Dear Ladies and Gentlemen. I am here today to write to you about a movie that is held very highly among many movie geeks, but for some reason I can’t help but loving the original so much more, especially (but not exclusively) because hardly anyone has ever heard of it.
Any movie that has Sean Penn fucking (excuse my French, but this ain’t Disneyland) Jennifer Lopez (back when she was young, cute, and naturally hot) in the dirt, is surely a justifiable way to spend the evening. That movie is U-Turn, helmed by Oliver Stone with visuals brought to you by Robert Richardson (before he switched sides and started working with Quentin Tarantino). For me personally, it was an introduction to Billy Bob Thornton, and I dug Nick Nolte in it, too. I always thought it was a decent midnight movie with A-actors and a B-story. But that was until I saw another movie on TV years later, at midnight. And I thought, oh man, that’s a midnight movie, and it’s the same story, but it suddenly feels A-class, and the actors are still A-class.
That movie is Red Rock West. The premise is the same, yet instead of Sean Penn you had a young and talented Nick Cage, going up against Dennis Hopper, and the femme fatale, is not a latina. What I like more about it, is the more credible on screen action. Cage seems much more lost and caught in a crazy game than Sean Penn, who seems to be too much in control of a situation that looked fishy from the get-go. The atmosphere in Red Rock West is far more menacing, sinister, hopeless and eerie, while U-Turn is a surreal Oliver Stone world, with all kinds of metaphors and visual styling. What struck me when I first watched this one, is the instant feeling you get as the audience, that this is not a crazy movie by Oliver Stone with a hot looking J-Lo and all these other stars, here you get more of a Lynchian setting, where the actors are not stars, they are normal people trapped in an excellent story. You feel Cage’s character’s frustrations. It is a shame the movie is such a low-profile flick, I wish more people would know about it, and that’s why I am writing this. I fell in love with it, and I can only recommend it to anyone looking for a decent midnight movie.
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