Gay '90's, he WAS and still IS indie cinema. Reservoir Dogs, In the Soup, Fargo, the list goes on and on. I think his best work was as Buscemi in 1995's Desperado. I understand he barely beat out Willem Dafoe for the part.
And so, bearing all that in mind, even though I'm barely not myself, we've got Saint John of Las Vegas. There's two things you have to know about Steve Buscemi: 1) he gets beat up a lot in movies... and hard. And 2) he's not usually the leading man. He's usually the best friend, or the funny-looking guy who gets put into a woodchipper. This film violates both rules. I guess I hate to admit it, but the film succeeds despite violating these rules. And, arguably, Boardwalk Empire, for that matter. Too much change in this world. I can't take it.
On to the plot. I dare not spoil too much of the plot out of respect, but let me just say that I couldn't help but agree with the black dude's points at the end of the movie. It's a bit of a buddy pic. The film keeps its indie cred by making the buddies not like each other. Romany Malco, well... I can't tell if he had fun with the part, but he did have a presence. As an actor, he's not a fraud. My viewing companion really liked Peter Dinklage as the boss, and damn it, so did I. I just hope he didn't have to spend time with a lot of slimy, greasy people like that in order to research the role. And let me just say this about Sarah Silverman... why her? Nobody else could do that role? Why?
I understand that Buscemi wasn't the first pick for the lead, but Willem Dafoe was unavailable at the time. Must've been working on Antichrist at the time. When are Dafoe and Buscemi going to make that buddy road pic together? You know, the one about having to get a wax statue of Elvis from Vegas to Graceland in 48 hours. The only way they can get it there, however, and here's the twist... they have to drive it in a powder-blue '57 Chevy... sorry, I segued into casting there. The plot. The plot involves investigation of a car accident. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by saying that it turns into a labyrinthine plot that verges slightly into shaggy-dog territory. But somehow I got the feeling that writer/director Hue Rhodes didn't have enough faith in the material on its own merits. It needed a little more skin. The car accident victim is a stripper. We get shots of Romany Malco flanked by a group of about five or six strippers. There's a long pitstop at a carnival for some reason. The colony of nudist Luddite Second-Amendmenters is somewhat original, but they're still nudists. And, of course, the whole story's told in flashback.
Let me just say this in defense of solar power. The boys make a habit of sleeping in the car overnight. They end up in front of a bank of solar panels. The solar panels end up blinding them as the sun rises. I don't think that would happen, and I mean getting blinded by solar panels at ground level, let alone being able to just drive up to them like that. Solar panels are getting stolen off houses now! There's going to at least be a fence around a big installation like that.
That's all I can remember about STJL at the moment. I'm hoping to procure a copy on DVD pretty soon, as I want to study the stripper scenes a little more closely. Of course, Windows is putting the kibosh on watching DVDs on your computer. Pressure from big Hollywood, I guess. DAMN YOU, WINDOWS! I'll have to switch to Linux now.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan