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Bad Lieutenant Deserves Serious Release

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 27, 2009 at 2:23AM

In this day and age, any indie movie that gets a release at all is lucky, I suppose.
Thompson on Hollywood

In this day and age, any indie movie that gets a release at all is lucky, I suppose.

But Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is getting a raw deal. As I reported all along, it is, contrary to some reports, getting a limited theatrical release in November. When financeer Avi Lerner isn't able to get the upfront cash he wants on a movie, he puts it out through his micro-distributor First Look. (At least he has that option.)

But Bad Lieutenant (which is remotely related to the 1992 Abel Ferrara/Harvey Keitel original) isn't some fancy-dancy high-end festival picture. It plays! (So far, its reviews are raves.) At Telluride and Toronto, the folks ate up Nic Cage's hugely entertaining performance. There's box office in this New Orleans comedy-thriller about a wacked-out-cop on the rampage, if someone would put some P & A behind it. More than most stars, Cage can pull audiences. It seems a shame to throw this away.

Too bad Lerner can't hire the Paramount marketing team, because they could do wonders with a viral campaign for this. Maybe Lerner could try the demand-a-movie approach: if audiences demand to see it in their town, will he book it?

This article is related to: Genres, Headliners, Independents, Indies, Marketing, comedy, Nic Cage

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.