James B. (wandersoul73) from LINDALE, TX Reviewed on 3/2/2010...
Brad Pitt sure does have a talent for picking cult classics, or does he pay for someone to help in those matters... either way this one is too cool for school, lol.
Is Johnny For Real?
James P. Kimble | Toms River, NJ USA | 06/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Johnny Suede" is a wonderfully refreshing off-beat comedy that blends surrealism and a critical pop-culture sensibility while challenging film conventions in a playful, entertaining way. The story follows would-be retro rocker "Johnny" (Brad Pitt) though his adventures in love and music. Katherine Keener plays Johnny's "real" love interest as the girl who rescues him from his shallow ambitions. This is an extremely unusual film that mixes magical events and dream sequences energizing the work with a highly surreal feeling. Set in a decaying and spooky section of Brooklyn, the relationships between characters take on a greater, more universal significance. If I didn't know better, I might consider Tom Dicillo a cinematic genius, with a touch of Beckett for good measure. But, funny enough....In an interview years later, Tom Dicillo said that "Johnny Suede," his first feature film, was the product of a "shooting nightmare." According to Dicillo, Brad Pitt (Johnny Suede) played the character as if he recently had a "frontal lobodomy." There was even a suggestion in the interview that Pitt willfully dumbed-down the character despite Dicillo's direction to play him as an ordinary mixed-up guy "just trying to figure things out." There was even a hint that Pitt was intentionally sabotaging the shoot as buzz began to circulate that he was destined for stardom (think Thema & Louise). However, I believe he was simply too good an actor to take a character like Johnny without irony. Dicillo considers the movie a failure and said that he was forced to leave in strange, awkward scenes because he simply had no choice (read money) to shoot them again."Johnny Suede" remains forever a puzzle. Is Johnny brain-dead or really a perfect symbol for a fallen and lost humanity? Nobody knows...Perhaps, the wasteland in which the action takes place is merely a sign of low-budget, low-awareness-film-making, or is it a deeper, more spiritual wasteland, one in which we all inhabit? Do we, like Johnny, need to have a shoe tossed into our face to understand the true nature of love. Is Tom Dicillo just writing about himself, or did he really intend to make one of the dreamiest, way-cool films about love and art? Nobody knows..."
A man , his shoes and his imagination.
James P. Kimble | 01/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's a stillness all through Johnny Suede that for some reason brings more atmosphere and tone than if it was a feverish exhibition in recounting motion and reality. Suede's dreams, hopes,romances even haircut are stilted - a lack of real interaction or movement. His life is going nowhere. Johnny Suede is disillusioned yet he finds shoes, not just any shoes but suede shoes that give him an identity and a direction. Immeditaly his life picks up , he finds a beautiful girl, gets some sexual tips, loses girl yet finds another. In terms of plot that is about it. The only other vital information is that Johnny has a dream - he wants to sing - sing in a fifties ultrasmooth style that is long since deceased. Tom DeCillio, with this as his first movie, has created a not only a weird and wonderful bit of film yet also a wacky and surreal empty world where your imagination might just push you to realise your dreams, in your imagination. Much of the movies abundant humour comes from Brad Pitts (in easily his best role apart from maybe his turn in True Romance) innocent, dumb, dreamer. His deadpan manner in which he shows us his struggling, carrot eating want to be artist is the perfect rebel without a brain. All the style and image of James Dean with none of the intelligence or drive. The romance of an eternal loser! All the better. The film flows to the infectious twang of a plucked bass tune that for some reason gives Suede's meandering's an almost heroic feel. Is it worse to be an idiot who believes in dreams or an average person fully in touch with modern reality? Adventures are what people make of them and Suede preceded by DeCillio make little monumental ones. The musician Nick Cave (cult Australian and fully functioning practitioner of the violent carnivalesque) puts in a brilliant mini role as Freke Stone - ultimately cool rock star and a man in full control of his surroundings. Rumour has it that a scene was chopped where in a bar sequence with Suede, Stone lifts the arm of an accompanying groupie licks her underarm and takes a shot of tequila. True or false this is indicative of the live fast figure he portrays in the movie. His hilarious eulogy to his father in lyric terms is a classic scene in its own right. The film is peppered with dream sequences, a slow motion exploding window, bizarre characters and a supersmooth "hero". His ideals are as large as his quiff. By the films conclusion Suede's hair is flattened and by his betrayal so is he. Does this signal a more normal existence for Johnny Suede? Who knows? Personally I hope he makes it in some two bit back bar, playing to drunken all nighters. For Johnny Suede that is superstardom."
Brad Pitt Sparkles as a Surreal Anti-Hero
James P. Kimble | 04/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brad Pitt is obviously the main draw here, and although he brings his great physical beauty to the role, as in every role he plays, it is not all he brings. He is able to capture the essence of Johnny "Suede", a quiet, disconnected young man whose dreams of being an idol are much more real to him than his aimless and odd real life. You hear Brad sing too! This movie is completely weird and wonderful and Brad is so captivating. It's a wonderful hybrid of Twin Peaks meets Melrose Place. A must see, for both men and women, I think."
Entertaining in Parts
J. Finley | 01/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I dont think its the best film I've ever seen, but the parts that were funny, made me laugh out loud. The best part of the film is when Johnny Suede (Brad Pitt) and Freak Storm (Nick Cave) meet in an alleyway. Nick Cave had a small role, but it was unforgettable... he was an albino lounge singer, with a huge platinum pompadour... not the typical look that Nick Cave goes for (except for huge hair & pointy shoes... but Nick tends to have a large black coiff!) Brad Pitt was sporting the ever high tower of breadloafhead as well. I like some of those early Brad Pitt films as opposed to the later ones (with the exception of "Snatch" which is a great film) and Johnny Suede is a good one. The scenes between Pitt & Catherine Keener were quite amusing, and the ones with "Deke" were hysterical... but nothing was as funny as eating bad chicken in the alleyway with Freak Storm singing "I'll be a Mama's Boy... since my daddy got the Electric Chair!""
Suede is groovy man
Michael Bolts | superior, wiusa | 11/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"filled with great direction and sparkled together with the likable performance of Brad Pitt as Johnny Suede. Suede wants to make a band and he does but then things fall apart as he spirals into relationships and conflicts. Catherine Keener is also great. Samuel L. Jackson and Calvin Levels also star, though Jackson has a small roll as Pitt's band bass player. a great movie"