I’ve spoken ad nauseam about why I feel the definition of what is noir should not be confined to the mean streets of a rain swept metropolis so we are just going to skip right over that and get down to the gristle. Jed Ayres asked me for a list of my top five noir films and I decided to stay on brand and deliver a list of my favorite noir films that take place along dusty backroads and in the shadow of weeping willows and cornfields where both blood and moonshine are spilled across the rich dark soil.
Flash forward twenty years and Arlis finds himself drawn into the life of Kay, played by Quaid’s real-life wife at the time, Meg Ryan. Kay seems to be as battered and bruised by life as Arlis and the two slowly find themselves drawn together. Soon the unwelcome reappearance of Roy with his teenage paramour Ginnie in tow (played by a pre-pretentious Gwyneth Paltrow) and some deep dark secrets threatens to reduce Arlis and Kay to a pile of flesh and bone. The movie isn’t high art and it was a bomb at the box office but there is something tragically operatic and emotionally resonant in this cruel little morality play set against the sand swept Texas flat lands.
in a previous issue of HBW but suffice it to say it is my favorite rural noir film because it’s one of the few that contrast the traditional noir setting of the beginning of the film with the pastoral prosaic settings of the finale. One False Move tells the tale of a trio of drug dealers who rob a stash house in LA and go on the run. They find themselves in the small hometown of the female member of their trio where secrets and violence collide like freight trains on the same track. Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Beach and the late great Bill Paxton are among the standouts in this incredible movie by Carl Franklin from a scrip by Thornton. Find it. Watch. Thank me later.
My Darkest Prayer and the upcoming Blacktop Wasteland. You should buy that shit and follow him on Twitter @BlackLionKing73.