Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The original killer couple

I watched Badlands last night. Starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacik (who is either very beautiful or just plain weird looking, depending on the angle), it was the first film to deal with the case of Charles Starkweather and his gal Caril, who took to the road on a teenage kill spree. The first, but certainly not the last. You can also see Starkweather in the films Natural Born Killers, Wild at Heart and True Romance (which contains some direct homage to Badlands).

By coincidence, I happen to have re-watched each of these movies over the past month. I'd say that True Romance is the best of them, based on an incredible cast (supporting actors include Dennis Hopper, James Gandolfini, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and Brad Pitt ... can any film beat that? None I can think of outside Glengary Glen Ross, maybe). It also has one of the top ten film scenes of all time, the confrontation between Hopper and Walken about Sicilian heritage ... penned by Quentin Tarrintino.

Badlands is not a bad film at all. A quiet, introspective '70s era crime film, and an oblique character study. At the same time, its hints of killer celebrity and teens gone bad are perhaps too subtle compared to the films that came after it.

Natural Born Killers is one of my favorite flawed movies of all time. At times, it's trully thrilling. If Oliver Stone had had the stones (pardon me) to go for it and just make one of the all time great exploitation films, he could have done it (I imagine it's what Quentin T., who also penned this script, would have done). But noooo ... Stone has to get all meaningful and important. Violence in movies is fun, Ollie ... and that's good enough.

Wild at Heart is just plain bad, despite a few great moments that any David Lynch film will have. Nick Cage gives a truly horrible performance (the fact that it was intentional doesn't get it off the hook). What the fuck are all those Wizard of Oz references doing in there?

So, here's my advice ... Own True Romance and Natural Born Killers, rent Badlands and stay away from Wild at Heart. Also, don't go on kill-crazy rampages with your sweetheart, no matter how much you love them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This means we are officially broken up. You're never any fun.


12:34 PM  

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