hing to touch France in its food and wines, in the range of its landscape and lingerie, but at least it had the decency to be dreadful at something. French pop music was one of the most enduring of European fiascoes, and, even for the severest Francophile, the success of M. Hallyday was hard to explain away. Moreover, just to twist the knife, he appeared to be eternal, smiling bleakly from every issue of Paris-Match since the founding of the Fifth Republic. And now look what happens. He turns up in a movie, and he's great. It's all true. One reason I always groan at Jerry Lewis jokes is that they miss the eternal golden opportunity that is Johnny (pronounced on a first-name-only, reverential basis as Zhunny!). You think the word "Bush" makes the French turn irrational? Try telling any Frog between the ages 15 and 100 that Zhunny is a laughable, embarrassing, sub-Karel Gott of a caricature ... and they'll be on you like young Marseilles men on an empty town square during a weekday. And, just like Anthony Lane says, Zhunny is flat terrific in the good new movie, Man on a Train, which we saw last night. Here's an L.A. Times profile on Zhunny, here's Elvis Mitchell's review of Man on a Train ... and here's Emmanuelle's take.

Posted by at May 9, 2003 03:40 PM
Comments

Anyone who can *finish* the Dakar rally has my respect, regardless of the silliness of his music.

Posted by: Kevin Wenzel at May 10, 2003 10:01 AM

He was terrific in another movie a couple of years ago. I don't remember the French title, but it translated to "Love Me" in English. A pretentious, silly movie but he was very good playing himself.

Posted by: kid charlemagne at May 14, 2003 04:52 AM
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