picture-books, a medium oft scorned in literary circles, but which Kirsten knows to be of utmost merit. To this end, as with all involved in Sam Raimi’s films about a fella turns into an arachnid-demon, Kirsten invests in the role of Mary Jane Parker the kind of gravitas She would offer Marion Davies in Peter Bogdanovich’s The Cat’s Meow, and will no doubt administer in the forthcoming Marie-Antoinette, Her second collaboration with Sofia Coppola.

The Cat’s Meow is important not only because it features one of Kirsten’s best of all ever performances, but also because it provides a rare outlet for Her musical talents. Not only does She sing beautifully in this most gorgeous of pictures, but She sings beautifully in Get Over It, too. God willing, those fucking screenwriters will forget about historical battles for ten damn seconds and write a film about Kirsten sings and sings. I could listen to Her for a fortnight. She really is fucking fantastic.

Incidentally, Kirsten, I’m working on the third internet-released EP right now, and I know you probably loved the last one, Stuff I Learned In Clinchy, so why not maybe Email Me some singing or something, since I’d be honored for to maybe write you a verse or two. Maybe something about;

“I need a man
With vast knowledge of Pasolini
For only cinematic knowledge
Can sexually please me”

Who knows. We’ll improvise.


What it all amounts to is that The Duke honest to God respects Kirsten above any other film-related individual, up-to-and-including any damn one. She’s intelligent, funny as all hell, and also has the eyes and the dimples, which, if you recall from a few paragraphs back, were so lacking in the work of Felini or De Sica. She’ll do a blockbuster like The Spider-Beast, but She’ll make sure it’s got the right director, hopefully someone who spent his adolescence flinging Bruce Campbell around the forest, and then when you think She’s gonna get predictable and do nothing but films about things explode, She’ll offer us Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. She recognizes the classic narrative paradigm, as evidenced in the slightly-underwhelming Wimbledon, but She’s excited by the unconventional, non-linear possibilities for cinema, even keeping an eye on the techniques explored in the likes of Spider-Man 2 – The Computer Game, which She lent Her voice to, also.

She’ll offer her beautiful services to a surrealist work like Bring It On, but She’ll explore classical Hollywood in The Cat’s Meow.

And She’s even worked with Woody Motherfucking Allen, who gave Kirsten Her first role, playing Mia Farrow’s daughter in New York Stories, yet another reason why Woody’s section is the only thing that saves New York Stories from a motherfucking kicking.

Look at those eyes, man, that smile. She knows all about humanity and the soul and so on, and She chooses to explore this via the most incredible, left-field decisions in all of Hollywood. Kirsten doesn’t play it safe, is what. Fuck you, Lohan and those twins and such, is what Kirsten says. Yeah, I’ll do a teen comedy, but if you think I won’t voice a French CGI cartoon a second later, you can think the hell again.

The only worrying thing, in fact, regarding Kirsten and Her cinema, is how She wants to hang around with that Darko motherfucker.

Thanks Kirsten.

Thanks folks.

Further Reading –

The Motherfucking Cinema Of Woody Allen

The Motherfucking Cinema Of Pier Palo Pasolini

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando.

Listen To The Duke’s Second EP – “Better than anything I did, that’s for damn sure” – Brian Eno (possibly lies)

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About The Duke

  • Jim Carruthers

    I can’t believe you didn’t use the cheap gag (y’know the part what gets put into pull-quotes on the motherfucking movie posters) that in “Wag The Dog” — “She’s all that, and a bag of Doritos!”

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    ah, but Jim. there’s no place for cheap gags in the discussion of such a beautiful cinematic movement.

  • Matt Egan

    Aaron, you are the only blogger on this site that could devote that much real estate to Kirsten Dunst. Kudos!

  • Eric Berlin

    Duke –

    I respect very much the fact that you’ve taken on the life and career of Kirsten Dunst in one go.

    I’m wild about Eternal Sunshine, and Dunst’s scenes jumping on the bed of a zonked out memory-patient whilst drunk and stoned (and in panties) certainly didn’t hurt.

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    thanks fellas. although i know too well that a meagre web-article is nowhere near even an inkling of a thought of enough for to do justice to Kirsten. Sorry Kirsten.

    Eric, that right there is a highly valid filmic observation, one which i noticed also. I see your bed-jumping, Eric, and i raise you some similar bed-related antics in Crazy/Beautiful.

    How divine are these moments…

  • Jim Carruthers

    Well, if this is luscious actress Texas Hold’em, I’ll see your Kirsten Dunst, and raise you a Scarlet Johansen in “Lost In Translation”.

