Friday, March 28, 2008

". . .BUT I HAVE NOT LOST MY SMILE." And neither will you if you watch FREEWAY: the 1996 movie written and directed by Matthew Bright. Now, I must admit that I had to be practically dragged to this movie both by Finkmaster Flash and Terry Frost at Paleocinema: Frost posted a review of the movie on his blog while Finky told me how much he loved the movie -- independently of the blog posting on Paleocinema. So I figured it must be pretty good. But why was it such a hard sell for me? That's because it stars Reese Witherspoon; not my favourite movie star. Taking a page from Kevin Smith's book, I've called her "Greasy Reesey" for years now. However.
  • However.
I have to be truthful and say that Reese Witherspoon's performance as the sociopathic but fun Vanessa Julia Lutz is one of my favourite performances by anybody in recent years. She is absolutely perfect for the role and laugh-out-loud hilarious -- even while doing some extremely nasty things. Nasty but justified.
Vanessa is a 15 year old illiterate white trash girl whose mother (Amanda Plummer) is a whore on methodone and her stepfather (Michael T. Weiss) is a disgusting crackhead who also sexually abuses her; treats her like a human urinal is the phrase used in the film. Mom and stepdad are quickly arrested and the cops call a social worker (Conchata Ferrell) who Vanessa promptly legcuffs to a bed. Vanessa's boyfriend Chopper (Bokeem Woodbine) cannot go on the run with her due to an impending court date so he gives her a gun to sell when she gets to Stockton and her grandmother's house. Oh yes, I might take this opportunity to tell you that FREEWAY is a 90's update of the Little Red Riding Hood story. So off Vanessa drives onto the freeway -- the I-5 --on which "the I-5 killer" has been murdering young girls. Vanessa's bomb of a car breaks down almost immediately and a therapist at a boy's school named Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland) gives her a lift. Look at the character's name and I think you'll guess which character HE corresponds to in the Little Red Riding Hood story. But keep in mind this 90's update is not of the sanitized story but the original Brothers Grimm story in which Lil Red takes on the Big Bad Wolf herself. Because remember -- while Vanessa may be trapped inside a car with the I-5 killer, she still has that gun given to her by her boyfriend. After some terrorizing by the serial killer, Vanessa manages to pull a gun on Wolverton. But because Wolverton is a rather upper-class and respected member of the community, it is Vanessa who gets thrown in jail -- not the actual serial killer.
Now, I really don't want to go into the plot any more than I have because you really must go watch the movie for yourself. The film zooms along at a fast clip and the viewer is constantly entertained. Hey, I don't even mind that Brooke Shields is in the movie as well. It MUST be pretty good if I don't mind watching a movie with Reese Witherspoon AND Brooke Shields!!! But anyway, there's violence and hilarity for one and all. And like I said, Witherspoon gives one of the best performances of the last decade. Hell, I might even have to stop calling her Greasy Reesey now. Well, maybe. . .

8 comments:

Cheekies said...

Have you gone out of your goddamn mind?

Cerpts said...

Yes. Long ago. What's that got to do with anything?

Cerpts said...

But at least I don't think that Lobo can beat Aquaman.

Name: Terry Frost said...

I'm surprised that this movie slipped under so many peoples' radar at the time and subsequently. It is Reese's best role before she was seduced by the Dark Side (i.e. mainstream cinema).

Glad the recommendation helped :-) that's why I do the blog and podcast - to share the love of cinema.

I'm off now to watch Powell and Pressburger's 49th Parallel.

Fink Master Flash said...

Very glad you enjoyed the film!! So far I don't think I have let you down. Perhaps you will one day write a blog about Joe Dirt.

Cheekies said...

Joe Dirt rocks Finky my favorite part is the dogs balls on the porch. I rolled on the floor on that one! Cerpts should definitely see that one. David Spade and a mullet. 'Nuff said!

Cerpts said...

"You see the peanut??? That's a dead giveaway."

Cerpts said...

Um...I have already seen Joe Dirt many moons ago, Cheekies. That's kinda what Finky is saying -- that he made me watch that movie also. And the only reason YOU like it is because the two of you are related.

Which reminds me. . .I think your long lost brother/cousin/son is now working in our office's cafeteria. Seriously. Picture you about 20 years younger with short hair. Dude, he's gotta be a nut fallen off your family tree. In fact, he called me "Dude" the other day. If he starts sayin' "setting" instead of "sitting" it's all over!!!! I'm not kidding! Ask Finky if you don't believe me!