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The 5 minute feature film, volume 2: This World, Then the Fireworks

By Adam Lippe

Here is volume 2 of the 5 Minute Feature Film series, this time on Michael Oblowitz’s adaptation of Jim Thompson’s This World, Then the Fireworks. The 5 Minute Feature Film series is where I take a full length movie and cut it down to 5 minutes in length, re-score it, but tell basically the same story, while simultaneously analyzing the film. You can find part one here, where I made a 5 minute version of the Nicolas Cage/Nicole Kidman vehicle Trespass.

This World, Then the Fireworks, starring Billy Zane, Gina Gershon, Sheryl Lee, and Rue McClanahan, is a very post-modern look at film noir, like a David Lynch film, but with less consistency of vision (I uploaded the original EPK for the film on Youtube which hammers home that point even more). I reviewed the film here, and by reading that piece, you’ll understand my editing choices. What’s most interesting is that because of Oblowitz’s style, and how it would eventually completely reveal itself on the two Steven Seagal DTV movies he made (Out for a Kill and The Foreigner), the opening montage of This World, Then the Fireworks which sets up the tone of the film and the entire story, is practically incoherent. It’s cut so quickly and in such a flashy manner that there’s very little way to take in the important information, so, despite cutting a 100 minute film down to 5 minutes, I actually had to slow down the opening montage to make sure you could understand what was going on. The rest of the movie is less rushed, though it still has a twitchy nature to it, and my editing was aided by the broad performances and theatrical gestures by Zane, Gershon, and especially Lee.

The music you’ll hear in this Five Minute Feature is from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathetique and Django Reinhardt’s Bouncin’ Around.

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Now on DVD and Blu-Ray


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.