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Some may say this film doesn't know where it is going, it starts as a drama, then a thriller, a musical, a comedy and back to a drama. It was a mixture to be enjoyed. Nick Nolte fans should not be disappointed. This was a low budget venture and it doesn't show. The casting director certainly earned their money on this one with a rich mix of character actors who today are very well known but maybe not at the time this was made. One for the collection.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, for openers, I am amazed that this movie got such a mediocre rating. This is one of the most poignant dramas about despair and emptiness that i have ever seen. I know the focus is on a person who is in prison for life trying to find some meaning for going on and channeling that fever into acting it out in plays. But, i began to sense that this movie was speaking about every person out there that is "doing time" in their own respective lives and feeling like they have nothing to shoot for or any direction to go. If you watch this movie you see that these ex-cons are still struggling with the shackles of prison life, even when they are no longer there. As one of them observes "you hear stories of guys actually wanting to go back. The brotherhood of the doomed." This kinda struck me as a metaphor about peoples lives and how even when they get a chance to break free, they feel the pull to go back to the groove they are so accustomed to. Now that i have given my philosophical two cents, let me talk about the movie in more detail. "Weeds" is a compelling tale about how a bunch of misfit ex-cons are trying to strive for a better life by telling the world, through performing plays, what it feels like to be in prison. Nick Nolte gives a top notch performance as the leader of the troupe that needs, not just wants, to express himself through the stage. The other actors, Lane Smith and Joe Montanea, give compelling support, ex specially William Forsthye who plays a two-bit shoplifter that has found a new life in the theatre. I think the musical numbers add a serial quality that uplifts this movie to new heights and the direction is quite good in telling this story. Overall its not the best movie ever made but it certainly is a well crafted one.
Robert Maxwell firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It's difficult to evaluate a film in which you've been to even the slightest extent involved. You tend to wish it well. I was an atmosphere person in the prison scenes here, filmed at a cement factory a few miles outside of Wilmington, North Carolina. I watch it with gusto, not only my scenes but all of them. Nick Nolte wearing what he thinks is the high-collared coat of a Broadway producer. I had a terrific scene in which I hand an inmate a glass of milk with my thumb in it and he throws it back at me. (They had trouble refitting me after each take, what with my neck as it is.) Marilisa and I finally wound up putting a safety pin through the flesh of my neck, so anxious was I to be Taft-Hartleyed into SAG. It was the only production I worked on in which the character had a name, Bruce Olson. Thank Bog for John Hancock. He picked me out of a lineup to play the sloppy corrections officer because I looked least like Doctor Jeykll and most like Mr. Hyde. I was so nervous that when he called "action" I mimed the scene, not knowing the cameras were rolling. Hancock called me aside, patted me on the shoulder, and gently told me that "Action" meant the whole thing, as if I were the village idiot, instead of a highly dignified and educated personage in the Wilmington community. As far as the movie goes, I've seen better, insofar as I can divorce myself from it, the way a doctor does with a patient. The riot scene was no joke. I was a member of the riot squad, went through a blistering two-day course in crowd control, and a bit of burning phosphorous dribbled down into my face between the plastic shield and the goggles and burned off my eyebrows. Confused by the smell of incense and burning hair I milled around trying to look fierce. Must have succeeded because one slightly built African-American kid was positioned opposite me (I was wardrobed in an international orange jump suit with black belt, black boots, gas mask, helmet and face plate, and riot baton) and shakily said, "Hey, don't hurt me, man." Stumbled over a couple of inmates, who really were inmates, or rather ex-inmates. At the end of the day I went to the PA and told her I'd locked myself out of my car, how could I get back in? Libby hollered, "Anyone here know how to get into a locked car?" and every hand shot up. It was a tough shoot overall. Everyone in the riot scene wound up bruised. I wish the effort had been worth it, but it doesn't seem to have been, even at more than ten years' distance. I wish it had been a better movie, but it's not too bad as it is. Above average. Let's say that.
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