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2 items from 2000


South of Heaven, West of Hell

18 December 2000 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Having impressively proved himself a capable actor, country singer-songwriter Dwight Yoakam adds director-screenwriter-producer-composer to his resume, and the resulting "South of Heaven, West of Hell" would suggest a case of wearing at least one Stetson too many.

A subversive Gothic western starring Yoakam and a bunch of his Hollywood buddies, the picture, which actually is much closer to hell than its directions would imply, is an interminable, annoying mess of fractured cowboy-movie cliches.

Although Yoakam and co-screenwriter Stan Bertheaud must have had a hoot cramming in all the frat boy perversity -- castration, rape, incest and pedophilia rank high on its top 10 list -- it all comes across as the kind of indulgence that gives vanity projects a bad name.

Yoakam has cast himself as Valentine Casey, a marshal with an uncertain past who finds himself biding time in some kind of existential purgatory resembling a desolate New Mexico town called Los Tragos.

Part of that past resurfaces when the murderous, inbred Henry Gang, presided over by Bible-thumping Leland (Luke Askew), rides into town. Apparently way back when, after Val's own family died during an influenza outbreak, Leland raised Val as his own. Now Leland and his boys, including Vince Vaughn and Paul Reubens, have returned with larceny on their minds. Though Val sticks to his guns, the Henry Gang proceeds to slaughter everything around him that tries to block their path to the bank vault.

Cut to nine months later, where we find Val in the Arizona desert breaking wild horses and meeting up with Adalyne Dunfries (Bridget Fonda), the daughter of the local hotel and saloon owner who has returned to town accompanied by the odd Brigadier Smalls Billy Bob Thornton with long golden hair).

Just when it looks like Val and Adalyne are about to have a thing going, who else but the Henry Gang comes in and gums up the works, precipitating a protracted fight to the finish.

While Yoakam underplays his part to the point of catatonia, the rest of his cast, also including Bud Cort, Peter Fonda and Michael Jeter, go in the opposite direction in some kind of contest to determine who can be the most irritating. Jeter's the clear winner as the screeching Uncle Jude.

To his credit, director of photography James Glennon ("El Norte", "Election") mines plenty of atmospheric value for the low-budget buck, but there ain't enough purdy sunsets in the world to compensate for this long-winded, one-trick pony of a home movie.

SOUTH OF HEAVEN, WEST OF HELL

Trimark

Director: Dwight Yoakam

Producers: Gray Frederickson, Darris Hatch

Screenwriters: Dwight Yoakam, Stan Bertheaud

Story: Dwight Yoakam, Dennis Hackin, Otto Felix

Director of photography: James Glennon

Production designer: Siobhan Roome

Editor: Robert Ferretti

Costume designer: Le Dawson

Music: Dwight Yoakam

Color/stereo

Cast:

Valentine Casey: Dwight Yoakam

Taylor: Vince Vaughn

Brigadier Smalls: Billy Bob Thornton

Adalyne Dunfries: Bridget Fonda

Shoshonee Bill: Peter Fonda

Arvid: Paul Reubens

Agent Otts: Bud Cort

Doc Angus Dunfries: Bo Hopkins

Leland: Luke Askew

Uncle Jude: Michael Jeter

Running time -- 131 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

Permalink | Report a problem


South of Heaven, West of Hell

18 December 2000 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Having impressively proved himself a capable actor, country singer-songwriter Dwight Yoakam adds director-screenwriter-producer-composer to his resume, and the resulting "South of Heaven, West of Hell" would suggest a case of wearing at least one Stetson too many.

A subversive Gothic western starring Yoakam and a bunch of his Hollywood buddies, the picture, which actually is much closer to hell than its directions would imply, is an interminable, annoying mess of fractured cowboy-movie cliches.

Although Yoakam and co-screenwriter Stan Bertheaud must have had a hoot cramming in all the frat boy perversity -- castration, rape, incest and pedophilia rank high on its top 10 list -- it all comes across as the kind of indulgence that gives vanity projects a bad name.

Yoakam has cast himself as Valentine Casey, a marshal with an uncertain past who finds himself biding time in some kind of existential purgatory resembling a desolate New Mexico town called Los Tragos.

Part of that past resurfaces when the murderous, inbred Henry Gang, presided over by Bible-thumping Leland (Luke Askew), rides into town. Apparently way back when, after Val's own family died during an influenza outbreak, Leland raised Val as his own. Now Leland and his boys, including Vince Vaughn and Paul Reubens, have returned with larceny on their minds. Though Val sticks to his guns, the Henry Gang proceeds to slaughter everything around him that tries to block their path to the bank vault.

Cut to nine months later, where we find Val in the Arizona desert breaking wild horses and meeting up with Adalyne Dunfries (Bridget Fonda), the daughter of the local hotel and saloon owner who has returned to town accompanied by the odd Brigadier Smalls Billy Bob Thornton with long golden hair).

Just when it looks like Val and Adalyne are about to have a thing going, who else but the Henry Gang comes in and gums up the works, precipitating a protracted fight to the finish.

While Yoakam underplays his part to the point of catatonia, the rest of his cast, also including Bud Cort, Peter Fonda and Michael Jeter, go in the opposite direction in some kind of contest to determine who can be the most irritating. Jeter's the clear winner as the screeching Uncle Jude.

To his credit, director of photography James Glennon ("El Norte", "Election") mines plenty of atmospheric value for the low-budget buck, but there ain't enough purdy sunsets in the world to compensate for this long-winded, one-trick pony of a home movie.

SOUTH OF HEAVEN, WEST OF HELL

Trimark

Director: Dwight Yoakam

Producers: Gray Frederickson, Darris Hatch

Screenwriters: Dwight Yoakam, Stan Bertheaud

Story: Dwight Yoakam, Dennis Hackin, Otto Felix

Director of photography: James Glennon

Production designer: Siobhan Roome

Editor: Robert Ferretti

Costume designer: Le Dawson

Music: Dwight Yoakam

Color/stereo

Cast:

Valentine Casey: Dwight Yoakam

Taylor: Vince Vaughn

Brigadier Smalls: Billy Bob Thornton

Adalyne Dunfries: Bridget Fonda

Shoshonee Bill: Peter Fonda

Arvid: Paul Reubens

Agent Otts: Bud Cort

Doc Angus Dunfries: Bo Hopkins

Leland: Luke Askew

Uncle Jude: Michael Jeter

Running time -- 131 minutes

MPAA rating: R

»

Permalink | Report a problem


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2 items from 2000


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