Thursday, December 22, 2011


I'll never argue with someone about whether or not Vincent Gallo's "controversial" 2nd feature; 'The Brown Bunny', is boring or not. It is. But there's plenty of great movies out there that are "boring". People just love to hate this movie. They don't hate 'The Brown Bunny' because its slow or boring or has minimal dialogue or...well, ok...maybe some do, and they have a point, but other people hate it because it was made by Vincent Gallo. And that's understandable considering some of the things he's said and done over the years. But lets not kid ourselves; had Gus Van Sant directed the SAME EXACT film it would have gotten so much praise its not even funny. You all know this is true. And that statement isn't THAT far fetched given his somewhat recent slowly paced works like 'Elephant', 'Last Days', 'Paranoid Park' and 'Gerry'...especially 'Gerry'. Or look at a movie like 'Two Lane Blacktop'. In NO WAY do I put 'The Brown Bunny' and 'Two Lane Blacktop' on the same status, but at some point you gotta ask yourself; "why do people love one movie but hate another movie that's kinda similar so much?" (read my recent review on Damsels In Distress for a similar revelation that I had with Whit Stillman's work).
Another reason why people dislike 'Brown Bunny' is because the last Vincent Gallo film they had to reference was 'Buffalo 66' (sorry but this movie is a modern day cult classic whether you like it or not). Rarely do I come across people who dislike 'Buffalo 66'. But upon the release of 'The Brown Bunny', all the die hard Buffalo 66 fans felt let down when they saw that Gallo's follow-up was NOTHING like his feature debut (outside of the grainy/vintage "feel" that both films have). But you cant expect a man to keep making the same thing over and over again, right?
'The Brown Bunny' falls into the same category as other misunderstood films about love & angst like; 'Trouble Every Day' (also starring Vincent Gallo) and 'Fear X' (Nicolas Winding Refn's forgotten about film which caused him to go bankrupt). But it became difficult for people to support or defend 'The Brown Bunny' when co-star; Chloe Sevigny made a statement about the film (specifically the infamous blow job scene at the end) saying:

When you see the film, it makes more sense. It's an art film. It should be playing in museums. It's like an Andy Warhol Movie

Sometimes its better to just say nothing. In my opinion, comparing a film to Andy Warhol's overrated work doesn't help your case at all.

In 'The Brown Bunny', Vincent Gallo (who also directed, wrote, edited & produced the film) stars as "Bud Clay"; a motorcycle racer (something Gallo use to do in real life) on a road trip to Los Angeles for his next race. This films draws some comparison to 'Two Lane Blacktop' because like James Taylor, Dennis Wilson & Warren Oates, Bud Clay doesn't seem to be in that much of a hurry to get to his destination. He makes various stops to seduce random women (one of which is played by former model Cheryl Tiegs), picks up a prostitute in Las Vegas (but doesnt do anything with her) and makes a stop at his ex-girlfriend's parents house. This is when we learn what the film is really about. In addition to going to L.A. for his next race, he's on a quest to try and find his ex-girlfriend (played Chloe Sevigny). After almost giving up his search, she tracks him down at his hotel and we learn what drove them apart a few years back. ***SPOILER ALERT*** (for those that actually care at this point) As it turns out, his ex died a few years ago from a drug overdoes (which also caused the death of their unborn baby) at a house party (while cheating on him with multiples men). The woman that we see who has tracked Bud Clay down in his hotel is actually a ghost. I completely understand if someone were to find that stupid or pretentious. I actually use to struggle with whether or not I even liked the idea of a ghost coming to visit our main character, but it doesn't bother me anymore.
As much as I actually enjoy this movie, I still have some criticisms. The biggest criticism is that the film could have been edited down. After a while you grow tired of endless shots of the highway or extra long unedited extra close shots of the side of Vincent Gallo's face. And depending on what mood I happen to be in, sometimes I feel like the film could have used more dialogue, maybe another character or maybe a little more development or back story on Sevigny's character.
As we all know, 'The Brown Bunny' drew a lot of attention due to the real blow job that Gallo gets on camera from Sevigny. But is it really that big of a deal? Lars Von Trier (The Idiots & Antichrist), Catherine Breillat (Anatomy Of Hell & Romance), Michael Winterbottom (9 Songs) and plenty of other directors have had real scenes of sexual intercourse, oral sex and ejaculation, yet its such a big problem when Vincent Gallo does it? I'm just saying, if you're gonna hate on something at least be consistent. I'm still trying to kick around in my head what exactly the blowjob scene meant (or if it actually meant anything at all). Was it his way of saying "fuck you" to the women who not only cheated on him but caused the death of their unborn baby? There's a myth floating around that the main reason Gallo cast Chloe Sevigny in the lead female role was because she was the girlfriend of Harmony Korine at the time (one of Vincent Gallo's many enemies), and he wanted to have her give him a blow job on the big screen as a kinda "fuck you" to Korine. If that was the case (and I say if because there's also stories about how Chloe Sevigny wasn't even the first actress considered for the part), then that's pretty low and he deserves all the hate he gets.
If you haven't actually seen 'The Brown Bunny', don't blindly take the opinion of people who hate the film just because. See it for yourself. You might actually like it (or certain aspects of it).

The Brown Bunny / Bande Annonce Canal+ from Vincent Staropoli on Vimeo.


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