Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jimmy And Judy: Edward Furlong Falls From Grace

Jimmy And Judy: Ha ha ha. . .this is one of the great bad movies in the recent history of Amerikan cinema. . .and an excellent example of the dangerous long-term side-effects of the lax security at our nation’s multiplexes, which allows 14-year-olds to sneak into R movies. . .for one can easily imagine the filmmakers of this gem from the garbage heap of Amerikan *indy* fare being impressionable lads of 14 when Natural Born Killers was released. . .hence, thirteen years later, this amateurish homage to Oliver Stone’s screwball crime flick. Jimmy and Judy is the hilariously bad mockumentary of two misfits embarking on a Paxil-ated Starkweather/Fugate-esque spree across Kentucky (Kentucky!?!?).

The *star* of this disaster is Edward Furlong.

Edward Furlong! Edward Furlong!

Fifteen or so years ago, when he was a teenager himself, Furlong was one of Amerika’s greatest actors. He had the ability to perfectly portray the disaffected Amerikan youth, the punk who will drop into and then drop out of whatever subculture is the flavor of the day. . .the bored teen nihilist, desperate for diversion from the stultifying McAmerikan culture.

Furlong’s natural brilliance was first displayed in the ignored masterpiece American Heart, and then reached its peak when, at age twenty, Furlong played a teen skinhead in the monumental American History X. Furlong successfully transitioned to adult roles in the overlooked Mickey Rourke classic Animal Factory. . .and then. . .and then he must have died. . .for what we see in Jimmy and Judy cannot be Edward Furlong! This flabby, double-chinned 30-year-old man playing a 20-year-old misfit? The frail, world-weary at fifteen icon of the Larry Clark Kids generation is a flabby grown up still trying to play a nonconformist punk? Well, perhaps in ten years Eddie can play a pedophile and resurrect his career, just like Jackie Earle Haley did in Little Children. . .

As for the movie itself, Furlong plays Jimmy, a twenty year old rebel with a video camera who skulks around his hometown filming all the rotten adventures of his gloomy life. . .indeed, the entire film is seen through the lens of Jimmy’s camera. . .an annoying gimmick which would seem to serve no other purpose than to limit the number of scenes in which the flabby old Furlong and his young real-life wife co-star are discordantly seen together in various stages of undress. . . but anyway. . .Jimmy has been kicked out of college for some vague reason having to do with a roommate who committed suicide and who taped the act on Jimmy’s video camera. . .the trauma from the roommate’s suicide, or the trauma from witnessing his parents’ cross-dressing sadomasochistic anal couplings (Parenting Rule #1: never leave your bedroom door ajar while your video-camera-carrying 20-year-old son is in the house) fuels poor Jimmy’s personality disorder, which leads him to multiple hospitalizations. On one break between stints in the loony bin, Jimmy visits his old high school and witnesses poor Judy, a girl he has apparently known and had a crush on for most of his life, being bullied for apparently no other reason than she looks like she could be the half-gentile daughter of Sandra Bernhard. . .Jimmy *cleverly* engineers revenge on Judy’s tormentors, and her life-long indifference to him instantly melts away, and she *falls madly in love.*

Judy (here’s your chance to see one of The Ring girls nude) is a female version of the type of character Furlong used to play. . .she hooks up with Jimmy for no other reason than his dangerous madcap schemes are her only alternative to the dreary suburban Amerikan life she hates so much. . .but anyway. . .stuff happens. . .like Judy runs over a bum in some Kentucky ghetto, so Jimmy wisely decides to pack him in the trunk of the car. . .surprise, Jimmy and Judy immediately get pulled over by the police! Jimmy shoots the cop, and, after setting fire to the bum’s corpse and picking at the melting head with a small tree branch, voila!, Jimmy and Judy are now *on the run!* This *action* comprises about the first half of the film, and it is miserably bad, with Jimmy and Judy’s juvenile antics and dialogue (“it feels like God has stuck a thousand daggers into my heart, and only you can take them out,” Jimmy solemnly intones to Judy) frequently interrupted with their juvenile fornicating. . .

The second half of the movie frequently rises to the level of poor-to-mediocre, as we witness Jimmy and Judy seeking sanctuary with Jimmy’s weird loony bin crystal meth pal Dinko, who unfortunately spoils his guests’ stay when he tries to rape a skanky white crank addict. Naturally an outraged Jimmy and Judy take it upon themselves to murder Dinko. The doomed lovers (uh, I didn’t just spoil the plot, did I?) then next visit a crank commune, a kind of crystal meth-ized cross between Elohim City and the Koresh compound, run by a cult leader who, for no known reason, calls himself *Uncle Rodney* (played with the intensity of an Old Testament prophet by the veteran character actor William Sadler, who preaches, with a nubile crank addict across his knee, modern Amerikan doom). . .more sex and violence and violent sex happens at the commune, and Jimmy and Judy are forced to take to the road again, with fate now closing in fast. . .and with a low budget Thelma & Louise climax, this crazy, mixed-up arrested development of a movie crashes to The End.

The laugh-out-loud awfulness of the first half of the movie, combined with the lurid, sleazy crank gothics of the second half and the spectacle of a gone-to-seed Furlong (watching him flabbily frolic with a shotgun, clad only in his underwear, is a real hoot) make this a classic from the Ed Wood School of Cinema. *

No comments: