Johnny Suede LD Brad Pitt SEALED Laserdisc
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Johnny Suede is the 1991 film directorial debut of writer-director Tom DiCillo. It starred Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener with early appearances from Samuel L. Jackson and Nick Cave. Johnny Suede is a young man with an attitude and an immense pompadour, who wants to be a rock n' roll star like his idol Ricky Nelson. He has all the stylistic accoutrements, except a pair of black suede shoes. One night, after leaving a nightclub, like manna from heaven, a pair of black suede shoes falls at his feet. Soon afterward, the recently completed Johnny meets Darlette, a sultry bohemian with whom he beds down for the night. In spite of Darlette's abusive gun-toting boyfriend, Johnny begins to see Darlette every day. But when Johnny is forced to pawn his guitar for rent money, Darlette mysteriously leaves him. Johnny's pal Deke fronts him the money to get his guitar out of hock, and the two form a band. Depressed about Darlette's desertion, he wanders aimlessly, and he meets Yvonne, a woman much wiser than Johnny who teaches him that there are things in life much more important than a pair of black suede shoes. "Johnny Suede" is a wonderfully refreshing off-beat comedy that blends surrealism and a critical pop-culture sensibility while challenging film conventions in a playful, entertaining way. The story follows would-be retro rocker "Johnny" (Brad Pitt) though his adventures in love and music. Katherine Keener plays Johnny's "real" love interest as the girl who rescues him from his shallow ambitions. This is an extremely unusual film that mixes magical events and dream sequences energizing the work with a highly surreal feeling. Set in a decaying and spooky section of Brooklyn, the relationships between characters take on a greater, more universal significance. If I didn't know better, I might consider Tom Dicillo a cinematic genius, with a touch of Beckett for good measure. But, funny enough....In an interview years later, Tom Dicillo said that "Johnny Suede," his first feature film, was the product of a "shooting nightmare." According to Dicillo, Brad Pitt (Johnny Suede) played the character as if he recently had a "frontal lobotomy." There was even a suggestion in the interview that Pitt willfully dumbed-down the character despite Dicillo's direction to play him as an ordinary mixed-up guy "just trying to figure things out." There was even a hint that Pitt was intentionally sabotaging the shoot as buzz began to circulate that he was destined for stardom (think Thema & Louise). However, I believe he was simply too good an actor to take a character like Johnny without irony. Dicillo considers the movie a failure and said that he was forced to leave in strange, awkward scenes because he simply had no choice (read money) to shoot them again. "Johnny Suede" remains forever a puzzle. Is Johnny brain-dead or really a perfect symbol for a fallen and lost humanity? Nobody knows...Perhaps, the wasteland in which the action takes place is merely a sign of low-budget, low-awareness-film-making, or is it a deeper, more spiritual wasteland, one in which we all inhabit? Do we, like Johnny, need to have a shoe tossed into our face to understand the true nature of love. Is Tom Dicillo just writing about himself, or did he really intend to make one of the dreamiest, way-cool films about love and art? Nobody knows...Sealed and near mint.0-7921-3072-3
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