Random Thoughts on Random Works......

10/4/01- Mr.Rice's Secret-David Bowie(akaDavid Jones)
When you think Bowie,you think space/fantasy/weirdness...not the case here. A well-made little
feel-good piece about cancer.   Really.  Sort of a Halloween/mystery vibe as well.....
love the punk tricked out in leather who stutters while grave-robbing!
10/17/01-Tex,the Passive-Aggressive Gunslinger-Bob Balaban
Delicious!! An old-west take on Bartleby the Scrivener--with a not-so-subtle poke at macho.
Ten minutes long,and makes the point,but you're sorry it's over.
10/18/01-Dream With the Fishes-David Arquette,Cathy Moriarty
Didja ever find a lost item,say,a watch,and think twice about returning it?
Didja secretly find/stalk the owner.....then,in the ensuing guilt,decide you should
die for doing it?Didja ever think a film peopled with junkies,tattoos and Jesus freaks
could be funny?Well,this guy did,and he did,and he did,and he did,and it IS!!!!!
This is what happens when Californians are allowed to roam unchecked.......
10/18/01-Shooting Fish-Kate Beckinsale,and-a-couple-guys-whose-names-you-
One simply doesn't see anything else when she's on-screen! Luminous,poised,yet
accessable,even pensive.But enough about me....this light romantic comedy is about
The Con--but it has all the other elements as well--the Girl,of course,and the Money,
the Robin Hood aspect that makes the Con permissable,even laudable,the Caper,the
Nasty Rich Guy,the Homeless Waif---yada,yada--thankfully,the Predictable Ending
doesn't stretch too long.Throw in some truly comic moments,and you have a film
worth your time......Hey! Don't put that in your mouth,you don't know where it's been......
10/22/01The House of Mirth-Gillian Anderson,Eric Stoltz,et al
It's ALL about the money.Every frame of this film,every set/location,every character, every turn
in the action---using it as a reference,it would be easy to argue that all things in life are
bought & sold,each being purchased in its own coin.Certainly happiness and security,even
friendship and morality,are liquid in this world. The problem is,Our Girl Lilly just doesn't
buy it (pardon the pun).Oh,she tries to fit in,she knows the rules,and plays well by them,
even managing to purchase her best friend's social standing from a would-be blackmailer,
in hard cash,while casting about for her own meal ticket.But her heart just isn't in it--in fact,
she's downright suspicious-she asks a knowing friend"Why is my future so much darker
when you show it to me?"
10/28/01The Mexican,Brad Pitt,Julia Roberts,Bob Balaban,cameo for Gene Hackman
I admit it-I sat down to watch a slick action film with a couple of  bankable smiles and a
'hey,it's only a movie' script.....boy,was I wrong.The slick part WAS the script--by turns
funny,painful,intriguing and subtle,then in-yer-face.....while all of it is interesting,
the hitman has the best lines---"When do you say 'enough is enough'...?"
The action is the same-unpredictable(mostly),and the direction is up to the material---
you will never look at a stoplight the same,if they can help it.
Hollywood done right,for a change--and nothing is more Hollywood than
a bankable smile,and a yarn that holds your attention.

So,you think I missed the point? Let's ARGUE about it!!!

10/30/01Blue Velvet,Kyle McLachlan,Isabella Rosselini,Dennis Hopper,
Laura Dern,Dean Stockwell
Interesting that this would happen to be the next entry--because the last film(The Mexican)
could never have been made,had this one not gone before it.For that matter,neither
could have Pulp Fiction,Get Shorty,or a raft of much has been made of this film,
I feel silly trying to add anything to the 'criticism' the typical review will do,
for those who may have been on some other planet for the last 15 years or so....
This film either launched or jump-started the careers of virtually everyone involved,director
David Lynch included.What's it about? Draw your own conclusions.Who's in it?
Hmm,a psycho/drug dealer/pervert,the girl-next-door,the boy-next-door,
a closet lounge singer,assorted freaks......
This film set a new standard for gratuitous use of the F word,but also included one
of my all-time favorite closing movie lines..."Life is strange,isn't it?"
Dean Stockwell lip-sync-ing to Roy Orbison is NOT to be missed! For that reason alone,
I knew it was cool,before the critics........
11/02/01Hendrix,Wood Harris,Billy Zane
First,let me just get this out of the a MUSICIAN,I found this film to be trite and
disappointing--it told me nothing I didn't already know,and left out HUGE chunks of
fact that could have added to the story---but hey,it's not a documentary.I should point out,
however,that in Eddie Kramer's book on this subject/era,(and he should know)
Chas Chandler was a much darker player,not the sympathetic guy here.......and I
GUARANTEE there were no Peavey speakers at the Montery Pop Festival.......
(insert snobbish tone HERE......)
Having said THAT---as a film buff,I found it entertaining,and(I should know)
a pretty even-handed treatment of said subject/era.Jimi was a guy who just wanted play,
and became big business while doing it.The pressure that came with it killed the joy
(and indeed the spirituality)he obviously felt about music.Pushed/pulled/led/forced
in too many directions,he escaped into self-pursuit and hedonisim,and it killed him.
11/12/01 Dead Simple-Daniel Stern,Patricia Richardson,James Caan
I couldn't STOP laughing at this one!!!
The story of   "...Frank.....Nobody! From Nowhere,Kansas!"    Y' see......he's got a
little motel at the 'Geographical Center of the United States',but he really wants to
be a Country Singer...goes to amateur night every week,but it's hard to compete
with the Sheriff playin' the spoons,an' he ain't gettin' NO help from that bitch wife o'his,
but her twin sister did loan'em the money for the motel.......until a well-known
Country Singer comes to town with his drunk girlfriend,when Fate steps in
to remove an obstacle or two,and give ole Frank a nudge in the right direction.....
Hell,he might make it to Branson yet!!! Daniel Stern overcomes type-casting
(at least MY type-casting) to show us a dumb-but-believable character.....most likley
a product of the West Coast view of anything east of Las Vegas,and west of New York.
Shot in Calgary,which does LOOK like Kansas-with one quibble for you Hollywood
guys into 'continuity' doesn't snow in tomato season,people.
Hey,it's all part of the fun....highly recommended.
11/15/01Gummo Hard to tell who the actors are.....
A slice-of-life in a Midwestern town--but it ain't Norman Rockwell,in fact,it's
downright SCARY. Mark Twain gone septic...with a soundtrack to match.
Example: after two boys repeatedly shoot BB's into a long-since-deceased cat,
another boy,wearing huge pink felt rabbit ears, carries it across a meadow,as
Roy Orbison sings 'Crying'.This has the feel of a documentary,in that you feel
as if you might know these people--every scene rings true.Especially the Mom holding
a toy pistol to her son's head,while wearing her dead husband's tap shoes...
like I said--SCARY.Worth the trip,if you can ignore the implication that Chinese
restaurants really DO serve cat.....or,just watch out for BB's.......