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Slam Dance
Slam Dance
Actors: Tom Hulce, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Virginia Madsen, Millie Perkins, Don Keith Opper
Director: Wayne Wang
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2003     1hr 40min

An all-star castincluding Tom Hulce (Amadeus), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Perfect Storm), Virginia Madsen (The Haunting), Adam Ant (Nomads) and Harry Dean Stanton(The Green Mile)enlivens the stark stylishness of this...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Hulce, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Virginia Madsen, Millie Perkins, Don Keith Opper
Director: Wayne Wang
Creators: Don Keith Opper, Amir M. Mokri, Lee Percy, Barry Opper, Cary Brokaw, Chris Blackwell, Rupert Harvey
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/03/2003
Original Release Date: 11/06/1987
Theatrical Release Date: 11/06/1987
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

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Movie Reviews

Hitchcock gets the big Wang treatment
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 03/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Indie director Wayne Wang ("Chan Is Missing") was given a shot at a higher budget film and proved to be quite a stylish moviemaker with this largely ignored thriller from the late 80's. Almost universally panned by critics at the time of release (for no readily apparent reasons) this is one movie that deserves a second appraisal; I think it's one of the better of the 80's crop of stylish "neo noirs"--on a par with "Someone To Watch Over Me", "The Bedroom Window" and "Something Wild". Wang uses the classic Hitchcock "wrong man" scenario to push his hapless cartoonist turned murder suspect Tom Hulce through a twisty Kafkaesque nightmare with a Los Angeles backdrop.A fair amount of subtle black humor gives the film a unique flavor, as well as an excellent supporting cast. There's a bit of 80's rock star stunt casting with X's John Doe as a corrupt cop, Adam Ant (surprisingly effective) as Hulce's shady pal, and you'll have to look fast for a dreadlocked Mark Anthony Thompson in a cameo as a bartender. Not for all tastes, but a sleeper worth waking up for."
Hitchcock-style Thriller Grabs On and Doesn't Let Go
S Cleveland | Beaverton, OR USA | 09/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Charles Drood (Tom Hulce) is in the wrong place at the wrong time. By no fault of his own, he is caught in the middle of a tangled web of murder, deceit, and police corruption. With few clues to go on, he must untangle the web before it entraps him completely. The plot twists in this video wend unceasingly right to the end of the movie. If you like Hitchcock, you just might enjoy this video. It's one of my favorites."
Give this movie a chance....
Lady Weaver | Arizona | 03/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Contrary to what other reviews say about this little movie, I love it. I saw it when it first came out, have seen a couple of times since, and recently watched it again on tv. It still held up. It has a quirky style and the surprise ending is wonderful! Tom Hulce is great in it, Virginia Madsen her usual sexy self and I love the little girl who played Bean. It's not a great movie but it does have charm and wit. I hope you give it a try...."
Magpie | NH United States | 09/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Slam Dance tells the story of a Los Angeles loser named Drood who looks like Amadeus and draws unfunny cartoons for a living. He has an ex-wife with an out-of-control perm who works in a day care with a bunch of kids that look like they take the short bus (one of them hits Drood in the crotch with a rubber chicken). He also has a little daughter named Bean who likes him to take his teeth out and runs in during inappropriate moments like when Drood mistakes a nude prostitute for a secretary (don't ask).

Drood is cool enough at least to have Adam Ant play his best friend. Adam doesn't do a whole hell of a lot in this movie except wear late 80s mod clothes and come out with bad jokes like "How many surrealist painters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? The fish."

It seems that before the movie started Drood was involved with a mysterious blond played by Virginia Madsen, who made an 80s career out of playing mysterious blonds before she was in "Candyman." She was recently resurrected from the dead for the movie "Sideways" and earned an Oscar nomination for it. I'm glad the Academy is no longer prejudiced against walking corpses. But I digress. Virginia isn't in the movie very much except in flashback sequences and a reoccurring photograph where she's smiling at two men facing her wearing scuba masks looking like they're going to pee on her. But hey, she got on the DVD cover!!! She's been murdered and Drood is the main suspect. I guess because he slept with her. Among his other problems, Drood keeps getting stalked by a skinny guy wearing sunglasses and a red Members Only jacket. The guy beats up Drood a lot and sticks a gun in his face while saying stuff like "she thought you were so smart." Alluding to the concept that he knew the mysterious blond.

Flashbacks seem to be the main way Wang tells the story. And he makes that very clear about 20 minutes into the movie. Problem is, the flashbacks he's showing are things that we, the audience, viewed in the first 20 minutes as well. Why does he feel a need to show us these things again? It actually doesn't help the plot along and it just makes the movie longer. Maybe that's the point. Because actually there really isn't much of a plot to sustain the running time. To fill the gaps Wang uses the aforementioned flashbacks, music montages, and long gaps between dialogue bits. The dialogue is sparse in this film which is effective for two reasons, one because it helps to maintain the strange atmosphere (which the film has plenty of) but also because the dialogue sucks, so the less of it the better. One example:

Drood: Are you going to help me or not?
Adam Ant: No! You're a selfish f%@k! I'm calling the police.
Drood: Let me borrow your car.
Adam Ant: No.
Drood: Give me the keys.
Adam Ant: No.
Drood: I said give me the f%&king keys!!

You get the point. Somehow I don't think Wang was too concerned about the dialogue, he was more concerned about being stylish. And in that he succeeds. The film ultimately makes no sense but Wang uses a lot of deliberate pausing, an effective score, and great photography to wrap around a crappy script. Hey, it worked for me, I own it. It's a great film to have on when you want to go brain-dead or when you're playing the game, "Zombies." Other than that, forget it.