Posts Tagged ‘ john lurie ’

The Loveless

the lovelessdafoeFor the past couple weeks I’ve been slowly working my way through the work of director Kathryn Bigelow, whose latest film, The Hurt Locker, has been garnering major praise (I haven’t seen it myself). To be honest, her work left me fairly underwhelmed, but it wasn’t for lack of variety; she’s definitely not a director who works exclusively in just one or two genres. Have a look around Acme and see for yourself: she has a film each in Horror, Sci-Fi, Indy, War, and Juvee, plus three more in thriller (those three are easily the worst of the bunch: Blue Steel is Jamie Lee Curtis doing the female cop thing, with a god-awful Ron Silver as her crazed lover/nemesis; K-19: The Widowmaker is Harrison Ford doing his best Russian accent in the face of one of the most expensive independent films ever made — over $100 million, of which it failed to recoup even half; and then there’s Point Break, which needs no synopsis). All that being said, y’all should really check out her first feature-length, The Loveless.

This was Willem Dafoe’s first film, playing the young leader of a biker gang on their way to Daytona who get waylaid in a small, Podunk southern town. I haven’t seen too many films — especially low-budget, independent films — that have gotten the ’50s biker-flick look so right, and Bigelow deserves major credit for that. The bikes, the cars, the costumes and the sets — everything looks exactly as it should, and it’s all topped off with a totally kickass rockabilly score with original stuff from Robert Gordon and John Lurie. But this isn’t just your typical biker-gang-wreaks-havoc flick, as Bigelow punctuates the film with all manner of disconcerting images: from the boredom and malaise on the faces of the local help, to the vaguely-illegal oil business run by town’s antagonistic alpha-male, to the punchy, nervous atmosphere of the bar in the film’s final scene. Working with just a few set pieces, the photography is thoughtful and consistently original, and Bigelow does a wonderful job of insinuating a great deal about the pain of characters’ lives without beating you over the head with any of it. Dafoe’s performance is the real stunner — and even more so given his age and inexperience. Watching him, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to Brando’s early stuff, as he plays the role with a remarkable softness that belies the intensity of his character. Young ‘uns only familiar with the man from his Spiderman role would do well to seek this one out.

sons of lee marvin

lee-marvinThere purportedly exists a “secret” society, founded by the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, called The Sons Of Lee Marvin. Rumors abound as to the club’s official roster and raison d’être. Tom Waits and John Lurie (who currently grace this site’s header) are widely believed to be members, along with (possibly) Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, Josh Brolin and Neil Young. The sole criterion for admission is said to be that one must bear some kind of physical resemblance to the actor Lee Marvin himself. For my money, the resemblance is fairly strong for all of the above names, but do a Google image search and judge for yourself.

Of course, several of the club’s members have a professional history with Jarmusch, which can’t have hurt the case for their candidacy. Both John Lurie and Tom Waits have worked on several of Jarmusch’s films, including Stranger Than Paradise (Lurie), Down By Law (Lurie and Waits), Mystery Train (Waits), Night On Earth (Waits), Coffee And Cigarettes (Waits). And Waits acted opposite Iggy Pop in one of Coffee And Cigarettes‘s better segments, (Pop also has an awesomely fucked-up, flippant, cross-dressing turn in Jarmusch’s masterpiece, Dead Man (which Neil Young scored)). Jarmusch’s Year Of The Horse documentary on Neil & Crazy Horse is pretty great, too. Where Nick Cave, Thurston Moore and Josh Brolin fit in to this web isn’t immediately clear, though each of them is certainly familiar with the film industry.

For his part, Marvin acted in dozens of movies and TV shows throughout his career, Gorky Park, Prime Cut and Cat Ballou (for which he won an Oscar) among them. Come by the store and ask Ralph if he can recommend some others.