With his mother (Anjelica Huston) suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, medical school dropout Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) concocts a plan to pay her hospital bills: At restaurants, he feigns choking, waits to be rescued and later hits up his saviors for money. When he’s not scamming unsuspecting diners, Victor — who’s also a sex addict — attends 12-step meetings where he routinely ducks out to boff the equally randy Nico (Paz de la Huerta). He works as a Colonial America reenactor, finds out he could be the kin of Jesus, all while trying to find himself against some pretty absurd obstacles. Based on the novel “Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk, the writer of “Fight Club.” Clark Gregg, a longtime actor, makes his directorial debut in this film.
Rating: 8 out of 10
I was a huge fan of Palahnuik’s book by the same name. It’s one of the best I’ve read in recent years, and Gregg pays good homage to it while giving his own take on the source material.
It’s an absurd character — a guy who is a sex addict who thinks he could be the son of Jesus Christ and fakes choking in restaurants because someone will save him which makes him feel alive and he scams the people who save him for money. He’s a total bastard, but I think sometimes the best antagonists often are. Huston is sharp as his mother, a woman who has lost her memory and mind but was once a wild “artist” who would often kidnap her son from foster care and take him on trips to steal cars.
As a viewer, we have mixed feeling. Victor is a real son-of-a bitch, but he’s working hard to take care of his sick mother who has no idea who he is. He visits her while she complains that he never visits. It’s a frustration many of us have faced when we had a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. Good characters are like people, there are contradictions and character traits that push us away and keep us close. Sam Rockwell is spot on in this role, and Gregg delivers a smart, sophisticated drama that knows when to take a step back and have a sense of humor.
Writer-director Vincent Gallo stars as Billy Brown, who — fresh from a five-year stint in stir — heads home to Buffalo, N.Y., to visit his kin. Eager to impress his insouciant parents (Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Huston), Billy kidnaps buxom Layla (Christina Ricci) and makes her pose as his wife. As the day wears on, Layla falls for Billy, even as he lays plans to knock off the place-kicker whose botched field goal sent him to the slammer.
Rating: 8 out of 10
This is one of my favorites. I’m not a huge fan of Vincent Gallo. Based on what I’ve read about him, he’s kind of full of himself and is very difficult to work with. I believe Ricci said she’d never work with him again; I think he was really hard on her. “The Brown Bunny” was not good at all, as we discussed briefly in one of our podcasts.
At any rate, “Buffalo 66” is a really good film. We can’t help but sympathize with Gallo’s character, while laughing and hating him at the same time. He had a hard upbringing and has made a few mistakes. At the surface, he’s offensive, aggressive and wants to impress his parents for some sort of approval he knows he’ll never get. Deep down, though, he’s broken and just wants to be loved. He’s misunderstood and alone.
I don’t really care why Ricci’s character is attracted to Billy but she is and puts up with his nonsense. Isn’t that what happens to most of us? Meet someone you like a lot or love and put up with their weaknesses and bullshit? Maybe not as fast as her but I think so. The scene where they are just laying with each other is envious. Yeah, sure most of us want sex or just be in a relationship but there many times where you just want to lay with someone and feel comforted; that scene and one or two others captured it fully. Though this came out in 1998, I loved how vintage this film made Buffalo look.
Okay, so maybe my rating is a bit subjective but I don’t really care. To me, this is the perfect film to watch with someone. I don’t want to call this a date movie but a good one to watch with someone very close. A film to watch with someone whose worthy of “spanning time” with.
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Tagged Anjelica Huston, Ben Gazzara, Buffalo 66, Christina Ricci, Cinema, comedies, comedy, commentary, drama, Dramas, entertainment, entertainment news, Film, Independent Comedies, Independent Dramas, Independent Movies, Jan-Michael Vincent, mickey Rourke, movie, movie news, movie review, Movie reviews, review, Rosanna Arquette, The Movie Brothers, Vincent Gallo