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Samuel L. Jackson,
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Lara Flynn Boyle
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After he accidentally kills his father, Mike, during a sting, Joe tries to carry out Mike's dying wish by recovering valuables that Mike's twin brother Lou stole from him years earlier. But Uncle Lou is also a confidence artist, and Joe is soon drawn into his increasingly dangerous schemes. Written by
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nicolas Cage came onto the set dressed up with a wig, albino contact lenses and dark sunglasses because he thought this would add more authenticity to the character of two-bit hustler, Eddie. Cage was told that he could dress up however he wanted for his part. See more »
In the final scene when the money in the attaché case is handed over, the money is wrapped in bundles but when the case is split open on the carousel the money falls loosely to the floor. See more »
Most people like to think they have some degree of control over their lives. The truth is we're subject to the influence of others. Those who appreciate this can make a lot of money from those who don't. But any small-time grifter who ever dealt off the bottom of a deck can tell you that. What I can tell you about is the price one pays for peddling confidence. How every mark you fleece takes away a piece of your soul, and what happens when you try to pick up the pieces.
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I started to trade it off, but I had to keep it because I feared people wouldn't believe my description of it!
This movie sashays between an attempt at modern noir, an homage to film noir, and a parody of film noir.
I like Michael Biehn, but unfortunately his voice-over narration comes off rather flat. Some of the noir dialogue just falls on the floor and lies there -- I had to rewind to believe that I actually heard the line: "That was the thing that would send me into the darkness, squinting at clues."
Nick Cage's character is certainly a standout. I think the excesses of the character are supposed to be funny. However, Cage not only takes Eddie over the top but down the other side -- he chews up the scenery, digests it, and poops it out right there in front of you. For some reason he seems to think the character should always be on the edge of having a seizure. The cumulative effect for me is to flinch from the thought of ever again seeing him in a film. Really. Like aversion therapy. Say "Nick Cage" and I will think of him drooling and choose another film.
And the film suddenly veers off into an Italian James Bond rip-off! I thought for a moment they had gotten reels mixed up with another movie... In a stylish secret lair (behind a billiard parlor) we meet Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man from "Phantasm") as "Dr. Lyme", the man obsessed with diamonds. Crystals are everywhere, his female henchmen are decked out in big blobby crystal jewelry, the furniture is designed with crystalline angles. He comes complete with a Dr. No suit, a Sidney Greenstreet growl, and -- get this! -- a metal arm with a sharp shiny lobster-claw hand! No fooling. My jaw dropped. At least he wasn't stroking a cat.
Throw in Charlie Sheen as a suave pool hustler, and Mickey Dolenz and Clarence Williams III (!) as sidekicks, and you have quite a stew. Peter Fonda looks like he is thinking about his shopping list. James Coburn (the primary reason I picked up the film) definitely classes things up, but we don't see enough of him.
This film isn't quite a train wreck, but it is something of a demolition derby. Between a bus, a sportscar, a taxi, and a motorcycle. And a kid on a tricycle.
I'm going to hang onto it for a while, just to share Angus Scrimm's scene with people. And to prove I didn't dream it.
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