Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Aguy comes in from out of town. He doesn't have a past - at least not one he wants to talk about. He gets a job in a used-car lot. It's one of those typical small towns from the movies of the 1940s and 1950s, the kind of backwater where the other guy on the job is a nerd, and the boss is a blowhard with a bum ticker - but the boss' wife is this great broad with blond hair and big eyelashes and when she gets up in the morning she puts on her negligee just when the other women in town are taking theirs off. Oh, and the bookkeeper at work is this innocent young girl who is intimidated, for mysterious reasons, by the vicious creep who lives in a shack outside of town.
I feel at home in movies like "The Hot Spot." They come out of that vast universe formed by the historic meeting of B movies and the idea of film noir - films about the soft underbelly of the human conscience.
There are certain conventions to be observed, and "The Hot Spot" knows them and observes them. The hero has to smoke and look laconic and be trying to suppress something in his past. It helps if he drives a Studebaker. The boss' wife has to have learned all of her moves by studying old movies. The plot has to provide that the bad guys don't commit all of the crimes; the hero, for example, robs the bank.
Dennis Hopper, who directed "The Hot Spot," grew up in the movies at a time when films like this were familiar - back in the days when there was time for luxuries like a supporting cast and a plot, back before high-tech violence and machinegun editing came to dominate crime movies. As an actor, he was directed by such film noir veterans as Nicholas Ray and Henry Hathaway. And maybe his sensibility is attuned to this kind of material, to the notion that an ordinary guy can stumble into some pretty strange stuff. The movie has been compared in some quarters with the work of David Lynch, but it's less self-hating and more stylistically exuberant.