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Powwow Highway (1989)
Powwow Highway is unforgettable, heartwarming, and a triumph for Gary Farmer.
I can't say enough about the sheer quality of this little film, so I won't even try. What I will say is that Gary Farmer's portrayal of Philbert was one of the sweetest characterizations I have ever seen, and he's emblazoned forever on my heart. Also outstanding was Graham Greene in a small role as a Vietnam vet suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. A Martinez, who's something of a one-trick pony, was very well suited to his role.
So dark, so sad, so underrated, so REAL
This is not Mickey Rourke's best work (that title goes to "Barfly"), but it's close. It's a pity that the grittiness of this film made it unacceptable to so many, but for those of us who have known people stuck in the quicksand of inner-city life despite their best instincts (and loved them in spite of their mistakes), "Bullet" rings so sadly true. Rourke, Adrien Brody, and particularly Ted Levine elevate a depressing little gangland story to the level of an epic commentary on the degredation of life at the end of the 20th century. This one is not for the weak stomach, but it IS for the social crusader.
There is only one way to watch this movie without killing yourself.
Here's how: Start watching with the volume turned off. Fast-forward to the first scene showing Mario Van Peebles flex his pretty muscles. Freeze frame. When you've seen enough, fast-forward to the next pose. Freeze frame again. If you're totally turned on by Mario's looks, you might make it through half an hour of this mess, as long as you don't turn on the sound. He couldn't possibly be worse if he WERE an android, and suffice it to say there is more clever writing on this movie review message board than in all of the screenplay. Of course, I'm talking about the thumbs-down reviews -- the people who liked it really scare me.
Nothing to Lose (1995)
Like dark chocolate -- bittersweet and satisfying.
This very underrated film was my first experience with the astoundingly talented Adrien Brody, and though the story is dark and unsettling, his performance makes up for a myriad of faults. The character of Ray is hard to like, but Brody makes him so human and recognizable he pulls you in and gets you rooting for him anyway. What is amazing is that he was all of 22 when he made this film. Do we have a new James Dean?