She's So Lovely (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Renegade filmmaker John Cassavetes, a true
pioneer in the independent auteur movement, died in 1989,
but his legacy is strong enough that he's still making
movies, in a sense. Just as people are still making films
from old Orson Welles scripts (The Big Brass Ring), or
even old Ed Wood scripts (I Woke Up Early The Day I
Died), unfilmed Cassavetes scripts are still treasured in
This particular circle includes his ex-wife, who appears in the film, and his son, who directed it from John's script. Nick Cassavetes seems to understand the emotional territory quite well, and has cast three talented Cassavetes fans in the roles which once might have been played by Rolands, Gazzara and Falk.
|Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, and John Travolta play a twisted love triangle in this offbeat film about people lost on the fringes of society.||
play a young alcoholic couple, shown 10 years ago in
moments of rhapsodic bliss and booze-fueled craziness.
Although they have a great passion for each other, that
passion occasionally suffers a metamorphosis into
violence and irrational behavior. Penn disappears for
three days in some kind of hazy bender, during which time
Wright is assaulted by an unpleasant neighbor in their
Wright fears that Penn will go crazy when he finds out, and she's right. He gets drunk and out of control, and ends up shooting a member of a medical rescue team.
Penn ends up spending 10 years institutionalized, although he seems to think it was only three months. He didn't have the firmest grip on reality when he was young, but after 10 years in the wacko ward he seems to have lost all concept of time.
|During Penn's stay in
the nuthatch, Wright cleaned herself up, raised the baby
she conceived with Penn, got married, and raised two more
kids in the suburbs with a solid citizen (John Travolta).
But when Penn is released, she essentially reverts back
to the old days, as if the ten years under control were
only a break from her true destiny. When Penn shows up on
her doorstep, she drives off with him, leaving Travolta
and her children behind.
I think the best thing about the movie was the brilliant charcaterization by Sean Penn. He gets inside the character beautifully, as he always does, showing the heights and depths of the mad passion that ruled his youth, and showing the soft but resigned madness that dominated the personality 10 years later. He may no longer have been violent, but he was still as crazy as ever.
And Wright must have been equally loony in her own fashion, since she casually tossed away her 10 years of life to recapture the intensity of former madness. Can madness itself be addictive so that we crave it, cannot live without it once we've tasted it?
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