I would never, ever, ever, ever in the world consider myself some sort of film critic ~ I’m just a guy who can find himself with a lot of spare time every now and then so I watch a lot of movies and then come out here and write some words about them – and hopefully I entertain a couple of people in the world. That being writ – I will totally admit that RED ROCK WEST is NOT a perfect movie. Nope – not at all – but it’s one of my favorite movies and I’ve seen it dozens of times and it ALWAYS entertains me. It’s slow and meandering (like me), there’s not really too much action (like me), there’s a lot of dark irony in here (like me) and it produced one of the lines I have said for almost 20 years: “fuckin’ story of my life…” I don’t do my ratings basing them on the canon of film – I base them on how much I like them – and I love this. This is probably not going to be for many people – but – hey – I am who I am.
So – before Nic Cage was a big name and a big star and before Dennis Hopper got super popular again, they starred in this (I think) made for Showtime movie about a Texas dude (Cage) who just wants to do his work and not bother anyone (sound familiar?) He heads out to Wyoming for a job at an oil site but his gimpy leg prevents him from getting hired. Basically broke, he stops in a bar for a cup of coffee and gets mistaken by the bartender (J.T. Walsh) as the hit-man from Texas he hired to murder his cheatin’ wife (a still smokin’ hot Lara Flynn Boyle).
Since he can’t work and he needs money, he poses as the hit-man, takes the first half of the retainer, goes off and warns Boyle (who pays him double to turn around and go kill her husband) and he heads out of town with two envelopes of hard cash. Nothing good happens after that and I love the way the rest of the movie pans out. Cage’s character is never in control of any of the situations he’s put in and things just keep getting worse and worse.
Like when he gets picked up outside of town by the real hit-man, my man Dennis Hopper who takes him right back to the bar he started at. There’s a couple of sly shots in this that make me very happy. One is early on and it shows Cage driving his car past the “NOW ENTERING RED ROCK WEST!!” highway sign. When he takes the money from Boyle and splits town, they linger on the “NOW LEAVING RED ROCK WEST” sign for a minute. After he runs some poor dude down and has to take him back in town to the hospital, we pan back to the “NOW ENTERING..” sign. When he finally gets out of there ( “NOW LEAVING..”) and Hopper picks him up, they head back to town and we see the “NOW ENTERING…” sign, you can just see the look on his face of an exasperated FUCK ME. Anyone who has read more than one of my ramblings knows that I’m not afraid to belt out a run-on sentence and I’m getting ready to fire up a doozy so fasten your safety belts.
“FUCK ME” – you know, like when you wake up on a Sunday morning and lay around in your laying-on-the-couch-watching-Parks-and-Recreation-clothes and then you’re hungry and you don’t have any food so you head up to Panera Bread in your laying-on-the-couch-watching-Parks-and-Recreation-clothes because you REALLY want one of those frozen lemonades they make and you get there and the god damned drive through is out of service but you REALLY want that frozen lemonade so you nut up and go inside and stand there while all of the church people who have descended like vultures on EVERY SINGLE ONE of the restaurants in the city look at you, in their scarves and hats and neckties, like you just woke up in the shit-filled gutter in your laying-on-the-couch-watching-Parks-and-Recreation-clothes and they sneer and act all smug (no offense good church people!!!!) and then 20 minutes later you get to the fucking counter and order your sandwich and that yummy lemonade and the lady goes “we’re not selling that this month”. That kind of FUCK ME.
Or when you’re doing this big project in your back yard – creating a type of flower bed but filled with rocks – and you calculate very carefully that you’ll need forty bags so you hop into your old truck with no A/C and drive across town to the Home Depot in the fucking 120 degree heat, sweating your ass off, and go tell the guy you need forty bags of those fucking rocks but he only has 36 so you wait there in the fucking atrium burning up in the goddamn sun while he finds someone that can operate a forklift so he can go get a new pallet and then an hour later you get your four bags, you go home, wheel the fucking things into the back yard, lay down all of the rocks and you sit down to congratulate yourself with a cold beer, look over and you have four bags left over but that’s not the worst of it because after you’ve taken a shower and washed all of the filth off of you, you go outside to admire your hard work and your dog, who you love more than anything, has determined that the four bags of rocks were his new toys and he’s run across your entire backyard with them like he just won the Super Bowl and now you have a thousand rocks strewn across your backyard just waiting to tear up your lawnmower blades and send them rocketing into your glass windows. That kind of FUCK ME.
There’s a picture of my friend B Hart and I sitting down to have a cold beer, a cocktail and celebratory cigars after the whole “rock thing”. Since I was over there at the picture wall, here’s an old pic of me with longer hair looking out at the Pacific Ocean from a beach on Maui Island (Hawai’i):
Oh yeah!! The movie!! Nothing gets any easier for Cage as the movie rolls along but I’m not in this to spoil it up. If you haven’t ever seen or heard of this, I understand – and I would recommend it BUT it’s not going to be for everyone, that’s for sure. It’s Film Noir and slow. There’s not a lot of stylish action or choreographed fighting or robots or wiener jokes or Ryan Gosling or Academy Awards – which is fine by me – and this is one of my – I don’t know… top 25 favorite movies.