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"The Brown Bunny"

Directed by Vincent Gallo.
"Written" by Vincent Gallo.
Starring Vincent Gallo, Vincent Gallo, Vincent Gallo and Vincent Gallo's dong.
Release Year:  2003
Review Date:  9/15/04


Fucking shit was the worst fucking shit of the year.  "The Brown Bunny" was amongst the worst dogshit I have every fucking seen, but it wasn't quite as bad as "Gerry", a film that is shockingly similar for so many fucking reasons that you need to go out right now, rent "Gerry", be angry and bored concurrently and then go out and see the motherfucking Vincent Gallo flick "The Brown Bunny" just to see my point.

A plot summary is useless here because Vincent Gallo--much more focused in "Buffalo '66" that he is here--decided to fuck with the good people of the world and make a movie about absolutely nothing.  My buddy Yac, who prior to this film was someone I could take seriously, actually tried to tell me he thought "The Brown Bunny" was a "strong" Matinee, to which I almost wanted to beat him in the presence of others.

"What", I asked, "could you POSSIBLY recommend about that dogshit film?"

"Well," Yac began, knowing his argument would fall into the void of insanity, "after that ending, I have to admit, it kind know, all comes together."

I was speechless.  "The Brown Bunny" is basically a 15-minute film wrapped in a 93-minute package; it is amazingly similar to a bag of Lays chips, in that there is so much air in the bag that by the time you get to the minimal amount of chips in the bag, you are left with instant disappointment.  Gallo, who also shot parts of the film, uses long running masters of plain useless footage; a three-minute shot of his character Bud riding on his motorcycle into the distance, or a five-minute shot of a neighborhood that Bud is driving around in, or a four-minute shot of ChloŽ Sevigny's character Daisy...bobbing for apples in Bud's lap.

Being the last man on Earth that had not heard about the very, VERY real fellatio scene in the trades (I guess that should be easy, since I don't read anything), even that comes off as gratuitous and, I wasn't planning on having to stare at Gallo's johnson for about five minutes of screen time.  I'll admit, I would LOVE to know how Gallo got Sevigny to agree to do the scene, because in the "tough sell" category, this one takes the cake!

But soon after this, we get an explanation for all of Bud's loner-ism in one trite, fly-by-night number, and then it's over.  I'm sure there are those out there that look at a film like this as if it is high art, and I'm going to quash that notion right away, because the filmmaking of "The Brown Bunny" is at times beyond abysmal.  In part this is due to the editing, which allows any tense drama to dissipate between episodes; a dramatic pit stop with an older woman (Cheryl Tiegs, looking haggard as all get out) is effective, then we go ten minutes watching Bud drive to nowhere and kick-starting his dirtbike to ride into the midday sun.  Or, we get a great opening sequence that is parlayed into a quirky, useless bit with the mother of Daisy...and then, another ten minutes of Bud driving cross-country.  The camerawork is uninspired; the soundtrack does do a good job of conveying the loneliness of the Bud situation, but it's almost a distraction because the music is just so bad.  Apparently, the version of this that was shown at Cannes is literally 30 minutes longer than the version we got here in the States; apparently lots of folks told Gallo

"Brah, your shit's too long, nooka!  You need to put the clamps on or Bellview's gonna be pissed!"

and, even with this version, it's at least 20 minutes too long, if not more.  All that being said, even when you compare "The Brown Bunny" to "Buffalo '66", the latter had flashes of brilliance but the former seems to have nothing like that.

That, and "The Brown Bunny" is a fucking piece of shit.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09