Killing Zoe

tn_killingzoeToday I’d like to give a little nod to one of the undervalued sidekicks of cinema, the Steve James of filmatists. Roger Avary shares with Quentin Tarantino the best original screenplay Oscar for PULP FICTION. I always thought he was supposed to have just written the Bruce-Willis-lays-around-in-bed-talking-cute-with-a-French-lady portion, but Wikipedia says the accidental shooting of Marvin (SPOILER) and The Miracle of the Bullets That Totally Miss both came from an earlier screenplay by Avary. The two worked at a video store together (and also as production assistants on Dolph Lundgren’s MAXIMUM POTENTIAL workout video) and collaborated alot when they were coming up. For example Avary’s script was rewritten by Tarantino into TRUE ROMANCE, then Avary came in later on when Tony Scott was making the movie and wanted rewrites. He also wrote a little bit of NATURAL BORN KILLERS and the shit Steven Wright says on the radio in RESERVOIR DOGS and Tarantino was credited as executive producer on this one.

By the time of JACKIE BROWN Tarantino and Avary didn’t really seem to be working together anymore, so to people who haven’t paid attention to him since then it would be easy to think he might’ve just been a lucky buddy of Tarantino’s, riding in on the ol’ ’70s TV show referencing coattails. I think he’s since proven himself capable of standing on his own, it’s just that all his movies end up being misunderstood or underappreciated: he wrote and directed RULES OF ATTRACTION and wrote SILENT HILL and BEOWULF. All movies I like that a whole lot of people hate.

It’s gotta be hard living under the shadow of Tarantino, because #1 nobody can really live up to him and #2 the chin part of the shadow is just gigantic (wocka wocka). But I think Avary’s got some talent.

mp_killingzoeKILLING ZOE is Avary’s first movie as a director, and it has some of the early Tarantino elements: long, static shots of plot-free conversation, discussions of TV shows, needles, cool criminals who hang out, vintage movie posters, tip etiquette, joke telling, a character named Zed. No suits with ties, surprisingly.

Like TRUE ROMANCE for Tarantino, KILLING ZOE seems to be Avary’s fantasy about what he would be like if he was a gun-toting criminal and fell in love with a prostitute. The “production notes” on the DVD confirm that he chose Eric Stoltz to star because they looked and dressed similar. It definitely comes out of the mind of a dude in his early 20s, just imagining his life with some added gun deaths to make it cinematic. I’d guess he was into the same shit as QT but was the shy one (Stoltz doesn’t talk much in the movie) and was the friend who wanted to travel to Europe all the time (it takes place in Paris, although it was shot in L.A.). His fantasy prostitute girlfriend Zoe is more highbrow and cultural than Tarantino’s Alabama. Both are pretty new to being hoes, but Tarantino’s is an air-headed but sweet southerner who enjoys the films of Burt Reynolds, Avary’s seems smarter, is putting herself through college and does sculptures. But probly doesn’t taste like a peach.

The feel is very different from Tarantino’s movies. Dryer, less bluster, less macho, with an electronical score by “tomandandy” instead of digging out the dusty old soul and rock and roll 45s. The criminals here think they’re tough, but if they tried to work for Joe from RESERVOIR DOGS they’d run home in tears before he was done talking to them. They’re not pros – this might even be their first time, because they all live in an apartment together like college dudes. Or maybe they’ve done it before and blew all their loot on drugs, French Brian DePalma posters and monkey food (one of them has a pet monkey that pees on another guy’s Billie Holiday records).

Stoltz plays Zed, an American in Paris to meet up with his childhood friend Eric (Jean-Hugues Anglade). They’re planning on robbing a bank on Bastille Day, which is tomorrow. Before they meet up Zed has a long cab ride and a night with Julie Delpy as Zoe, the prostitute (although she’s offended when he calls her that). I don’t know why Avary is so into an American man and French woman talking in a hotel, but that’s his thing I guess.

After he meets up with Eric the next section of the movie is an overly long drug binge: dudes driving fast, snorting coke, talking about The Prisoner. They go to a dixie jazz themed club, the camera lens is distorted, things are confusing.

