Dogfight

Dir: Nancy Savoca, 1991. Starring: River Phoenix, Lili Taylor, Richard Panebianco, Anthony Clark, Mitchell Whitfield. Drama.

The Four Bs: Birdlace, Berzin, Benjamin, and Buel (aka Oakie). They're teenage Marines who met at boot camp and became friends. It's 1963 and Kennedy is president. A war is unfolding and they've stopped in a small town with a base on the outskirts. By morning, they'll be shipped off to a place they've never heard of called Vietnam. They think they'll be there approximately three months, “take a few names,” and come home unharmed. The naivety of these characters and that of the actual young men who thought the same thing is uncanny and heartbreaking.

Gathering $50 per man, the group decides to have a party of some tradition called a dogfight. The objective of the evening is to rent a nice place and throw a sort of going-away bash. The money is pooled and each guy is supposed to bring a date. The man with the ugliest date wins the pool.

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Posted by:
Edythe Smith
Apr 3, 2011 6:07pm

Factotum

Dir: Bent Hamer, 2005. Starring: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei. Drama.

Factōtum: n. An employee or assistant who serves in a wide range of capacities.

When it comes to Bukowski, the rest of the world can be separated into three categories: those who don't know he exists, those who praise his unconventional poetry and language, and those who detest his work and see him as a glorified alcoholic and womanizer. As far as films surrounding Bukowski are concerned, many are aware of or have seen Barfly, which attempts to paint a portrait of the man and his muses. I've mentioned Factotum to others and most are unaware of the film, just as I was unaware of others based on him and his work in general. The title is taken from a work of Bukoski's with the same name, which I have haven't read, nor have I seen other films surrounding his alter-ego and work, and this includes documentaries. A large part of me doesn't want to, which is why this film works well for me and others who are unaware of or not interested in doting on another poet. Matt Dillon's performance - and the film as a whole - makes it easy to take the film in for what it is, a movie about an alcoholic who is a writer, gambler, womanizer, and blue-collar misfit. You can find this person, give or take a few qualities, within most artists and writers. The fact that Dillon's character is named Chinaski instead of Bukowski, and that everything is centralized in a few events and acquaintances, removes the film from your traditional adaptation. In short, even if you are among those who don't like or don't know of the writer, you can enjoy this due to its lack of a "faithful" attachment to him or the work.

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Posted by:
Edythe Smith
Aug 30, 2010 2:01pm
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