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April 18, 2008

DVD Journal: "Twentynine Palms"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --


Twentynine Palms: A real snoozer of a Euro art film, American road-movie division. Two chic Euros take a drive into the California desert, stay in crappy hotels, eat awful food, and swim in tacky pools. Every now and then they pause to argue or to have sex, or both. It takes nearly-forever for next-to-nothing to happen in Bruno Dumont's film. Oh, the emptiness of it all -- and, of course, Oh, the crudeness and brutality of America. Easy joke: Makes “Zabriskie Point” look like Busby Berkeley. Fast-Forwarding Score: One-half of the movie. Preferred arty-erotic purchase: Clement Virgo's seductive and very alive "Lie With Me," with daring and attractive performances by Eric Balfour and Lauren Lee Smith, now on sale for a mere $7.99. I wrote about "Lie With Me" and some other arty sex films back here.



posted by Michael at April 18, 2008


Well, if they managed to make a more obnoxious movie that Zabriskie Point, that in itself is an achievement.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on April 18, 2008 12:37 PM

Sorry, "that" should have been "than" in my earlier comment.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on April 18, 2008 2:07 PM

i saw it a couple years ago. yeah, it felt like a mash of zabriskie point and brown bunny.(2 films i actually like despite their reputations) i only saw it cause i used to be in love katerina golubeva (from pola x...i know i know how pretensious and melodramatic that film is it was a guilty pleasure of mine years ago.) golubeva wasn't as alluring in this film as that one.

i liked "lie wtih me" i thought the girl was really sexy with her sleepy eyes but i'm not sure it's really what i'd call a good movie. liked virgo's earlier "rude" more as an actual film. i think it's interesting that he made a film of his girlfriend or wife's book "lie with me" and based on lie with me i think he'd be good at directing porn. (though not the kind widely available.)

Posted by: t. j. on April 18, 2008 2:09 PM

Lester -- Good point. The true landmarks must be respected.

T.J.-- I think we must be sharing headspace. The main reason I wanted to see Twentynine Palms was to see if Golubeva (who I thought I'd enjoyed in Pola X) really had something going for her or not. It's funny: I wonder why some pretentious Euro-style-sneers at America are kinda sexy and fun (I sort of liked Brown Bunny too), while others are a big snore. Thanks for tipping me off to "Rude." I see it can be bought at Amazon for about three bucks, so I'll be pulling the One Click soon. Virgo's very talented!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 18, 2008 2:57 PM

i listened to the commentary track for "lie with me" sometime ago with virgo and the girl from the film. the girl just sorta giggled along at whatever virgo said threw out the film and wasn't what i'd call interesting. virgo talked about his director influences (truffaut a bit and norman jewison a lot, suprisingly, citing the influence of the original thomas crown affair as an influence on certain scenes) and his girlfriend or wife(can't remember)'s book and what he wanted to achieve with the film. the girl in the book apparently sleeps with a lot more guys then in the film, where it's only alluded to that she has quite the sexual past.

Posted by: t. j. on April 18, 2008 3:56 PM

Has anyone else seen the road movie "Two Lane Blacktop," with Dennis Wilson and James Taylor? The Amazon description of this brought it to mind.

Posted by: Days of Broken Arrows on April 19, 2008 7:42 AM

Yeah, I saw Two-Lane Blacktop a few years ago. Prior to seeing it, I'd read commentary over the years that really had me anticipating the film, especially for Warren Oates' performance, which was nominated for an Oscar, as I'm a big fan of his performances for Sam Peckinpah.

My reaction: huge disappointment. It's very much an artifact of its time, much like Easy Rider, another '60s touchstone whose huge success now sems inexplicable.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on April 20, 2008 5:19 AM

I'll top all of you, and put my film-buff credentials at risk too: I've never watched a single Monte Hellman movie. No real reason why not, just seems to have happened that way. I suppose I should fill in the blank some day...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 20, 2008 11:16 AM

twenty nine palms seems more brown bunny/zabriskie point/michael haneke then two lane black top to me. i think girls might find the guy in palms to be attractive in a poor man's gallo kinda way.

michael you should see "the shooting" with oates and jack nicholson if you haven't seen any hellman...or cockfighter.

Posted by: t. j. on April 20, 2008 11:55 AM

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