Then the third chunk takes place in the bank where they take everybody hostage, including Zoe, who’s there wearing a nice dress and sweater like a non-prostitute. Turns out Zed is the safecracker – he has a whole case of equipment and starts setting up to blow the vault. He doesn’t do it with the speed and intensity of a pro, though. I think he’s a hobbyist, a science nerd who enjoys puzzles like this more than a guy who wants to steal a bunch of money.

He takes his time trying to get in this thing. Meanwhile upstairs are all the armed robbery risks: security guards that might try to do something, silent alarm that might’ve been tripped, gunmen liable to do something stupid, hostages liable to do something stupid that makes the gunmen do something stupid. But Zed doesn’t even know this is going on, because he’s downstairs and nobody tells him. Probly for the best, though. You don’t need that kind of pressure.

I’m not really sure why it’s KILLING ZOE or even why she should be the focus of the title. Of course there’s a love story there, and the ending where you can’t think about it too hard because not only will you wonder why the fuck the police didn’t bother to question them, but you’ll suspect that two people who fell in love because one paid the other for sex and then they survived a bloodbath at a bank the next day will not necessarily turn into the greatest relationship. But the main conflict of the movie is between calm, reasonable Zed and death wishing Eric, who doesn’t care if he dies and therefore lives life to the fullest in drugs, transportation, crime and pet ownership. He just doesn’t give a fuck. So it’s kind of like a LETHAL WEAPON mismatched buddy movie, the suicidal nut and the uptight family man.

On those production notes you learn that Avary had some pretty pretentious subtext in mind for the movie. I noticed a vintage movie poster from some viking movie in their apartment, and also there’s a conversation where somebody asks him “You like viking movies?” I thought that was funny because who the hell is really into viking movies, specifically? I’m sure there are a couple good ones I’m not thinking of, but it’s not like it’s a thriving genre full of beloved classics. Anyway it turns out Avary likened these characters to vikings, a bunch of brutes that just rape and pillage and wear funny helmets (in this case masks) and don’t worry about tomorrow. It’s all about getting maximum pleasure right now and not giving a shit about if they hurt anybody else or if it has consequences. Apparently Avary made the cast read Beowulf to get them in the right mindset. I doubt it did much for them. But it’s cool to know he was obsessed with Beowulf years before he made the movie of it.

I’m not sure we know enough about Zed. If he’s so grounded why is he working and hanging out with these assholes? And why’d he get into safecracking in the first place? I can’t really picture how this guy would fall into that racket. Not that every character needs an origin story, but he’s not cool enough for us to enjoy the mystery. It seems more like a character that’s not completely thought through than like an enigma. We only root for him because the camera’s on him and because the other guy is such a douche. He does Mr. Blond shit without the menace or charisma.

These are kind of nitpicks, they’re not huge problems, but maybe they’re part of why the movie falls a little flat. I don’t think this is that great of a movie, but it’s a passable bank robbery thriller that gets a bit of a bump from being such a time capsule into that moment in pop culture when independent film was exciting, it hadn’t turned into a meaningless term, and we hadn’t even been inundated with Tarantino wannabes yet because PULP FICTION hadn’t quite come out. It has some good thrills in it (like when Eric goes nuts and throws a bomb into the vault with an innocent security guard) but honestly my favorite scene is the very first one, just a long take of Eric Stoltz in the back of a cab being kind of a dick to the cab driver that’s trying to make small talk with him.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 2:31 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

73 Responses to “Killing Zoe”

  1. You should try to track down MR STITCH, Avary’s seriously bizarre existentialistic Frankenstein-ish movie, starring Rutger Hauer and Wil Wheaton. (And I think Ron Perlman was in it too. And a flying eye. And opening credits, that looked like from an early 90’s soft porno. I only saw it on TV once and wait for it to come out on DVD or at least to be shown on TV again.)

  2. I swore I’ve seen this more than once but the only thing I can remember is the discussion on whether or not the cat is dead.

  3. “the accidental shooting of Marvin”
    You should always specify “in the face” when talking about that Vern. It’s like A Pimp Named Slickback. You have to say the whole thing.

