If you have lived in LA, and soaked in it’s lifestyle of leisurely drinking and wanton time wasting, then you will revel in this movie. If you haven’t, then it’s going to read like pathetic, lost wildebeest looking for a way to bite its own leg out of a bear trap.
In LA, you are valueless, cloned by the dozens, wandering concrete, it’s a battle to drown out your own worthlessness.
I lived in LA, I drank alot of booze and I had money, once upon a time. So I like this movie because I can relate to it. I understand its compass and the reason for its statements.
Lukas Haas ( Zach ) is a rich, semi handsome, mellow, inner turmoil drunk with money to burn and dark nights to watch the fire dance against. Jumping from shallow aquantaince to money-seeking missiles of women, he trips over Crazy Eyes ( Madeline Zima ). Long legged, hopscotching into taxis, bars and anything that is about to be wreaked, she rides the rails of disaster with a curvy smile and deep, lying eyes.
They drink together cause when he says you want to get a drink she says yes, and when he wants to have sex with her, she says NO. Lukas mistakes this for some type of personality or character missing from his shallow end of the pool life.
No can be so attractive when your money buys all, sometimes it’s fun just to hear no.
Crazy can’t decide to kiss Zach or slap him, so she does both, because she loves to hate him. It’s LA’s personality down to a tee. Beautiful, crying, needing, wanting to eat, to fill up but nothing ever sustains itself. It slaps what it loves because it has no other means to attract a meal.
They play rape, Crazy fights off his advances often with extreme violence, biting and scarring him. But she always returns with a smile, signage to prove it’s all ok, she’s just holding out for the drinks and the sheer enjoyment of torturing Zach and him lingering with it. She fornicates with strangers in the back seats of cars only to exit a moment later puking against a familiar LA concrete wall, outside a bar.
When Crazy Eyes vomits, and she does a lot, she precedes with the exclamation of the obvious: “I’m going to puke”, A TRIUMPHANT, gleeful tongue dance that she has been working towards the entire night or perhaps her life is merely a pause between puking.
And when Crazy does puke it’s an orchestral, psychedelic mosh of vibrant color and painted squid from the expensive restaurant earlier. Soft waves of light and strong darks often romantisize the night, then morning light from even a richman’s windows are stark contrast to the night. Even Crazy Eyes has to squeal, “Fuck, I’m still drunk, we slept till 4pm and I’m not hung over, I’m still fucking drunk.”
What Crazy is trying to puke out of herself or numb herself out of is never made clear, other than the nebulous LA life that demands you sacrifice yourself to it, or move out of town.
A drunken lunatic once yelled at me from her balcony in one of those famous California prison cell type railings circle with a concrete center with a suicide pool apartment buildings: “Get the hell out of my town”. Who owns who is really the question. I was laughing until I almost drunkenly fell into the filthy, empty concrete hole, with blood stains from the last up-looking idiot, in the center of the mental ward.
Zach, though preoccupied with Crazy Eyes, drinks even more to forget the feeling of abuse. Still he takes time to amiably wander in and out of other women’s lives, to fill the time until he can wear down Crazy with his money tricks and mind mazes all played slyly from behind wine-soaked eyes.
Bar owner of Zach’s fav hangout and drunken only friend, Jake Busey, stands as the perfect foil in need and without judgement. Busey jumps into fights, sex and guzzling everything from booze to coke with earnest and dragging that LA essence with him, like a blazing banner of elitism. “Not in my bar” Busey declares. His bar is LA, and when you step into his bar get ready to meet the representative, bleached blond and husky with a wanton abandonment at hurling punches that even the best westerns haven’t matched.
Money buys the friends and women that want the money for booze that buys the forgetting. Until it’s morning and another cycle starts as fast as the walking toxic livers can recuperate.
Smooth montage and lyrical images often sweep the frame to drain us of judgement or anxiety. The images create a juxtaposition of images to lull us into accepting the circumstances and not judge the characters. It’s difficult to gather the effrontery of not accepting their rationals.
During it all, there is little judgement. Even when Crazy Eyes’ side boyfriend appears in Busey’s bar only to get brutally beaten up, Zach is quietly pouring himself a beer.
It’s all going to end in death anyway, Zach tells his small son tied to a child’s back seat in a car. And to echo that truth, Zach’s father has a sudden stroke. He lays for a short time in the hospital and Zach silently endures the obvious nature of life until his father dies.
If Charles Bukowski had money, this is what his life would have been perhaps.
When Crazy Eyes suddenly decides to succumb to Zach’s pleas for sex, it’s a short moment of twister, no epiphany, no pillow talk. He agrees she was right, there was no spark, no special moment. Tears fall and Crazy suddenly shows why she was so damn crazy and Zach proves why she needed to be: to protect herself, to rule an unstable life by being crazy.
He gives her what she wanted: yet another reason to be fearful, and he descends again to search for an irrational reason to desire something you don’t really want, but cling to, just to feel something even if it’s an obvious lie.
Squeeze something from life before death snatches it from you.