This deliberately seedy drama was written by director Adam Rifkin around the same time he wrote and directed 1991's THE DARK BACKWARD, a calculatedly bizarre would-be cult item that (deservedly) never found its cult. The script was left to fester like an abscessed tooth while Rifkin went on to direct several forgettable features and write the screenplay for MOUSE HUNT. It eventually found its way to the screen with the help of producer/real estate mogul Steve Bing, and the result is truly vile. The setting is L.A.'s grimy Golden Eagle hotel, a moldering flophouse that serves as a purgatory for the drunk, the abused and the forgotten. Over the course of a single, sweat-soaked summer night, two stories unfold. The first involves aging petty thief Tommy (real-life convicted racketeer Donnie Montemarano) and his old partner-in-crime, Mic (Vinny Argiro, a friend of Montemarano's from Brooklyn). Recently sprung after a year and a half in the stir, Tommy's ready for some action. But Mic has since gone straight: He's sobered up, gotten himself a job in a porn shop and saved enough money to get them both to Vegas. He convinces Tommy to take him up on his offer, but while Mic's busy putting in his last night of work, Tommy gets himself into a serious fix: He brutally murders Amber (Natasha Lyonne), a young prostitute. When Mic returns to find a battered and very dead hooker sprawled across his bed, a series of gruesome, nearly necrophiliac, slapstick events ensue. The second story charts the downfall of Loriann (Nicole Jacobs), a 15-year-old runaway who falls into the greasy clutches of "producer" Rodan (Vinnie Jones). Obviously a pimp, Rodan hands Loriann over to Amber's streetwalking friend, Sally (Ann Magnuson), and orders her to groom the pretty young thing for her new career: having sex with offensive ethnic stereotypes for pocket change. Rifkin no doubt fancies himself something of a Hubert Selby Jr., but there isn't an ounce of honest poetry in his entire script; it's simply crude and unrelentingly exploitative. He manages to degrade an interesting cast — including Fayard Nicholas, once half of the great Nicholas brothers tap duo; soul great Sam Moore of Sam and Dave fame; and former Russ Meyer supervixen Kitten Natividad, who's shown doing a grotesque peep-show bump and grind — while the homeless, the mentally ill and the generally downtrodden are scattered about like so much shabby furniture. Rifkin has no qualms about wallowing in their filth, but he misses the tragedy of their lives — just as he misses everything else.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: R
- Review: This deliberately seedy drama was written by director Adam Rifkin around the same time he wrote and directed 1991's THE DARK BACKWARD, a calculatedly bizarre would-be cult item that (deservedly) never found its cult. The script was left to fester like an a… (more)