Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fool for Love|
Actors: Sam Shepard, Kim Basinger, Harry Dean Stanton, Randy Quaid, Martha Crawford
Directors: Robert Altman, Greg Carson
Sam Shepard and Kim Basinger "ignite a sexual bonfire whose embers will haunt you" (People) in this explosive tale of doomed love and loss in the barren, unforgiving West. Based on Shepard's own award-winning play and dire... more »
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A great Robert Altman ? Sam Shepard collaboration
jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 05/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first perceptions one has of a work of art likely set one's standard by which that work is subsequently judged in comparison with its presentation in another medium. For example if the work is first encountered as a stage-play, then that form becomes the defacto standard for later comparisons, and a subsequent film of that work will likely never achieve one's preconceived expectations. This reviewer first encountered "Fool for Love" in a local theatre in 1985, never having seen the original play.Readers who are fans of Tennessee Williams' PBS/Showtime 1984 TV version of "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" with Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones (forget the worthless and sickeningly bowdlerized 1958 Taylor-Newman version, a perfect example of how rampant, uncontrolled religious censorship runs amok and destroys a work of art); or fans of Eugene O'Neill's 1960 "The Iceman Cometh (the Broadway Archive version with Jason Robards); will find this film fits neatly within that pantheon. With this work, Sam Shepard's genius rightly assumes co-equal rank with that of both Williams and O'Neill.But there is a difference between this film and that of the two outstanding films cited above. This work is NOT just the filming of a great stage-play inside some cheesy New Mexico motel room. Director Altman actually had the complete, rundown "El Royale" motel-cabin, restaurant-bar and junkyard complex built to his specifications outside Sante Fe, where a 360 degree camera sweep would reveal nothing else beyond the complex but the isolated, lonely mountainous and grassy scrubland just off the interstate. The set is complete with flickering burned-out neon; abandoned vehicles; curtain-covered "kitchenette", tiny bath lavatory, medicine cabinet and stool in every cabin; and urine-God-only-knows-what-else stained mattresses (with bed vibrators); a way-station for desperate travelers going elsewhere. Director Altman reports in the documentary that the film set construction was so realistic, travelers passing on the interstate would actually stop and try to book accommodations or eat in the "restaurant."Character interactions are complex and intense, at times funny yet simultaneously deadly serious, loaded with crackling, sizzling dialog and byplay which run tempestuously hot and cold. While these behaviors seem initially inexplicable, they are driven by past events, which growing intimations and clarifications gradually unveil. The present day portrayals are freely intermixed with metaphors and ghostly influences from that past. The shocking realities of that past are shown in flashback with all the contradictions and lies of convenience that creep into such re-telling. The way these elements are brought seamlessly together make this a film of such depth that it screams out for multiple viewings to appreciate its full merits. Because of the vitality and completeness down to every last detail; a large background cast of other people including bit-parts and stand-ins for principal actors when they were younger; horses and cattle galore; functioning beat-up cars, trucks with dirty windshields and horse-trailers; and characters' past flashbacks filmed in a variety of supporting locales; this production never once assumes the aura of its stage-play origins. No matter how much one touts the supremacy of the original play, one would have to concede that there are elements of this joint Altman-Shepard recreation of Shepard's original that would simply be impossible to realize on the stage. Sam Shepard's screenplay is perfectly realized. Robert Altman's direction of the story, the actors, and the background settings is nothing short of masterful. The cast is uniformly superb. Pierre Mignot's beautifully clear and largely night-time color cinematography and George Burt's musical assemblage blend it all together into an unforgettable masterpiece of cinematic art. A fascinating 20 minute making-of documentary by Robert Altman (refreshingly low-key in comparison to the usual rampant narcissism displayed in too many such documentaries) is included, along with the original theatrical trailer. The DVD's 1.85:1 original theatrical aspect ratio picture quality is excellent. Sound is fine, though stereo surround effects are muted or non-existent, not a problem as such effects could make no contribution. Like Williams and O'Neill, Shepard has created a highly cerebral film. Those who are teen-age action-adventure addicts need not waste their time on this pre-eminently adult fare"
Excellent 20 years ago, still excellent.
Old and Cranky | Michigan | 06/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eighteen, 19, 20 years ago, I first saw this film. I loved it, my teenaged kids loved it. I had no idea Sam Shepard had written the play, or even that there was a play, though it seems obvious now. We watched this over and over. I still play the sound track, sung, I found out somewhere recently, by Sam's sister, Sandy Rogers--talk about alternative country! I still watch this film from time to time. It's enchanting, it's funny, it's mysterious, and there's that kick-ass soundtrack. It never gets old for me."
Really good, but sometimes slow and hard to watch.
Jennifer Miller | Seattle, WA | 02/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I love Sam Shepard, so I'll see or read just about anything he's done. This one's a little hard to watch, though, partly because of pace, partly because of a slight bit of over-dramatizing from actors and director, and partly because of subject matter. Despite all this, it's still worth watching."