Monday, May 14, 2012
Insane Clown Posse
De Iglesia's previous efforts include 800 Bullets and the adaptation of one of my very favorite Barry Gifford novellas Perdita Durango. The film (I've seen it called Perdita Durango as well as Dance With the Devil) holds the distinction of besting The Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men efforts to cast Javier Bardem as a bad man in a silly hairdo.
Of course, it also features Rosie Perez as the titular Durango, which was perhaps more accurate casting than Isabella Rossellini in the role, but Ms. Rossellini all Frida Kahlo'd out in David Lynch's Wild at Heart, holds a special place in my heart. No doubt, Lynch's take on Gifford's material is every bit of aggressively stylized as de Iglesia's, but there's a quicker emotional access to the characters in Lynch's execution for me. And I don't think it's just the repeated viewings I've given Wild at Heart - I think Lynch's hard pushing just knocked me off balance and terrified me more than de Iglesia's did. Still, I'd like to revisit The Last Circus and Dance With the Devil.
While we're on the topic of stylized film adaptations, I'm heading to Chicago for the May 29 screening of Julian Grant's Fuckload of Scotch Tape which he found inspiration for in a couple short stories of mine. I've seen a rough cut of the film and can say that he's taken my material as a launching point for his own fever dream noirsical scored by Kevin Quain. I'm really looking forward to hanging with the cast and crew and being able to give Julian a big ol' kiss. And if you're in Minneapolis this week you can catch Paul von Stoetzel's short film Viscosity on Wednesday. You should. I feel so honored to have such talented film makers adapting my stuff.
Apparently CSI Miami was just cancelled, leaving room for something new and original on network TV! Buuuut, I'm not holding my breath. I'm predisposed to like projects featuring David Caruso, (First Blood, King of New York, Session 9, Mad Dog & Glory, Cold Around the Heart, Jade - even Hudson Hawk) but not even his presence could entice me to tune in for a single episode of that crime-solving monster hit. However this handy little montage helped me understand the whole show.
Last week at Ransom Notes I dropped a few thoughts on the muy excellent The Wowzer by Frank Wheeler Jr. and spun off into an appreciation of Casey Affleck's killer Ford roles - Lou in The Killer Inside Me and Robert in The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, which then got me all hot for Andrew Dominik's Jesse James follow up, Killing Them Softly (adapted from George V. Higgins' Cogan's Trade). I've heard a lot of people recently refer to Jesse James as a flawed film, but I think theys off theys rockers. While I'll concede that it's a meandering, dreamy film, I'd say Terrence Malick's are too and you need to hit 'em in the right mood, but damn this one'll hit you back. And talk about your dream fucking casts - aside from Affleck and Brad Pitt, this flick gives you Sam Shephard, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Schneider, Mary Louise Parker, Zooey Deschanel, and even fuckin' Nick Cave (yup, now I'm thinking about Lawless again).
You know what else that movie had going for it? One of the most brilliantly executed gun fights ever. You know the one I mean - between Renner, Schneider and Affleck. Holy crap, that was intense. Racking my brain now to come up with a few more in books or film that have hit me like that one. Hmmm... Sticking with westerns for the hell of it, I'd say the climactic battle and easily the highlight of Dwight Yoakam's curious South of Heaven, West of Hell, perhaps the big number in Ed Harris's Appaloosa and how about Slim Pickens getting his in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Non-westerns include just about the polar opposite, but equally real-feeling outside the bank shootout from Michael Mann's Heat, or how about anything from Dennis Tafoya's books Dope Thief and The Wolves of Fairmount Park or the showstopping mayhem in a snake-handling Pentecostal service in Peter Farris's Last Call For the Living? I've been thrilled by plenty of well choreographed and edited shoot-outs, but these stand out to me as frightening put-you-inside-the-action pieces worthy of mention.