Vincent Gallo dared to put a truly irritating character in the center of the film, unsympathetic in so many ways, mix it with deadpan humor and surrealism (such as the beautiful Ricci dance at the bowling alley), deliberately over the top acting such as Ben Gazarra and Angelica Huston as his parents, shot the film on negative stock, which explains why it has that striking look, and focusing on mumbling, formerly glamorous stars like Mickey Rourke and Jan-Michael Vincent. I think the point with the casting of the last two was to pay respects to them, as well as show us how easily “beauty” can be taken away, both within the public’s eye, and how one can do it to themselves, which is a nod to Gallo’s own short career as a Guess Jeans model. This is more in tune with the themes of the film, especially with regards to misdirected anger and loss (and how Rourke and Vincent abused themselves). Gallo didn’t seem that interested with organizing any of it, so it’s kind of all over the place, but there is a sweet poignancy in the build-up of his conversations with Kevin Corrigan, especially as he eventually excuses Corrigan’s “slowness” almost in an attempt to explain his own mental instability. And you’re unlikely to see so much mannered and wildly different styles of acting outside of an Abel Ferrara film.
While I find the movie hilarious and a strange, flawed masterpiece, I can see why less patient and forgiving viewers might be a little irked by its lack of un-self-conscious self-consciousness and how the whole film feels like an anachronism.