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My Movie Year–Days 17 and 18: Perdita Durango and My Bloody Valentine 3-D

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So I’m sitting here, hoping to hear back from some people about a project I’m working on, stressing and whatnot. How are you? Good? Grood?

Tomorrow is another day, and I’m hoping to have a bit more luck then. For now, here are the two things that I watched this weekend. All things considered, it weren’t too bad a time.

perdita_durango

What’s a (insert name of film here)?: Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) is a little Mexican lady who falls in love with a man named Romeo (Javier Bardem!) who practices Santeria with corpses that he tends to dig up after he holds a bunch of people at gunpoint. They fuck, she watches one of his religious ceremonies and decides that she’d like nothing better than to eat someone (with her teeth, not her lips…wink!). Along the way there’s a truck full of frozen fetuses, underage rape, a mustachioed James Gandolfini, a screaming Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, coke snorting, public suicide, Jaguar-people, crucifixions and lots, lots more.

By Comparison, My Bloody Valentine 3-D is about a collapsed mine, a lone survivor named Harry Warden, a grizzly discovery, a ruined night of teenaged debauchery, a 10-year-flashfoward, some 3-D nudity, a new set of murders, some minor intrigue and a bunch of heart-shaped boxes.

Who did this to you?: Perdita Durango was done to me by the man who brought you 800 Bullets (what?) and Accione Mutante (que?). It stars Javier Bardem, Rosie Perez, James Gandolfini, Alex Cox, Screamin’ Jay Hawkings and was written by the guy that wrote Wild At Heart!

My Bloody Valentine was directed by the maverick who once brought you The Prophecy 3: The Ascent, Dracula 2000, Dracula II: Ascension (again with the ascending?), and White Noise 2: The Light among others. It also stars Jamie King and one of the guys from Dawesome(!)’s Creek.

Why now?: Perdita Durango has been mentioned as the pseudo sequel to one of David Lynch’s most entertaining movies (Wild At Heart), and since I love the world that Barry Gifford imagined back in 1990, I figured that I needed to see this too.

The other movie came out this weekend, was a slasher and promised to pus things into my face with the aide of special glasses. The question may as well be, “why the fuck not?”

Did you like it?: Oh my yes and oh my meh.

How come?: I’m looking at the IMDB page for Wild At Heart right now and the genres that it’s listed under read as such: Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Music, Romance, Thriller. All of those apply to Perdita Durango too. It’d be easy to categorize this movie as yet another in the wake of Pulp Fiction and Resevoir Dogs—a film predisposed to capturing someone else’s lightning in their own bottle and only getting fried as a result of it—but the direction, story and two leads make the proceedings too good to dismiss outright.

I think I made a passing reference to Javier Bardem’s hair in the second to last review, and I think it’s actually one of the most important symbols in the entire film. It’s a bowl-cut, shaved on the sides and running down his back like a strand of black beaded curtains—the sort you’d have seen in a mom and pop video store separating the people that wanted to rent Men in Black from the people ogling the cover of Black Men in Black Man—it’s yet another silly mess of hair draped over the skull of a psychotic killer. All you really need to know about the tone of the film is in that haircut. That’s also to say that this isn’t the most emotionally complicated film of all time. Both the writer and the director seem more interested in telling the wildest story of their careers than the deepest, but that’s fine. When a film can jump from a crucifixion scene back to Rosie Perez committing statutory rape on a boy she’s just kidnapped without giving me whiplash, I can forgive the fact that there’s not much more here than a fun ride.

up-1my

Speaking of which, that’s an excellent opening for My Bloody Valentine 3-D, which is a fun ride in theory, but a boring slog for a good portion of the non-psycho miner scenes. But that’s not what you want to know, is it? Like Notorious, there’s almost no reason to “review” this film. I don’t often review the Big Macs I eat, unless of course one of them comes out from the conveyer belt particularly rancid in some way. That’s not the case here, but the one thing that should have worked (the 3-D, obviously) isn’t used as often as it should be, and doesn’t pay-off in the way you’d expect. I almost think that the theater I went to see the movie in didn’t properly frame the film, because edges kept getting cut off, leaving a speaking actor’s face out of the frame. Stuff like that hurt the 3-D a lot too, since the object that’s supposed to be shoved in your face should fill the frame and not stray outside if the effect is going to work. If it’s the theater’s fault, fine, but I have a feeling that the cinematographer was under a deadline and turned in a sloppy bit of photography.

What else?: Perdita Durango is available in the U.S. in a compromised cut on a janky DVD under the title, Dance with the Devil.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D is nowhere near as creepy as it’s forbearer (that’s right, it’s a remake) but it’s bloody, and that counts for something.

What’s the moral?: PD: The cards don’t lie.

MBV: The cave-crazies can ruin almost any major holiday.

Are you sure you want this to be your written record of how you feel about this movie?: Why the fudge not?

Best Scene: For Perdita, it’s pretty much every scene with Bardem in it. He’ll bounce goofily to Tijuana Brass one minute and threaten crucifixion the next.

For MBV, it’s the sequence at the motel, which involves a French Bulldog, a midget-lady, a naked woman with a gun and, of course, plenty of pick-axe.

Breast Scene?: Yes to both. You also see some of Rosie Perez’s pubes, so now I can die happy. Is happy the right word?

Death Scene?: Too many to mention in both, but the pick-axe through the back of the head with the 3-D eyeball pop was pretty fucking great.

Weirdest Scene: Perdita has a clown with two fucked-up eyes receiving some bad news and MBV is never really adventurous enough to be weird. Maybe the scenes with the midget?

Worst Scene: I didn’t like the kids scene where the kid comes to pick up his date in Perdita (that’s not cryptic, the scene is just boring) and every scene when blood wasn’t flying was a bummer for MBV.

What’s next?: As I’ll be working quite a bit tomorrow, I’m either picking something short, or something that I can put on in the background and half-watch while I get shit done. I’m thinking Plague Dogs.

 347 Days Left.

 

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3 Responses

  1. I agree with your review of My Bloody Valentine. I was surprised that a movie like this would even bother with exposition (especially exposition that was so painfully cliche and seemed directly lifted from old WB shows). It shouldn’t have bothered to try and have a mystery or even much of any dialogue, but when the blood starts flying and 3D comes into effect it becomes a really fun experience (plot holes and all).

  2. I thought for sure there’d be a Hotel for Dogs review.

  3. This is the Hotel for Dogs of reviews.

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