    So, what do we get on the flop? Because I suspect there might be a Lindsay Lohan, or a Natalie Portman, but there might be a Joker like Tara Reid or even Courtney Love.

    So, what’s your move?

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    oh, come now. i see your scarlet in Lost In Translation and raise you a Kirsten in Spider-Man. For sure, Scarlet was wonderful, and very touching, but look at that giddy love-struck awe that hangs around Kirsten when She’s telling Peter Parker that She’s startin’ to get gooey for Arachnid-Boy. And then the crushing devestation on Her face when he walks off at the end, the heartless bastard.

  • Tom

    Nothing against the lovely Ms. Dunst, but count this as a vote for Natalie Portman, who reaches such lofty heights of beauty that man doesn’t even have names for the numbers that high.

  • Jim Carruthers

    I’ll go with Tom with Natalie Portman on the flop, both from her performance in “Garden State”, and to be a real card sharp bastard, her turn as a stripper in “Closer”.

    So, your two table cards are Dunst and Portman, what’s your next move gents?

  • Chris

    Wow, a Miike reference! I love it!

    PS, I think I was the one fan of Crow Salvation.

  • Jim Carruthers

    So, the next two cards on the turn are:

    Christina of Ricci


    Susan of Sarandon

    You’ve got to come up with a winning poker hand, bet or hold for the final card.

    So, do you feel lucky, punk? Do you?

  • Eric Olsen

    brilliant Duker, I too am amazed by KD’s bewildering range of film styles, tones, characters, and she has become more attractive as she has gone from teen to young adult.

  • Bill Lamb

    Great work Duke…’Bring It On’ is the ultimate sleeper Dunst for me…almost makes the cheerleader move genre seem worthy.

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    i see your christina of ricci, being a child star in gothic fare and then a teen star in bizarre fare, and for sure, she’s great is what she is, but interview with the vampire out-gothics addams family (although TECHNICALLY addams family was better, but there’s no room for technicality’s here)and virgin suicides and eternal sunshine out-bizarre bufallo 66 or Pecker.

    Extra points to ricci for being in a john waters flick, but points deduced since Kirsten’s probably just waiting for the sequel of Pink Flamingoes.

    And Kirsten sings beautifully, unlike NATALIE PORTMAN, whom you’ll remember almost derailed Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You with her tuneless warble.

    Of course Everyone Says I Love You was a better Woody flick than his New York Stories segment (starring Kirsten), but for Her efforts Kirsten got to be credited in a flick directed not only by woody but also Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. For shame, Natalie Portman.

  • Jim Carruthers

    Here we come to the river, and the dealer gives us Charlize Theron.

    What do you think Chuck?
    Chuck: golly, people got their expectations high, holding and raising, thinking they were going to get a royal flush in the “Father Ted Beautiful Girls Memorial Poker Tournament”, but it turns out is both Theron and Ricci from “Monster”, so those who were using those in their hands are devastated.

    Obviously the winner of this hand will be one with an unexpected card.

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t know what all this 3-Card Monte mumbo jumbo is about, I thought we were talking about hot chicks in cool flicks.

  • Eric Berlin

    Eric ~

    I’m afraid I kicked off with my somewhat untoward reference to Ms. Dunst’s zonked out bed romping in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    My apologies…

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash

  • Eric Olsen

    Eric, oh, I see the Duke his own bad self began the card-playing antics when he “raised you” – the bed-romping mention was quite “toward” for the conversation

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    i dont know what the hell it is. i know im winning though, which is reason enough to maintain it. Curiously, there were no outbreaks of virtual poker hustlin card-sharkery follwing my similar overview of woody allen…


    I was gonna mention Monster, but i held back. and now its too late. BUT I RAISE YOU MOTHERFUCKER (i think that might be a quote from wheatley, possibly Devil Rides Out) on account of the following;

    Mona Lisa Smile – Kirsten stars alongside Julia Stiles, Julia Roberts and Maggie Gyllehall(who loses points on account of being the sibling of that Darko fucker who went ahead and put some hex of some sort on Kirsten) in a flick directed by MIKE NEWELL, who previously gave us Donnie Brasko starring Johnny Depp who is very handsome indeed, if slightly penalised (no pun intended) for being male, and also Pushing Tin with the similarly, um, pleasant John Cusack and Angelina Jolie, who i belive gets naked in the film in question, should that be your thing.

    Therefore, my Kirsten wins again.

    this is very complicated. i can’t help feeling SNAP would have been less draining.

  • Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    so what do i win?