  4. Michael Henry Grant

    March 4th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    For a good crazy viking movie, I recommend TARKAN VERSUS THE VIKINGS. It’s Turkish, with ludicrously low production values and pretty bad acting, but I guarantee (read: hope) you’ve never laughed so hard when a baby got chopped in the head with an ax as you will when it happens in TARKAN.

  5. That and that one Mario Bava movie are pretty much the only Viking movies I can think of.

    Oh, and that one with Antonio Banderas but I don’t think that was out yet when KILLING ZOE was made.

  6. I thought the point of this movie was that at the end they all have AIDS. You know, from the blood splatter and stuff? I only watched it once because I didn’t much care for it, but I’m pretty sure there was an AIDS subtext to this story.

  7. Avery is a talented writer, but he ain’t the mad visionary genius that is Tarantino. And if you’re ever leaving a Hollywood party, whatever you do, don’t let Roger Avary give a you a ride home. DON’T DO IT. (or Eric Red.) (what is it with screenwriters and car crashes?)

    Anyway, I gotta admit, I like some of his work–he’s definitely best with adaptations and co-writers, i.e. Neil Gaiman and BEOWULF. But when he writes on his own, when he writes on his own and is then allowed to direct it–oy vey.

    I will admit, I really find Killing Zoe unwatchable. This and Rules Of Attraction. I just cannot stand either of them. They aren’t BAD movies, they aren’t poorly made by untalented people, but I just do not like ’em.

  8. Does anybody knows if Avery is working again or what? It seems to be a bad time for looking for director/writing gigs after “being away” from the movie industry for a year or so.

    And for the record, THE RULES OF ATTRACTION is a great fucking movie. In his Twitter Brett Easton Ellis writes about meeting Tarantino recently, but doesn’t mention Roger among the topics discussed.

  9. Porkchop Express

    March 4th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Eric the Viking?

  10. Hunter – you definitely wonder at the end. One character says he has AIDS, and they definitely get each other’s blood all over each other’s faces. But I don’t know, I wondered about the kid at the end of FORREST GUMP too. I guess that was the big thing back then.

  11. Porkchop Express

    March 4th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Isn’t he in prison?

  12. the Silent Hill movie is terrible if you’re a big fan of the (pre movie) games in the series (which I am)

    and believe me, Roger Avary didn’t know shit about Silent Hill

  13. I put this movie in the same lot of shitty post-pulp fiction crime films with Things to do in Debvwr when you’re dead and Search and Destroy. Even if those movies are mildly entertaining they still don’t come close to the epic greatness of Pulp Fiction and therefore comes off has cheap copies.

    I also remember the AIDS angle and thought that the movie had a tragic ending since they all got infected by Eric’s blood.

  14. How about The Vikings with Kirk Douglas? I remember loving that movie as a kid, although the only thing I can remember about it right now is that Kirk gets his eye ripped out by some fool’s Hawk (or maybe Eagle). Recommended.

  15. Porkchop Express

    March 4th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I like the first three games and found the film pretty decent. It could have done without Sean bean tho

  16. Wikipedia says he’s out since July.

  17. I think the last thing you do is mention Avary to Tarantino. Pretty sure they had a horrible falling out possibly due to Avarys ideas not being fully recognized on things Quentin did. Who knows though. Along with Eric the Conqueror and Knives of the Avenger, Mario Bava ghost directed a number of Italian viking movies. It was a pretty big genre in Italy for a time.

  18. I thought the big chunk of exposition near the end of Silent Hill was actually an intentional homage to the kind of games it’s based on. Most of those games (and modern games in general) have a big Expository cut scene right before the final showdown, seemed to me that Avery was trying to structure the movie in a similar way. Shame nobody gives him credit for it.

  19. Maybe THOR will kickstart a Viking movie renaissance? Or, since there never really was a big craze for Viking movies in the first place, a plain old naissance.

  20. Didn’t they share needles too? And with that many open wounds on their bodies and that much blood on them…I could swear I read something about Avary intending this film to act as a sort of AIDS parable. Of course, the science of the transmission is flawed, much like Kids, but I’m fairly certain it was a plot point.

