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Cosmo Vitelli owns the Crazy Horse West, a strip joint in California. He's laconic, a Korean War vet, and a gambler. When we meet him, he's making his last payment on a gambling debt. Then, he promptly loses $23,000 playing poker at an illegal local casino. The guys he owes this time aren't so friendly, pressuring him for immediate payment. Then they suggest that he kill a Chinese bookie to wipe off the debt. Vitelli and the film move back and forth between the double-crossing, murderous insincerity of the gamblers and the friendships, sweetness, and even love among Vitelli, the dancers, a dancer's mother, and the club's singer, Mr. Sophistication. Written by
The shorter 108 minute John Cassavetes 1978, referred to on the DVD as the Director's Cut, has scenes in it not in the 1976 original 135 minute cut. The scenes in the later version also have different edits and different orders. See more »
That jerk Karl Marx said opium was the... religion of people. I got news for him, it's money.
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The real world can be at times a bland and ugly place. The world of reality cinema is by nature a mirror image without embellishment. The Director's style is an in your face, life is what it is, and that is as much entertainment you are going to get, so deal with it.
So we have a bland and ugly film. Minus any attempt at gloss, except maybe on the lips of the strip-club girls, that the anti hero so respects and loves.
This film tries so hard to be Avant Garde that it is painful and embarrassing. The shaky camera, it must be said, is a precursor of things to come with the advent of video, although this is probably an unintentional insight, and only a way of stating, life has no tripods.
But the unfinished scenes, the over extended scenes, the off camera action and results of action, the pans that end up nowhere, and the mumbled dialog are too pretentious and do the opposite of the "reality" the Director had in mind. In fact, it only clearly demonstrate that a movie is being made and by a filmmaker that looks like he has yet to enter the first semester of film school.
This movie is self-indulgent to the point of narcissism yet it means to be free spirited with an ever penetrating, soul searching gaze outward, irritating when it means to be comforting, and an exercise in the most deceitful of behavior, using the entertainment business, not to entertain but to offend our sensibilities, not with art, but with artlessness.
We are like the saps that paid money for the most not sexy, strip club shows ever. It's a calculated rip-off, it is not clever it is a semi-talented movie makers masquerade.
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