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
FH takes a "sip" of punch, but we can see that the liquid never even touched his lips. See more »
All these... weirdos, and me... getting a little better every day right in the middle of 'em. I had never known... I had never even imagined for a heartbeat that... there might be a place in the world for people like us.
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This film was buried here- apart from the acclaim in 'Uncut' magazine; I
didn't manage to see this 'til this year. My initial viewing was a little
underwhelmed- being a fan of Johnson's book I had worked this up to
impossible heights in my mind. However, on a second viewing I enjoyed the
film more- the nouvelle-vague via Scorsese editing & structure seemed much
better 2nd time around.
The film is closest to 'Drugstore Cowboy'- though parts such as the
split-screen or the digital editing as F***head takes pills in the Emergency
Room could have come from 'Requiem for a Dream'. The source stories have
been extended and made more cohesive- as with the adaptation of Hubert Selby
Jr's 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' by Uli Edel.
The film is wonderfully shot- a great scene is the drive-in/cemetery that
plays 'Carnival of Souls' (though I thought I saw Samantha Morton caught in
an almost Anton 'Depeche Mode' Corbijin style!); imagine 'Zabriskie Point'
without the metaphysical masturbation...
The acting is uniformly great- Crudup & Morton are fantastic leads, while
Denis Leary, Greg Germann, Holly Hunter are among the excellent supports.
The short Dennis Hopper shaving scene is one of the greatest pieces of
cinema I have seen in recent years; while Jack Black almost steals the film
with his amusing "listen to my shoes". And Denis Johnson is great as hunting
knife in eye guy. Oh and Will Patton pops up as 'John Smith'- still he was
in 'The Postman', so not quite yet forgiven.
The soundtrack (chosen by Johnson) is great- Neil Young's 'Cowgirl in the
Sand', Wilco's 'Airline to Heaven' & 'She's a Jar', 'Hang on Sloopy' and the
great score. The highlight is Morton's gyrating dance to 'Oh Sweet Pea'-
almost as great as that dance scene ripped off for 'Pulp Fiction' from
Godard's 'Bande a Part'.Only quibble is- where was 'Heroin' by The Velvet
'Jesus' Son' is a touching, funny, and tender film that deserves to find an
audience. There are too many great moments here- Hunter's arm waving in the
air, Beverly Home, the Amish, the laundry scene, the ER scene, the rabbits
roadtrip etc. Terribly depressing that mediocrity like 'Human Traffic' &
'Trainspotting' finds an audience here- but a film like this isn't allowed
to (except at a few arthouse cinemas). Pity- and Alison MacLean's debut
'Crush' is also excellent; here's to possible adaptations of Denis Johnson's
'Already Dead' & 'The Name of the World'- by David Lynch and Paul Schrader
respectively (hopefully)...Check out Johnson's books- as this film's use of
voiceover stems right from them.
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