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In the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, social misfit Jimmy Wright always has his video camera - at his psychiatrist's, spying on his parents in their bedroom, and watching high-school senior, Judy Oaks-Kellen. He rescues Judy from a teacher and students who tease and torment her, and showing her his video tape of revenge kick-starts their friendship, which is soon in an overdrive of romance, sex, and pleasure. Jimmy is in and out of mental institutions, and before long, he and Judy are on the run. Cocaine, guns, and a commune of other misfits figure in their flight. How far can their love take them? It's all on video.Written by
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[coming into video focus]
Jimmy, we discussed this, you can't tape our sessions, it's not allowed. Does your defiance make you feel more powerful? Filming people makes you feel like you're in control of the situation, doesn't it? Maybe?
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For Greg, without whom this film would have never been possible. You made a difference in all our lives. See more »
Excellent for a first film - definitely worth watching
Jimmy & Judy overcomes it's limitations to be a film I'd definitely recommend even if intriguingly it points to greater things that it never achieves.
It's the first time I've seen a film filmed entirely from a first person point of view and I found this very striking. In many ways approaching film narrative through this device is very fitting for our age. We are surrounded as never before by video cameras, on phones, on CCTV etc and we spend more and more of our time viewing the end products of all of this on the internet. It stuck me watching me Jimmy & Judy just how rich the possibilities are here, developed further it could become a new genre of film. These possibilities aren't deeply explored here, but none the less where they are, it's surprising who naturally they seem to fit into the narrative. We see this as a story told about Jimmy, yet he's it's creator. People are frequently aware that they are speaking to camera, yet somehow we feel they are being filmed speaking to camera, as if there was another camera there filming this. It's a tribute to the skill of the directors that all of this works as smoothly as it does.
As other reviewers have pointed out another arresting feature of this film is the chemistry between to the two characters, fortuitously helped by the fact there was real off screen chemistry there as they actually ended up getting married in real life. Although I'd no idea watching at the time, this helps to keep their journey intriguing and watchable. Edward Furlong in particular gives it all with this character and as OTT as it can be it's all very watchable. I'd have to point out some great dark humor at the beginning to where Furlong's character films some scenes between Mommy & Daddy that really should have stayed secret very funny.
This is a great film and all the more impressive for being made on a budget of close to nothing in 15 days. However it's not without it's flaws. All things considered it would be nitpicking to go after anything small, but there are two things that stop it being in the ranks of real great film making for me.
The first is that cliché of clichés in American cinema, guns. I know Raymond Chandler said whenever he ran out of ideas when writing he always fell back on having a man walk into a room with a gun. Perhaps it takes a non-American from the outside looking in (I'm Irish) to see it but characters with guns has become utterly tedious in American cinema. It's been cinematic shorthand for drama and angst since the days of film noir and while it's been reinvented successfully over the decades, it's formulaic in the extreme. So hence Jimmy & Judy's Bonnie & Clyde style crime spree becomes a little, how can I say this, done so many times before. People using guns, dealing with guns, or having guns seem to be in about three quarters of American films. Boring, boring, boring can't you find some other way to talk about the human condition.
The second problem is their characters motivation for this angst driven spree. The film has a brilliant monologue near the end from William Sadler, a sort of white trash Declaration of Rights that speaks rivetingly of alienation, anger and despair. It seems to form a sort of denouement, the trouble is it's nothing to do with Jimmy or Judy who seem to have grown up in nice, well off, middle class homes. It's a shame having established this brilliant level of passion in Sadler's character, something similar couldn't be found for the leads, but apart from their love for each other it never is. By way of explanation we're offered their characters social ostracism in school but given their reaction to it, it doesn't come across as convincing. So as watchable as their journey, given its level of alienation and anger, it's never truly credible or believable.
Still that's not to gripe too much, as a debut this is excellent and well worth watching.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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