    Also, I’ve seen Rules of Attraction like 12 times and it just gets better. I see something totally new and different each time and I think it is every bit as visually arresting as Tarantino’s best, especially when you consider that it’s ostensibly a college sex comedy.

  21. “especially when you consider that it’s ostensibly a college sex comedy.”
    set in the same universe as AMERICAN PSYCHO.

  22. Yeah, and it’s a whole lot more visually striking than American Psycho.

    I’ve actually read all of B.E.E.’s novels and I’ve come to realize, I don’t actually like his stories, I just like the way he assembles sentences. I HATE his novels, but I love the form of them. Donno if I’ll buy the next one, Imperial Bedrooms had a terrible second half and an out and out embarrassing third act.

  23. Apparently Mel Gibson wants to make a Viking movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. Apocalypto with Valkyries? Although, the news is a year stale:


  24. I watched KILLING ZOE years ago as a VHS rental solely b/c I recognized Avary’s name as “that guy that works with Tarantino.” I remember being surprised by how different and off-tone it was from my expectations, and I remember learning a new disgusting cunnilingus joke in French.

    Recalling an actual trip to Paris and (even if it was shot in the US) this movie’s depiction of the underground drug & club scene (“the real Paris” someone calls it in the movie I think), I can say that I am not eager to visit there again.

    THE RULES OF ATTRACTION movie is fantastic. I think KILL BILL stole the snowing part of the poignant snowflakes scene near the end.

  25. Hunter D., how can you not like Glamorama? It’s, like, one of the greatest novels of the last hundred years or so!

    Lunar Park too was pretty good in my (and Stephen King’s) opinion. Imperial Bedrooms sucked ass, though.

  26. The strange thing about Glamorama is that it’s essentially a straight version of Zoolander.

    Not a great Viking film but, if you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend giving Valhalla Rising a watch. I’d rate it about 3/10 for plot and 9/10 for atmosphere, but the main reason to see it is for Mads Mikkelsen’s fabulously intense turn in it. It made me dream of seeing him take on Snake Plissken in a battle of the one-eyed baddasses.

  27. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it, and I partially retract my earlier statement.

    KILLING ZOE is well made, it may be a good movie, but it is not for me. However, RULES OF ATTRACTION, while being well-acted and technically competent, is, I have concluded, a piece of garbage. Shame on that movie.

  28. There’s nothing “straight” about Glamorama (or any other of BEE’s novels), huh-huh-huh.

  29. Agreed, The Cosh. VALHALLA RISING *felt* like cinema. I don’t have the precise words for it, but that’s supposed to be a high compliment. It’s rare that a film combines the trippiness of APOCALYPSE NOW, the sense of doom of the first 4/5 of APOCALYPTO or first 19/20 of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, and the barely graspable absurdity of a great Werner Herzog adventure.

    VALHALLA RISING demands to be seen on a big screen with no distractions.

  30. As far as Viking movies, meanwhile, the all-time best, I think, is THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR. Even in it’s current heavily re-edited and partially re-shot, messed-with release version, I still love it. (I really would love to see a multi-disc DVD of that someday that includes the release version, then McTeirnan’s original cut, and an examination of the hilariously troubled production, the considerable amount of deleted scenes, the reshot footage, ect.) Best screen version of Beowulf, too.

    THE VIKINGS with Kirk Douglas is probably next, then the Zemeckis BEOWULF, and then there’s more that are okay without being exactly great. OUTLANDER, BEOWULF AND GRENDAL, ect. THOR looks somewhat mediocre, I must sadly say as a devout fan of both the Marvel superhero and Norse mythology. Someday, we may perhaps get the JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS of Norse myth that those stories deserve, but I don’t think THOR’s gonna be it.

  31. Oh, and I almost forgot, there was one other signifigant Viking movie recently–this indie film about a pair of Vikings wandering around North America. It was all done in this handheld, cinema verite type style–not great, but really interesting.

