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#182- Buffalo ’66

Quick recap: It sounds like a typical set up for a romantic comedy- a guy lies to his parents about having a girlfriend and must find someone at the last second to keep the deception alive. Except that the guy just got out of prison. Except that his parents are total nut jobs. Except that the way he finds a girl is to kidnap one from dance class. Except that the girl is a teenager. Ignore all that and you have a solid romantic comedy!

awww.

awww.

Fun (?) fact: Vincent Gallo wrote, directed, composed music for and starred in Buffalo ’66.

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My thoughts: Buffalo ’66 is an ‘indie’ movie, to be sure, but so much darker than anything Wes Anderson could have or would have dreamed up. On its surface, it seems like the perfect film for a community like Tumblr to latch on to (and believe me, many have). The characters are beyond nutty yet also really sad and they get together in the end which is always nice. Nice, that is, if you are into ex-cons hooking up with teenage girls they have kidnapped. I personally wouldn’t go around pasting pictures of the movie with the hashtag #relationshipgoals, but to each his own, I suppose.

Shady ethical questions aside, I really did love this movie. Vincent Gallo has been called a control freak (see above fun fact), but in this case, it worked out perfectly. He was able to put all the pieces together in a way that he might not have been able to do with a partner. It’s difficult to describe the character of Billy Brown (although the word ‘tragic’ comes to mind), and I can’t imagine anyone else playing him besides Gallo. Seeing as how Gallo wrote the screenplay, only he knows the true ins and outs of the character like no one else could’ve pulled off. He disparaged Christina Ricci (his costar) in interviews about the film, and although I think she did a fine job, I don’t think anyone could’ve met Gallo’s expectations for the character Layla. Except maybe Gallo. Maybe he should’ve just been a one man show and taken full control of everything.

The characters in Buffalo ’66 are equal parts cringe-worthy, tragic and unintentionally funny. Honestly, each character could have his/her own analysis but I am in no way qualified or interested to do so. Most people might gravitate towards Billy Brown or his mother, but for me it’s Layla who I think is the most complicated. She justifiably scared when she meets him but then is able to turn into a loving wife when she meets the parents. It’s not very believable, though, which is why I loved the scene so much. I wonder what her motivation was at the time, because it had to be more than just fear of Billy Brown. When she recounts the (fictional) story of how they met the whole thing turns into a young girl having a serious infatuation with someone out of her league. And yet he isn’t, which is why the two stick together. She tells him that she loves him in the end, but is it true love or simply a teenage girl not knowing what she really wants? And Billy Brown reacting to her advances only shows how immature he is emotionally, but I still wanted it to end well, no matter how twisted the ending was.

Final review: 4/5. Let me tell you, this was a complicated movie to review, much more complicated than I originally thought it might be.

Up next: Alphaville

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