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Hurlyburly

 

Fine Line Features is proving to be quite a little powerhouse of independent/large name films. The latest, Hurlyburly, follows through with their theme of "not for the masses, but look who we got to star in it anyway!" films.

Hurlyburly was a Off-Broadway sensation in the eighties. Though edited down slightly for the screen, it is still a voyeurs dream; spying on what real nasty little boys get up to late at night with a little freedom, some weed, and a coupla grams. It's a kind of Swimming with Sharks (another Spacey delight) but there are four Buddy Akerman’s and we get to spend a couple of years with them. They are not nice, but don't seem to care. The conversations are fabulous—and endless. Remember how extroverted and insightful you got when you were riding that "white train" of thought? Cocaine can make you so concerned about the secrets of the universe and unraveling the mysteries of life, when in reality you could barely tie your shoes you were so high? Oh, those nights of endless circuitous yammering, when you thought you absolutely could teach Einstein a thing or two. Er...uh...so, I have heard tell.

Sean (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) Penn is astoundingly believable. Penn plays Eddie a motor-mouthed, self-absorbed sinisterly mustachioed, wretched soul casting agent, who fears he can’t feel love. Sad really. But, writer David Rabe keeps him just gross enough so you really can't feel bad for him. If this was Sandra Bullock, the audience would have been crying every other scene "poor kid" and "that’s awful" and such. Eddie even while oozing his soul, is thinking about—oral sex. Such a guy to the tenth power. Pay close attention to his verbal diarrhea as it is quite funny and often riddled with borderline intellect—well, cocaine style intellect—fast and frenzied (I clocked his jaw doin’ 90 mph).

Kevin (Does this Haircut Make my Face Look Big?) Spacey is Eddie’s sauve "best friend" and business partner, Mickey. He's quite a piece of work. One eye perpetually roaming the tundra for his next conquest, the other plays nurse maid to dear Eddie ,who has almost a spouse-like attachment to him. The character of Mickey scared me. As rude and crass as he was in private—he was equally as sexual and jumpable in public (note to self: beware of smooth taliking well dressed Spacey like gents...nah). Be real, I'd do ‘im in a nano second. Yet another primo performance in the can by Mr. Spacey—not that I'm biased either.

Chazz (Dick Tracy Character Faced Man) Palminteri is Phil. A violent, delusional loser dude. We all know him. A dreamer without a clue. Eddie keeps him around to feel superior in his little fishbowl life. Chazz is another exceptional actor. Rent anything with his name—you'll like it. (Okay maybe not that hideous Sly Stallone 'comedy' about the mob...can't think of the name. Forgive Chazz. He really is tremendously talented) He positively shines in this!

Garry (Wax Lips) Shandling blew me away. His character, Arty, was so Hollywood. Calm and slithering. Clueless to his immoral ways. Shandling is a natural. He really held his own with Penn in a particularly great confrontation through a glass table. (Kudos to cinematographer Changwei Gu.) I really hope to see more of the '"serious actor" Garry Shandling.

Robin (I'm a Better Wife to Sean Than Madonna) Wright Penn as Darlene, was authentic as Eddie's main squeeze and conquest of Mickey. Ok, she sleeps with Eddie and Mickey; but if Mickey looked like Spacey, who could resist? Who I ask ya? And besides, it’s Hollywood. ‘Nuff said?

Meg (Great Hair) Ryan, finally sheds her Miss Nicey Nice demeanor. Don't expect the usual apple pie performance here. She's a "friend" of Eddies who comin’ by to play wit da boys...literally. Now let’s see—oral sex costs x amount, straight sex is x amount—but what’s the price of being thrown out of a car? I never did see her get paid! I love Meg, and I'm thrilled to see her depth.

Anna (Still a Baby) Paquin is a scene stealer. Wow! She was awesome as a runaway without the chance of even getting a menial job. You quickly adjust to the fact she's just a lost soul and Artie (Shandling) the peddling pedophile, who wants her to walk his dogs, seems like an odd savior. Hey, it’s a couch in Hollywood Hills or an LA sidewalk.

Danger Will Robinson: There’s a guy singing at a funeral scene (I won’t tell you whose funeral) that makes you want to lock and load.

Hurlyburly is a lot of fun. No huge plot, just a chance to see one of the finest conversational films made, performed by a few of the finest actors in Hollywood. True HB would not have been so intriguing if it were not for these stellar people. But lucky for all of us IT WAS. Myr favorite line from the movie and one I can really relate to: "Everything is distracting." Excuse me...the phone's ringing...

Snack recommendation: Week-old Hostess Sno-balls, curlded milk, moldy oranges.

Written by: David Rabe

Directed by: Anthony Drazen

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Meg Ryan, Chazz Palminteri, Garry Shandling.

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