Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You insult me again, and I'll cut your face off and wear it over my own.

In September of 1995, something shocking happened at our local movie theater in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i. Paul Verhhoeven's controversial NC-17 flick, Showgirls, was to be shown on one of the town's four screens. The hype was palpable. Also in September of 1995, a young m.brown turned 16 the week before the movie was released. For the time being, I was going to be denied horrible dialogue and unlimited access to Jesse Spano's tits. Worse, I was going to be denied some glorious nudity featuring the Joker-mouthed Gina Gershon. Seventeen years later, I would atone.

For my 33rd birthday, I wanted to go to the movies. Sure, that's nothing special, but I wanted to see something great. Our local theater had only two things showing, jack and shit, so I did a little research and found a small independent theater in Harrisburg. Sure enough, all three screens were showing something very interesting, but there was really only one choice. I had to see Killer Joe.

When I start to hear about certain movies or performances, I freak out and go the other way immediately. I want to know nothing. Yeah, I knew Matthew MacConaughey was in it. I knew it was a black comedy. That's about it. Emile Hirsch? Had no clue. Gina Gershon? Couldn't recall. NC-17? Wait, they still make those? Interesting.

If you're reading a movie blog, you probably know all the real interesting bits, but I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible anyway. Well, at least up here. Killer Joe, based on a play, tells the story of a highly-dysfunctional family who hire a hitman/local detective to kill their mother. Seems money is a bit scarce (and desperately needed by older brother Chris), and mom has a pretty hefty life insurance policy. Simple enough, right? Well, it seemed that way until Killer Joe showed up. That's when everybody starts going down on Col. Sanders. If only I were joking.

Maybe it hasn't aged well, but years back I fell in love with Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan. This is film where things start out well enough and then spiral completely out of control in heartbreaking fashion. While Killer Joe may lack any real redeemable characters (unlike Plan), things follow a similar path. Any glimmer of hope will be squashed violently. And while you might hope otherwise, deep down you know that there will be no happy ending. That said, there is an almost giddy level of enjoyment in the uncertainty and depravity that Killer Joe basks in.

Before the silly Yays and Boos, let me just mention that the final twenty minutes of this film are unlike anything I've seen in recent memory. Matthew McConaughey (as Killer Joe) becomes as completely f--king unhinged as any character ever put to film. It's so controlled however, that it's damn near breath-taking. As much as I wanted to cover my eyes, I don't think I blinked. Incredible.

That's what I love about the Yays and Boos, man. I get older, they stay the same age.

She's 23. I checked. (Big sigh of relief...)
  • Everyone's going to be all over McConaughey, but everybody who appears on screen brings it. I especially enjoyed Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple's performance as siblings. 
  • Gina Gershon's full-frontal is great, but her response to why she does it is even better.
  • Naked Dream Sparring? Sign me up.
  • They are always watching monster truck races. Always.
  • I'm not sure if I've ever laughed louder at a wardrobe malfunction. So stupid, but so funny.
  • Rex. You well-hung genius.
  • Not only will I now only say K-Fry-C when referring to KFC, but I will forever have a wild visual associated with it. Oh, and I loved how she served it on a paper towel. Classy.
  • As funny as it is at times, it's such a sad, sad story. Poor sleeptalking Dottie.
  • Killer Joe's story about a fat guy burning his genitals? Not cool.
  • The shit you can get away with outside of a bar in Texas is pretty unbelievable. Maybe the Cowboys were playing...
  • When someone gets hurt, it's never pretty. Oh, and by someone I mean Chris.
  • I'll put it to you this way, by the end, Gina Gershon looks exactly like Gene Simmons. Somebody call Dr. Love. Or Dr. Phil. Okay, just call any f--king doctor.
  • In case my wife ever gets any ideas, it's fresh pumpkin only at our house. And lots of K-Fry-C.
As much of a good time we had watching this train wreck, the wife and I got in a heated argument on the way home and soiled any excellent post-movie conversation that was to be had (this was my birthday present, mind you), as well as the rest of the evening. So, good people of the Interweb, I leave that delicate responsibility to you. Thoughts? Oh, you haven't seen it yet?

Well...did you ever see Showgirls?


  1. Nice write-up. Thought this was an insanely great movie. Everybody brought their A-game.

    1. Agreed. I understand why, I suppose, but it's a shame this didn't get a wide release. With so little out there, this might've made a little money.

  2. Oh God I can't wait to see it. Can't believe I have to wait two more weeks, this anticipation may actually kill me.

    1. Anticipation-related deaths have been going around. Weird.

      What's also weird is that I can't wait for you to see it either.

  3. I loved this movie, and I especially loved those batshit crazy final 20 minutes. You're right, McConaughey is so unhinged, but so controlled as well. Mesmerizing.

    1. 100% on board with you. This is one of those movies (or at least scenes) that wanted to watch again immediately because it was so f--king insane. The fact that the median age in the theater was probably lower 60's made it even better.

  4. Haven't seen this yet but very much on my 'catch up' list after a summer of no films. The blog's looking suspiciously classy these days, by the way.

    1. Joe Hill - back from the dead! Good to hear from you. This is one that should be at the top of your list, undoubtedly. It starts out bad enough, but the descent into a full blown shit show of humanity is something to behold.

      'Suspiciously classy' is what I now want on my tombstone.

  5. Very, very twisted movie but it also has some amazing performances from this small ensemble, and gets extremely tense in the last 15 minutes or so. McConaughey totally deserves a nomination for his role as the self-titled, Killer Joe. Good review M.

    1. Has anybody had a better year than McConaughey? I don't mean just 2012, either. This guy is on fire.