  32. Just to be a completionist – How to Train Your Dragon is about Vikings. They are Scottish-accented, dragon-fighting Vikings, so I don’t know how much they adhered to the anthropology, sociology, and history of the Norse, but since it looks like you could watch every Viking movie in one weekend, maybe have a look.

  33. I was wondering when someone was going to mention Valhalla Rising. It’s perhaps the most pretentious viking film ever put to celluloid. I spent most of that movie either enjoying the hell out of it or being just plain frustrated, which I suppose was the point. Apparently the director of Valhalla Rising is directing a film about a getaway driver staring Ryan Gosling. I wonder whether Hollywood will affect his style, of if he’ll be eaten up by the industry.

  34. Good call on the Thirteenth Warrior, CC. That’s a great film that looks right up Vern’s alley. I actually think it’s McTiernan’s 3rd best film and don’t see why people hate it so much!

  35. RBatty024, I agree with you about VALHALLA RISING. I love parts of the film, it is visually captivating and at times almost hypnotic, but then there will be like a 3 minute long close up shot of someones face that just brings the films momentum to a screeching halt. However, flawed as it is I did like it as a whole, and would recommended it with the disclaimer that is slow and pretentious at times so it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

  36. Are you saying a film is “pretentious” because it’s… slow? Sparse in dialogue? Celebrating a setting in a level of reality not aligned with your own? Distinctly anti-traditional narrative? Reliant on illiterate characters to explain a form of early Christianity practices?

    Except for that last one, these are ways I would describe, for an example relevant to recent discussions here, a number of Johnnie To films. And no one called VENGEANCE out for being pretentious, did they?

    I presume that our operational definition of “pretentious” includes a form of “offensive” or “insulting.” I’m not sure why VALHALLA RISING insults people.

  37. Mouth, I am not bashing VALHALLA RISING, and your comparison to To’s work is a valid one. I am not really trying to be negative in calling the film pretentious. I am just calling it like I see it, and dictionary.com defines pretentious as:


    full of pretense or pretension.
    characterized by assumption of dignity or importance.
    making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious.

    I think 2 & 3 both apply to VALHALLA RISING. The film does take it self very seriously, and it is very visually showy and often exaggerated, so I would say it is pretentious. However, like I said I do not mean that in a negative way.

    On your point about To’s films, I would agree that they are often pretentious in the same way as VALHALLA RISING. VENGEANCE is similar to VALHALLA RISING in a number of ways including among others deliberate pacing and a number of extended extreme close up shots of the leads faces. The only things is where To may be a 9 or 10 on the pretentious scale VALHALLA RISING turns it up to 11.

  38. In my mind pretentious means an expectation of knowledge, possibly a priori knowledge from your audience. For example, it is pretentious that I just used the Latin phrase A Priori in a sentence without giving you proper context clues to decipher its meaning. I do not think pretense is necessarily a bad thing.

    I loved the first 40 pages of Lunar Park, actually. And the faux-autobiography elements of the narrative are fairly engrossing and trippy, but it falls apart long before the end and you have so much of it reworked from American Psycho, yet again.

    Honestly, I’ve never finished Glamorama. I bought a copy at a thrift store in an old folks home and took it with me on a plane ride only to discover that it was actually a signed first edition. So, I only read a very little bit…in my mind I completely forgot that I didn’t even read that. Cool, new book to read once I finish The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.

    As for Zoolander, B.E.E. was PISSED. I think he actually sued and got a pretty big settlement. Weirdly, the last person attached to star in Lunar Park was Ben Stiller. Seriously. Benicio Del Toro was also attached for a time.

  39. I can´t quite comment on this one,since it´s ages since I last saw it. I DO own it however and wilL give it a watch in a couple of hours. Right now I´m too damn busy following Eastwoods mystical strangers exploits on my lame-ass VHS-copy of HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER.

  40. Hunter, as usual your words are more eloquent and better presented then mine, but I think you and I are on on the same page about the label “pretentious” and how it is often perceived negatively.

