Running Scared In The Valley

by tully
December 5, 2006 6:18 AM
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I just watched what very well might be the two craziest movies released in 2006 (not counting LADY IN THE WATER, of course, which is a universe unto itself).

The first was Wayne Kramer's RUNNING SCARED. Wow. Did this movie really get made? Did I really watch what I watched? Did that really happen? Like, if I rented it again and put it in the DVD player and pressed play, would that movie still be there? I guess what I'm asking is, somebody made this movie for people to watch and I, being one of those people, actually watched it? I didn't dream it up? Are you sure? Because I have a hard time believing that Wayne Kramer's RUNNING SCARED (not the 1986 Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines classic) 1) was written, 2) found financing, 3) got made, and 4) received an R-rating. To be completely honest, the entire time I was watching it, all I kept thinking was "Why was this movie made?" I wish I could say it was a visceral thrill-ride of cinematic bravado, but instead I found it to be a completely pointless thrill-ride of cinematic excess. But Vera Farmiga makes me feel all tingly inside and the "I'm a mack-daddy pimp!" line made me rewind to confirm that, yes, that weird man had actually said that, so it wasn't a total waste, I suppose.

The second was David Jacobson's DOWN IN THE VALLEY, which is like a Zucker Brothers parody of BADLANDS with a splash of TAXI DRIVER thrown in for good measure. I watched the Q&A on the DVD afterwards, only to learn that Jacobson and Edward Norton took the film seriously. Ha! That's funnier than the film itself! And what a funny film it is. But does it mean that I should consider it a failure if my interpretation--and appreciation--of DOWN IN THE VALLEY would not be pleasantly interpreted--and appreciated--by Jacobson and Norton? Not at all. I had an absolute blast watching this thing and deem it to be one of the year's best comedies. Congratulations, David and Edward!

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More: Film in General


  • Phoebe | December 7, 2006 7:17 AMReply

    I saw Down in the Valley at the LA film festival opening night a couple of years ago - Had the same reaction - LOVED the first hour - Was completely engrossed, then it went to hell - was ready to scratch my eyeballs out by the time the thing ended - I do admit I thought about it for days afterward - trying to figure out why someone didn't get in there and edit the crappy ending out...hmmm..

  • David Lowery | December 6, 2006 10:30 AMReply

    I liked the first hour or so of Down In The Valley. Then it went to hell. I like what Roger Ebert said about them waking up on a movie western set - it's not just symbolism, but Symbolism!