Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything and More, July 19, 2002
This review is from: Trees Lounge [VHS] (VHS Tape)
There are few roles Steve can pick up that he can't enhance. In bit parts, as in Floundering or Wedding Singer, or when in the driver's seat as in Fargo and Living in Oblivion, the man has the presence of a decimal point in a twenty digit equation: He's the smallest entity there, both physically and supposedly in importance. But the man, like the dot, carries the sum. No other actor short of Dustin Hoffman has this kind of charisma in such an, at first glance, unprepossessing package. Like Dusty, Steve is amazing.
But he's typecast, isn't he: He's good looking for an oddball, and he's got impeccable comic timing and the sort of fey delivery most stand up comics would kill for. Hmm, let's make him a pitiful comic foil to every virile, obnoxious hero out there. That, it seems to me, is what Hollywood does with idiosyncratic talent: Gives it a donut, and tells it to act weird.
So: He picked up one more cinematic onus, and became both director and star, with sensational results. Buscemi's performance is one factor in the success, the supporting cast holds a sizable portion of the credit, the plotline is taut as a cliff diver's nerves. It's an unique concept: A comic foil new to the director's chair, upstaging the men who threw him pell-mell into Armaegeddon by simply making a GOOD MOVIE.
Credibility makes the difference. Every character in this opus is vibrant: Chloe Sevigny's Debbie has a youthful, homely-beautiful role in the deterioration of the man we're looking for: One Tommy Basilio, a grimy mechanic around whom every other character orbits, from the knot-on-the-stool Mike (Mark Boone Jr.) to whom Old Crow takes priority over wife and kids, to Carol Kane's smart aleck bar keep. Kevin Corrigan is typically remarkable in a bit part as Matthew, son of Uncle Al as played by Symour Cassel (remember Rushmore? Another favorite.) He and Steve saw action together in the hapless-film-makers flick L.I.O. Anthony LaPaglia is staid as Rob, who robbed with Tommy's woman. (Sidenote: He also stole Blanche from Mr. Penn in Sweet and Lowdown-Friggin' thief!) The movie is tight and orderly, a by-the-book but still intriguing look at substance abuse and every ramification of all those shots and cocaine breaks. And whomever culled together that soundtrack deserves a scholarship to Julliard on the grounds of taste alone-Ink Spots, Bachman Turner Overdrive (not so crazy for that one, but...). And Hayden! Hayden, I say!
This is an example of what I like to see: Ingenious, energetic indie film-making. Every time I see a movie like Trees Lounge, Palookaville, Buffalo '66, Living in Oblivion, et al, I feel refreshed with the knowledge that cinema, like literature, never dies: It simply goes into periodic comas, and emerges even stronger and more unflappable than before.
So, whomever funded Armaegeddon: Leave. Buy a Rolling Stone and keep dreaming of Alexander Hamilton and Oscar nominations. For the men or women responsible for movies like this: Were I Pope, you'd all be canonized.
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Location: Katy Texas

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