  41. Aww shucks, Charles.

  42. Neal: Yeah, absolutely one of McTeirnan’s best–I’d actually rank it at 2nd best, even above PREDATOR, and I think PREDATOR is a great film too. I’ve never understood the general reaction too WARRIOR either. I saw it in theaters it’s opening weekend with a full audience and they loved it.And again, that’s even in the screwed-up release cut ect ect.

    It’s interesting, though: that movie is one of the very, VERY few modern American films that portrays Islam and Muslims in not only a positive but heroic light. To teach the Nordic, Aryan warrior what writing is, what does he the Arab hero write? “There is no god but God and Mohammed is his Prophet.” Now that’s damn near subversive. This is after he embarresses the white guys and calls them all “eaters of swine”, ect. And he’s the hero, and he’s the only one who can read and write, he’s the most educated and civilized person in the story–all of which is historically accurate, but it’s possible audiences in a lot of America just couldn’t accept that. I mean, keep in mind that the story is taking place long after the fall of Rome, so Christianity DOES exist, but these Vikings have apparently never heard of it, or Jesus, or even Judaism either–their first encounter with Eastern, Abrahamic monotheism seems to be with Islam. AND the plot of the movie hinges on Darwinian evolution!!! Now all that together was BOUND to piss some people off. In fact, had it not basically been dumped in theaters and had it had a better ad campaign, had more people actually been aware of it, we might even have seen some serious complaints on Fox and on talk radio, ect.

  43. I dunno, the ending of Lunar Park was one of the creepiest things I ever from Brett Easton Ellis, and that’s saying something.

    The first half of Glamorama is the usual good to great Ellis fare, but in its second half the book kicks into “super mutant Ellis on literary steroids” mode and its beautiful and brutal and psychodelic and generally amazing, so please stick with it, Mr. Hunter.

    And the thing with the reality TV crew that “follows” Victor around is a bona find brand-new literary device that every aspiring writer should pay attention to.

  44. Saw this when it first hit video and remember thinking it was incredibly stupid of the thieves to go on a drug and alcohol binge the night before a big robbery. That sorta ruined it for me, but I’m willing to give it another chance if it pops up on TV or something. I also remember Anglade kicking ass and acting like a French Gary Oldman. And Delphy getting punched in the face. Other than that, my memories are a bit hazy.

    Vern, if you like Avary, you should listen to his commentary on Romero’s Day of the Dead, it’s pretty sweet.

  45. Yeah, that’s a good commentary track. I don’t think he talks about it on there but I read in an interview once that when he found out they were doing a remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD he took a meeting with the producers pretending he wanted to write it just so he could find out what they were doing and maybe try to talk them out of it. But then before he met with them he came up with this idea that the remake should be told from the point of view of the bikers, leading up to the battle in the mall. And he liked the idea so much he pitched it to them, but they told him they were looking for something PG-13 and more like THE MUMMY. Luckily that’s not what ended up happening.

    Apparently Avary also did a commentary for the Criterion laser disc of HARD BOILED. Anybody hear that one?

  46. CC – that was SEVERED WAYS and it wasn’t great. I really liked VALHALLA RISING, but it’s release may have suffered by being too arty for the action crowd and too action-y for the art crowd.

  47. The Vikings is the best viking movie for my money. Erik the Conqueror, which was basically Bava’s low-budget rip-off of The Vikings, isn’t bad either, and Bava’s Knives of the Avenger is solid. I like 13th Warrior but it’s got a lot of problems because of the screwy production history.

    I’ve heard The Long Ships, in which vikings get mixed up with muslims, is pretty cool.

  48. Vern – I have the old Criterion DVD of HARD BOILED, that also comes with the Avary commentary, which I’ve only heard a little of. It was pretty good, edited with commentary by Woo and some critic. I remember Avary at one point wondering if part of what makes Woo’s action so awe-inspiring is the sheer amount of bloody squibs used on each person. Now I’m gonna have to dig it out again and listen to the whole thing.

    The original uncut version of THE RULES OF ATTRACTION is available on Blu-ray now. I think it’s a Best Buy exclusive and it’s pretty cheap. Still waiting for an uncut KILLING ZOE, though. I think that version is only available on French DVD and there are no subtitles for the French dialogue.

