Buffalo ’66

By Adam Lippe

buffalo66-08Vincent 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.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.