Grogflog returns. And returns to its original mission statement as well. Which was not just to say good things about good movies, but also bad things about bad movies as well. And “The Brown Bunny" is very very bad indeed. Not even in a “so bad it’s good way” or superbad dogz! or bad in a way that challenges conventional wisdom. It’s just bad - and bad in a way that really leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and the mind.
(2003. Wan colour. Script: Vincent Gallo. Direction: Vincent Gallo. Cinematography: Vincent Gallo. Score: Vincent Gallo. Producer: Vincent Gallo. Set design: Vincent Gallo. Costume: Vincent Gallo. Makeup: Vincent Gallo. Hair: Vincent Gallo. Catering: Vincent Gallo, etc, etc)
I thought I should finally check this one out because of the various controversies surrounding it. Like getting booed at Cannes (well OK, that sounds interesting) and Chloe Sevigny sucking the Gallo genitalia for real in front of the camera (which sounds like a refreshing change from doing it to get in front of the camera).
The IMDB synopsis blandly states: “Professional motorcycle racer Bud Clay heads from New Hampshire to California to race again. Along the way he meets various needy women who provide him with the cure to his own loneliness, but only a certain woman from his past will truly satisfy him.”
There is however a twist at the end which I won’t spoil, mainly because the nearly two hours of utter bloody tedium leading up to it will do that first.
I can handle cryptic narratives that never quite knit themselves together, deal with viewpoints that take me outside my comfort zone, appreciate the subtle nuances of emotionally allusive landscapes and don’t automatically equate lack of technical flair with lack of good storytelling.
But "The Highway Hare" commits the ultimate filmmaking sin. It’s as fuckin' boring as
batshit rabbit poo.
At least fifty percent of the screen time is taken up by Vincent brooding over his rugged looks in the rear view mirror as he drives through the dullest bits of the American Midwest and Southwest.
The women he meets along the way are given desultory parts that require them to be irresistibly and unthinkingly drawn to this magnetically monosyllabic loner on his odyssey of the soul across the lower 48.
The hand-held, grainy 16mm blown up to 35mm cinematography and crackling ambient sound-heavy audio are trying very hard to signal this is like real, man, it’s like the authentic voice of a damaged poetic soul. It makes your teeth hurt to watch how he strains to make it look like the kinda film he's not actually making.
Do you really reckon a quite soigne and MILFy indeed Cheryl Tiegs, while leaving a gas station, would spontaneously initiate a, like just like real life dude, heart to heart conversation with some strange, mumbling and utterly uncharismatic ferret in a leather jacket that looks like it was bartered for a gram of bad speed? The whole scene played like a bad porn setup without the actual bad porn. That pretty much sums up the whole "The Road Rabbit" experience in toto for me.
Well perhaps Vince does have hidden charms. If you’ve got a spare 50K, why not find out for yourself? Ladies only though. And naturally born too. I’d like to think he was tongue in cheek with that offer but judging from "The Bronze Beast” I suspect he really thinks he’s a walking wet dream. Which maybe he is, but only in his shaky, grainy, blown-up hands.
And yes, the blowjob scene with Chloe? Short, frank, utterly unerotic, no pop shot and as hamfistedly and coyly faux naturalistic as the rest of the flick.
To be fair, some of the on the road scenes did capture a certain vibe about motoring through the USA which I enjoyed for the first 30 seconds or so. But really I found this flick as tedious as watching some inner city adland hipster carefully shape his facial hair for 119 minutes to look like a street desperado. A truly pretentious art film pretending it’s not. Which is far worse than other way around.
It's such bad faith in all senses of the phrase. Implicitly claiming to be emotionally real and so powerful because of its studied cruddiness yet quite unable to deliver any believable characters, interesting story or creative va-va-voom. The perfect mirror image of some honestly shitty straight to DVD movie that knows it's not much chop but hopes you'll get a kick, and they'll get a dollar, out of some hearty exploitation of base human desires.
Did I mention "The Lurid Lupine" is also just bad in the classic sense of the word? Bad. Narcissist newt waste nodules. Preening poodle hemroids in fitful motion. Really bad. I'd feed the master reel and its creator to a feral pig if I could possibly find one willing to stoop that low and open up that wide. It's bad. Complete crap really.
The most entertaining thing to come out of “Vincent Does Himself” was a great exchange of insults after Roger Ebert shitcanned it.
Vincent: “Ebert is a fat pig with the physique of a slave trader.”
Roger: "One day I will be thin, but Vincent Gallo will always be the director of The Brown Bunny."
Vincent: “I put a hex on your colon and hope you die of cancer.”
Roger: “Enduring a colonoscopy would be more entertaining than watching The Brown Bunny”
Vincent: “I was misquoted. I meant his prostrate.”
If only the flick itself had such quality dialogue.
GrogFlog’s verdict: “I'm not going to be okay, Bud.” 1 out of 10 rabbit droppings.
Coming soon: Look, I will write about this amazing Oliver Reed flick soon, I promise. Or hands up anyone for a Phantasm retrospective with The Tall Man as guest commentator. And also an elephant stamp* for any one who can pick this fillum quote: “Our complaints are brief. We make them against the nearest wall.”
*Competition not open to Aftergrogblog employees and their families.