  49. The first time I watched this movie it didn`t have subtitles for the french dialogue. I especially loved the scene where Stoltz`s character is sitting and listening to this nice french lady, totally stoned out of his mind, and just enjoying the sound of french language. Later I bought the dvd and realised that she was talking about eating his poo or something like that. Does anybody know if Avery wanted the movie to be without subtitles?

  50. Am I the only one who really likes this flick? Granted I’m a sucker for those tense stuck-in-a-bank-robbery movies, and granted this is no Dog Day Afternoon (it might not even rate as an Inside Man), but it certainly hits all the things you expect from a movie in this genre.

    Speaking of…what is the greatest bank robbery movie? I mean specifically a movie about a bank robbery gone wrong with the police standoff and negotiating and some nervous pizza guy showing up and all that.

  51. – Gilmore

    Well, I think Dog Day Afternoon is the best stuck in a bank-movie. I haven`t seen Inside Man, but I can`t think of a lot of movies which is confined to a bank. But my list of great bank-robberies goes like this;

    Best set-up and escape from bankrobbery; The Wild Bunch.
    Best Shoot-out after botched robbery; Heat
    Best botched getaway; City on Fire
    Funniest gag in bankrobbery; Two Hands
    Best bankrobbermovie without bankrobbery; Resevoir Dogs
    Best bankrobbermovie with a bank; Die Hard
    Best disguise in bankrobbery; Point Break
    Best “let`s shoot heroin before we rob the biggest bank in France”-scene; Killing Zoe
    Most complicated bank-robbery-plan; Die Hard with a Vengeance
    Best driver; The Driver (runner-up; Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry)
    Best nervous pizzaguy; Dog Day Afternoon

  52. Best bankrobbermovie without a bank; Die Hard (do`h!)

  53. Best “I just robbed a bank disguised as a clown, made a daring escape, and now I can’t get the fuck out of New York because weird shit keeps happening” movie; Quick Change (Bill Murray)

  54. Does Dog Day Afternoon count as badass cinema? Is having a gay transvestite lover a badass juxtaposition? I’d have to say it doesn’t and in fact part of the point of the movie is that Pacino is pretty far from being any kind of badass (ditto his brother Fredo). But it’s still one of my favorite flicks.

  55. ThomasCrown442, you’re probably the only person in the world who can actually recall the title of this movie. Granted, everybody remembers the clown bank robbery scene and the film itself was pretty good.

    Wasn’t it a remake of the French policier or something?

  56. Yeah, I think it was a french canadian film back in the day. Quick Change is underrated little gem that my dad discovered @ blockbuster back in 1991/92 on vhs. Good times. Best part is when Bill Murray/Geena Davis/Randy Quaid witness a random jousting match between two mexican guys on bicycles (using garden tools instead of jousts). I like how it alludes to this huge backstory about why these guys are jousting and the ramifications of it, even though the scene lasts like 30 seconds. A darkly funny moment.

  57. Ramon Battershall

    March 14th, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Hookers, hookers, hookers, I grow tired with the way prostitution is portrayed as a glamorous business in the minds of adolescent Movie makers. Truly tired of the moral vacuum that is Quentin Tarantino as well, to be honest…

  58. Ramon Battershall

    March 14th, 2011 at 10:24 am

    and he’s bloody ugly !

  59. Am becoming a bit of an expert re the art of cunnilingus – it is an art too, bit tricky to start with but am now a master! Thank you for a helpful website too. Wouold your visitors be interested in this review site at all?

  60. Ah, shit, this one’s my fault. From now on, we must spell it c*nnilingus to avoid the porno robotrackers.

  61. Don’t be so quick to blame yourself. Maybe the bot misread the title as “Licking Zoe”?

  62. Today I finally watched this film in full, and I can truly only say one thing about it: It’s just not very good.

    Lately I’ve been trying to find some good (or entertainingly bad) 90’s Tarantino rip-off movies, but it’s tough to find anything I haven’t seen before. There’s just nothing else out there as laughably obnoxious as Boondock Saints (I pray every day for another sequel) or as fun as Smokin’ Aces. Haven’t seen Albino Alligator yet, but I don’t know if it counts as a Tarantino clone.

