In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb large ouygaatyh4jzithj6fi3uyf31ri

Wonder

You’ll shed a tear or two—especially if you’re a parent—and they’ll be totally earned.

Thumb mv5bztg3yteznjytzty2ns00yjnmltlhnjutzti2m2e5ndi4m2njxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzi3mdezmzm . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 675 1000 al

Mudbound

The film invites us to observe its characters, to hear their inner voices, to see what they see and to challenge our own preconceived notions…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Kicked In The Head

  |  

"Kicked in the Head'' is one of those movies where you wish the story was about the supporting characters. Three of them are worthy of features of their own: Uncle Sam (James Woods), the hero's con-man relative; Megan (Linda Fiorentino), an airline attendant who has an enigmatic one-night stand with the hero, and Stretch (Michael Rapaport), a self-styled beer distribution czar.

In a generally underwritten (and yet too talky) movie, these New Yorkers are so intriguing, we want to know more about them. Unfortunately, the movie isn't about them. It involves some days in the life of Redmond (Kevin Corrigan), an aimless young man who spends a lot of his time writing bad poetry about the meaning of life.

Advertisement

The plot, such as it is, involves Uncle Sam sending Redmond to drop off some cocaine at a subway stop. Cocaine is of course the handiest McGuffin of our time; introduce it into a plot, and you don't have to explain motivations. The dope drop turns into a gun battle in which countless shots are fired, but nobody is hit, and then Redmond embarks on an odyssey that takes him into the orbits of Stretch (who runs "Stretch's Beer-o-Rama'') and Jack (Burt Young), the guy who gave Uncle Sam the cocaine. (Young's character has a great line, even though it is not remotely plausible: "I like organized--with a `g,' like in `phlegm.' '') The nearest thing to a sustained relationship takes place between Redmond and Megan, a woman he sees crying on a train, and hopes to console. Fiorentino plays the character as a milder version of her man-eater in "The Last Seduction". Wary, wounded and cynical, she sleeps with Redmond for reasons having little to do with the plot and much to do, perhaps, with Kevin Corrigan, who co-wrote the screenplay, wanting to give himself a good scene.

Well, there is a good scene (at an airline bar), but when Fiorentino exits, our interest leaves, too, because we care about her, not him. That's true all through the movie, as the colorless Redmond plays straight man to Stretch (Rapaport does some hilarious riffs on the glories of beer distribution), Woods ("This is my dentist's car. He asked me to watch it for him'') and Burt Young's Russian hit man (who carefully looks up menacing threats in his phrase book).

I've seen the film twice, and there's one scene that played differently the two times. It's a long dialogue exchange between Redmond and Stretch, at the beer depot. It's clear the scene is semi-improvised, and there were times when Rapaport seemed to be smiling inappropriately, going out of character to let us see the actor playing with the process. That bothered me the first time, but not the second, because by then I knew the characters weren't as interesting as the actors struggling with the material.

Popular Blog Posts

Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies

Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Tears of a Machine: The Humanity of Luv in "Blade Runner 2049"

No character in “Blade Runner 2049” is more relatably human than Luv.

“Call of Duty” and “Wolfenstein” Redefine the Modern WWII Game

A review of two of the biggest games of 2017, a pair that use World War II in very different ways.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus