Velma (Courtney Love), a young newly wed, shares a working honeymoon with Norwood (Sy Richardson), a hit-man and bank robber. Norwood and his parents Sims (Joe Strummer) and Willy (Dick Rude) fail in the murder they have been hired to commit, pull a bank heist instead, and flee town. When their misfueled car breaks down, they bury the stolen loot and hike into an almost deserted oilfield settlement. Unfortunately, this nameless village is a hideout of the coffee-addicted McMahon Bandit gang (Kathy Burke, Elvis Costello, Bif Yeager and The Pogues). Tension, fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, mounts as the bank robbers try to keep a low profile and the sultry Velma falls for two of the McMahons. Norwood tries to keep his cool and almost manages... until Dr Farben (Dennis Hopper) and his bodyguard (Grace Jones) arrive...
Gunfight at the FUBAR Corral
- Straight to Hell review by Count Otto Black
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Poor Alex Cox. Remember how for a little while everybody thought "Repo Man" was übercool, and he was going to be the gritty, stylish bad boy of new wave cinema? But he simply didn't have the talent to build on his initial success and quickly faded into obscurity. And then a few years later, along came Quentin Tarentino and did everything Alex Cox had tried to do, only he got it right.
This is Cox's most Tarentinoesque film, right down to starring a Samuel L. Jackson lookalike in the rôle of a hit-man laying low with his gang after a chaotic robbery. And it's easy to see why Tarentino was ever so slightly more successful in the long term than Cox. Perhaps by the time he made this film Alex knew his career was going round the U-bend, because this isn't so much a movie as a romp starring all his rock-star buddies but very few real actors (apart from Dennis Hopper, who's onscreen for about 2 minutes), and some of the time they appear to be having a party rather than making a movie, as if the director knew he'd never have another chance to indulge himself this shamelessly so he might as well go for it.
The acting is uniformly dreadful, and the movie's basic reason to exist - parodying one of those ridiculously hostile spaghetti western towns where they kill strangers on sight for no reason at all - is funny enough for a 3-minute sketch, not an 80-minute feature film. Every joke is stretched far too thin, and the constant visual quotes from Alex Cox's favorite films only serve to remind the viewer how much better those movies are than the one you're watching right now. It cost $1m - peanuts for a feature film, even 30 years ago - but it didn't even come close to making it back. These days a movie like this would be crowdfunded, as Cox's most recent no-budget straight-to-DVD production indeed was. Watching this woefully self-indulgent mess, it's not hard to understand why the director of "Repo Man" and "Sid and Nancy" had such a short mainstream career.
Then again, if you're very stoned indeed, or simply not fussy what you're watching so long as stuff happens and people get shot, 80 minutes of Alex Cox's celebrity pals who are neither actors nor comedians trying to do comedy acting may perhaps float your boat. It may also appeal to people who enjoy spotting references in movies to other movies, the more obscure the better, more than the movies themselves - if you know why the butler played by Elvis Costello is called Hives, you're good at this game! Otherwise, it's of interest only if you've always wanted an answer to the question: "Whatever happened to Alex Cox?"