    If you guys have any suggestions, please let me know.

  63. Have you seen THE LAST DAYS OF FRANKIE THE FLY and LOVE AND A .45?

  64. I’ve always been partial to Josh Becker’s one-shot-wonder RUNNING TIME with Bruce Campbell in one of his few non-winking roles.

  65. This is not even close to the 90s, Knox, but I recommend WRONG TURN AT TAHOE, a 2009 Cuba Gooding Jr. DTV with visions of reservoir dogs dancing in its head. It’s surprisingly good, though maybe less of a surprise now that the director has gone on to do the MANIAC remake.

  66. I also like HOMEGROWN, with Billy Bob Thornton and Ryan Phillipe as Humboldt County pot farmers in over their head. There’s a great, weird supporting cast (Hank Azaria, John Lithgow, Kelly Lynch, Judge Reinhold, Jamie Lee Curtis) and that particular milieu had not been done to death at the time. Pre-WEEDS, people tended to think of marijuana as this artisanal hippie product but people got murdered over it all the same. It seems like it should be some wacky post-modern bullshit but I think it walks the line fine enough to be a real crime movie that happens to have some comedy in it.

    Also Jon Bon Jovi is a gangster with a hot tub. You know, typing out that sentence, I could be entirely wrong about the movie.

  67. Lots of new suggestions there. Thanks, guys.

    Haven’t seen Wrong Turn at Tahoe yet, Vern. I remember your positive review for it, but I think it kinda fell off my radar after being disappointed in The Hit List.

    Homegrown sounds good. I started liking Phillipe after Way of the Gun. Haven’t seen Love and a .45 yet, Griff. Someone recently recommended that and American Strays.

  68. I’m CJ. I would also recommend to you THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, but since it’s one of the more well known entries of that subgenre, I’m sure you already know it.

    There is also this late (99) Danish (!) entry named IN CHINA THEY EAT DOGS, and I admit that it’s a little bit unfair, to lump it in one bag with all those movies, because while it’s a dark humored movie about some low life criminals, who end up killing each other, it’s WAY more cartoony and less interested in aping Tarantino.

    Since we are already talking about European movies, that often are considered Tarantino inspired, but are their own thing, I also recommend you BANG BOOM BANG from Germany and pretty much the closest thing that we got to a justified cult movie over here. It also got a semi sequel with GOLDENE ZEITEN, in which some of the characters from BBB re-appear, but it’s a pretty boring movie, which’s undeniable highlight is a seriously great performance from 80s TV icon Dirk Benedict (aka The A-Team’s “Face”).

  69. Knox Harrington

    April 28th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks, Griff.

  70. If you want to see a straight forward 90’s crime film that doesn’t seem to be aware of the existence of a guy called Tarantino then I recommend Roger Donaldson’s remake of THE GETAWAY. There is nothing quirky or pretentious or winky about it. Alec Baldwin as Doc McCoy is no McQueen but he plays it straight and pulls it off. I’ll admit I was hoping he’d bust out a Junior Frenger to liven it up a bit, but it would have been out of place with Donaldson’s no frills style.

    And don’t you just love on-screen sex scenes between real-life married couples? They can really, really get into it and drop those inhibitions for our benefit.

    Also, it’s got a line up of 90’s staples in familiar roles – James Woods as The A-Hole, Jennifer Tilly as The Slut, Michael Madsen as The Scumbag Lowlife + David Morse + PS Hoffman = Joy.

  71. And Knox – for your Tarantino rip-off fetish I would recommend Kiefer Sutherlands TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES N.M. with Vincent Gallo.

  72. I just watched this. I rarely comment on movies, but this was such an imbecile inept poorly executed movie that I have to voice my opinion: a waste of time, no thrill, just dreck. A pity, because the idea might have worked. The director might consider himself as kind of Sam Peckinpah, but he is as far from Sam as piss is from honey.

  73. PS: I mean KILLING ZOE, of course….

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