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A gentle and usually mellow young man, who sometimes knows things before they happen and gets vibes of premonition, tell us his story: how he met Michelle in Iowa in 1971, how he got the name Fuckhead, how she introduced him to heroin and their falling in love, his thieving, his hospital work and their time in Chicago when she gets pregnant, detox, going to Phoenix to live, AA meetings and a dance, working at a care center where he learns to touch the residents, and modifying his daily schedule so that he passes a neighboring Mennonite household at the right time to hear the wife sing Gospel songs in the shower. Slowly, very slowly, FH lets his gifts emerge. Written by
It's really a light-hearted rhythmic piece. In the end, it's practically poetic.
It's not "Panic in Needle Park" 1975 or "Rush" 1991. It's not heavy at all. True, the subject is about the drug scene in the '70's, but how can anything be heavy with Jack Black in it? (Yes, the one who delivered a surprisingly impressive singing at the finale of John Cusack's passion "High Fidelity" 2000). JESUS' SON is neither your usual Hollywood glamorized drug movie.
I was skeptical when I first heard about this film in Dec. '99 -- another one on drugs. Then when the trailer started, it grew on me. The image of framing an arc of a wreath above Crudup's head was the crowning influence that I must see this movie. In any case, Billy Crudup and Samantha Morton are quite an intense pairing.
The whole film seems like it's on it's own trip (pun intended). Crudup is FH, a rather lovable character. He is actually a shy person. Now and then he emits a sense of humor and it comes across so innocently -- you just can't blame him. He's trying to do right. Billy Crudup carried the picture from beginning to end. We see him and hear him narrating. The words uttered are eloquent. Crudup's clear enunciation adds to the fluidity of the text that we're hearing throughout the film.
Watching this film is rather like playing an album, you can go back and forth just by lifting the turntable needle. The vignettes are different tracks: on the road trip with Jack Black and the rabbits, and dealing with the knife in the head emergency case during a hospital shift (with Jack Black contributing his comic rhythm and delivering his lines equally fun to hear); shaving Dennis Hopper and interviewing him at the same time; interactions with Holly Hunter before and after AA meetings; staff routines at the senior home in Phoenix; repeatedly watching the Amish couple through the window glass; going to Denis Leary's house and the aftermath; of course, the interludes and episodes with Samantha Morton as Michelle. Humor is ever present.
Bravo to the script by three screenplay writers, based on Denis Johnson's short stories, and kudos to director Alison Mclean. She directed a film with such clarity and simple strokes. Billy Crudup would be the reason to see this film if not anything else, he exudes a halo of light about him -- his angelic face, even with his coy whiskers, still has a certain innocence about him, and according to FH, he does have ominous feelings in him of what to come. Jesus' son, he very well is. Enjoy this film, it's an excellent effort and production all round, including the soundtrack music and songs of the 70's.
Don't miss "Without Limits" 1998, another Billy Crudup must-see, if you haven't yet.
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