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'traffic violation' dr . daniel's review of u-turn
dr . d's rating : critical condition (
okay , here's the deal .
i'll be the first one to grant that everybody needs a day off now and then .
i'll even go so far as to say that a vacation is a necessary part of doing any job well .
i mean , hey , i've been known to stretch a weekend into a three-day outing , if friday looks to be a slow day .
and if monday ain't looking like a pick-me-up , well , i've been known to give martha nell a call and say , " do me a favor , sweetheart .
bump old man ferguson's boil lancing to tuesday morning , and tell miss audrey that i'll swing by her house monday evening and see if we can't get her trick knee back in line . "
a simple sentence like that , and i've got a nice four-day fishing trip with the boys , or more often than not , a trip up to cherokee , n . c . , for jackpot bingo and assorted other mountain funnery .
but the point is , if you take a day off , do something different .
if you've worked yourself silly for months , relax a bit .
sleep in .
eat pancakes at noon .
microwave an egg in its shell .
watch pro wrestling with the sound off .
listen to some barry white records at high speed .
whatever .
but do not , under any circumstances , spend your vacation doing the same thing you do for a living .
and , if you do , don't make the final product look ten times worse than it would any other time .
because i do not want to hear your sob stories , oliver stone .
you apparently thought you needed a break from making " important films . "
cool .
so you found this hinky little book and decided to make it a movie .
that's cool , too .
but , ollie , old sage , do not take a good story and a hot cast and make one of the most pointless and worthless films of the decade .
i'm just eager to meet you one day , so i can buy you a stoli , look you in the eye and say , " what in the wide world of sports were you thinking with u-turn ? "
and i'll stand there staring 'til i get a straight answer .
sean penn stars u-turn , as bobby , a drifter who's had some troubles a while back .
he's heading cross the desert minus two fingers when his mustang ragtop blows a radiator hose , stranding him in superior , arizona , held there by an " ignorant , inbred , turtleneck hick " of a mechanic named darrell .
while darrell puts a new hose on the ride , bobby walks into town to see what's cooking .
is it needless of me to say that superior , arizona , is not exactly the shiny scrubbed home of all things lovely ?
probably not .
bobby meets up with grace ( jennifer lopez ) , who invites him back to her place , for drape-hanging and other domestic issues .
just as those issues are starting up , grace's husband , jake , storms in , looking like check-out day of the elks lodge convention .
just beats bobby silly .
bobby takes to the road , only to meet up with jake again , and jake asks bobby to kill grace .
a little while later , grace asks bobby to kill jake .
them murderous arizonians .
gotta love 'em .
if any of this sounds familiar , congratulations .
you win a kewpie doll .
the story is a straight shoplift of red rock west , a cult favorite a few years back from john dahl , maker of the phenomenal the last seduction .
but the contest doesn't end there , guys and gals .
we get steals from russ meyer movies , where everybody in town is horny and sweaty .
we get the town from bad day at black rock , minus the train , plus busty women who can speak .
look at any schwarzenegger film , and you'll see our hero , bobby , as bobby has a mudhole stomped in his keister a dozen times , has his ribs stove in at least fifteen times , gets bit by a tarantula , gets shot at , and ends up with vultures circling overhead , all the while getting up like he just got a shaving nick .
bobby as terminator ?
stretch it a bit , and we have a five-finger discount from doc hollywood , where the whole story occurs because of car trouble , forcing the main character to stay at the mercy of the town and the mechanic .
okay , he's working from a book , so maybe ollie's not totally to blame for blatantly copping these ideas .
i just expect a man who can make up an alternative history of the united states to be able to craft a few original ideas before exposing the negative .
i just wish he hadn't brought a cast like this together for what amounts to a group toe-stub .
sean penn gives a great performance , and jennifer lopez and nick nolte are as on target as they can be , playing over-the-top caricatures of stereotype characters .
the best thing about the movie is watching penn react to the madness around him and try to figure out exactly what the blankety-blank is going on .
too bad it's not fun to watch when it's happening to us . . . while
we sit through this mess of a film .
u-turn is not a bad film if you're a fan of technique .
it's the oliver stone you've always known .
robert richardson is his usual cinematographer , and rob and ollie know how to shoot a flick -- great camera angles , shifting viewpoints , wicked colors , nice looking pictures .
but pictures of what ?
i think i'd rather stare at a xeroxed envelope for two hours than try to figure out the tilt-o-whirl point of this loser film .
plot twists are one thing , repetition is almost unforgivable , and this is dang near as unforgivable as any movie i've seen in the past five years .
oliver , i know your body of work is nothing to sniff at .
you've been nice enough to limit us to only one doors movie , and films like platoon , jfk , wall street and nixon give us plenty to dig on .
your scripts are certainly respectable , your budgets are up there on the screen , and your actors don't dog it .
and i know that , maybe , with u-turn , you were just kicking back , just having fun .
that's fine .
but don't do that with a movie with the potential of this one .
do some police academy sequel ( imagine that . )
do a big comedy , like a remake of it's a mad , mad , mad , mad world .
but do not drop a limp u-turn out of your pocket and expect us to accept it as " an oliver stone movie , " and not question why it stinks like week-old snook .
there's a right way to have fun , and a wrong way to have fun .
this was as wrong as you can get without going to jail .