by Dane Youssef
Well, now here's one that feels like doesn't just feel like another machine-made piece from off the assembly line. Here is a movie that feels like it has it's own ideas, thoughts, edges and all.
The studio execuives didn't dig their claws into this one, sucking all the nerve and originality out of it just to make it inoffensive and more filt for mass consumption.
All the more making this a move that's really worth seeing for those who don't like movies that just connect-the-dots and paint-by-numbers. In other words, a movie that desperately needs to exist. And be seen.
A bizzare combo protein-shake of black comedy, thriller and horror show, this is one of those Slow Saturday Night cult films that the weirdo clerk behind the counter is always personally recommending for those customers who ae kind of like his pals.
"Very Bad Things" is a film that plays out like a worse-case scenerio. One of those movies that puts a group of relative people in a situation where everything that can possibly go wrong... does. Hopefully, with results that translate to a good movie.
I found the movie to work on multiple levels. As an angry, aggressive, and assertive male-bonding comedy. As a thriller. As a white-knuckle, nail-biting action film. As a nightmare.
Writer/Director Peter Berg remarks he came up with the idea for this movie when he was at a bachelor party and saw the rowdy and over-the-top behavior from a lot of the other guests. These guys were looking for trouble, he said. What would happen if they found it? More than they could handle.
The movie is all-over-the-map, but I like that about it. Berg sets up some cynical suburbanites and their rowdy behavior and puts them in several life-or-death situations, which despite what many say, is thrilling to watch.
Christian Slater gives the strongest performance as the devil-may-care Robert Boyd, a man who seems to have no moral threshold. We never doubt his actions for a second. Slater knows how to play this character as plays him to the hilt.
Daniel Stern plays his usual nebbish. From the "City Slickers" movies, the "Home Alone" movies and all his others, he's appropriately nervous and uneasy--especially after what's occurring right now. There's are massive murders bobbing up and the body count is still rising.
Cameron Diaz is also effective doing an evil turn on the wedding-obsessed loon she was in "My Best Friend's Wedding" as a woman who doesn't care about anything else but having her big day. As far as she's concerned, the guests and the groom are secondary. She nitpicks and she bullies and berates. Many guys see this as the epitome of the woman who's about to have her big day.
Jon Faverau isn't as "money" as he's been in other roles, but maybe that's because he's supposed to be the straight man. He's a little too straight. Too stiff. You kind of wish they had spiced him up some more. He appears to just be in shock and going along with the flow most of the time, like a tag-along.
The movie plays out as a dark comedic thriller and at times a morality tale. What I like the most is the anarchy of the film and the performance of Christian Slater and especially the different ways the men and women in the movie react to him.
Watch for his scene with Tripplehorn when they go one-on-one. The homages to "Good Fellas" and "Reservior Dogs" are cute and memorable too.
Like I said before, this is a must-see for anyone who hates generic, paint-by-numbers movies. If this sounds like your cup of tea (and it damn well should), you're someone after my own heart. Then THIS is a must-see.
Next time you're at the video store looking for a movie with huevos that hit hard (but don't worry, not down there exactly)...
--One Very Wild Movie and Satisfied Customer, Dane Youssef