Ok folks, we've reached it. The big one. The crucial juncture. The Matrix (1999)! What to really say about this film? We live in a simulation created by machines in order to keep us blind to our captivity and usefulness merely as an energy supply for said machines. As a metaphor, consistently apropos. And if you haven't seen this film and are listening to this podcast you are a statistical outlier. Mostly the brothers Torpey give Patrick the space he needs to wax poetic about one of the biggest films of his young life. This is another long one, as we anticipated it being from the beginning. And that's good since we've burned through our banked episodes from our previous hiatus and there is a distinct lack of addressing certain "current affairs." So enjoy this nice long conversation about a seminal movie in Keanu's career that's deservedly praised and rad as hell.
Big episode, big movie, big acting! Scott Thomas returns to join us for "The Devil's Advocate" (1997). Keanu plays hotshot Florida criminal defense attorney Kevin Lomax, who ain't never lost a case. His bona fides (as well as a preternatural ability to choose a jury) get him an offer at a prestigious firm in NYC. There, Kevin and his young wife (Charlize Theron) are given a lavish parkside Manhattan apartment and go up a great many tax brackets. But could this have been....a deal with the DEVIL? Obviously we're all here for one of the great big Pacino roles of his career as John Milton, head of said firm. For whichever stragglers have not seen this I'll keep it spoiler-free, but obviously it all goes to shit. Pacino is surprisingly quiet and sinister in this, rising into a fiery crescendo only at the end. We discuss the lamentable decline of the big-budget "high concept" drama, and take many, many tangents. In the words of John Milton (the fictional one of this film): live deliciously.
"The Last Time I Committed Suicide" (1997) by Stephen Kay. This one's about Neal Cassady (played by Thomas Jane), muse of the beat writers, amphetamine popping driver of The Merry Pranksters, during maybe the most boring part of his life, rendered duller still by being treated so reverently. A young Neal is listless and dissatisfied in small-town Colorado, working at a tire factory and trying to suss out life's mysteries. These mainly consist of what type of girl is better to have sex with: The suicidal brunette Joan (Claire Forlani) or bubbly blond nympho Mary (Gretchen Mol), ultimately choosing neither. Adrian Brody appears as Neal's friend and Allen Ginsberg analog Ben. Our dude Keanu (who put on weight for the role!) is the believably sleazy barfly Harry. The whole movie is based on a letter between Cassady and Kerouac, and that feels about right since this is meagre fare. Almost like something written by someone on speed in their twenties and translated to a feature film.
Coming to you from an undisclosed bunker, bug out bags stocked, armed and ready. The show must go on! Content dispatch episode 29 "Feeling Minnesota" (1996) by director Steve Baigelman. It certainly feels like the product of a young mind; all the preoccupation with sex and criminality is there, violence as punctuation mark. What this film DOES have is a stacked cast who --most of them--manage to squeeze some drama and pathos from this script. Freddie (Cameron Diaz) is being forced by crime boss Red (Delroy Lindo) to marry his crooked bookkeeper Sam Clayton (Vincent D'Onofrio), until Clayton's brother Jjaks (Keanu Reeves) shows up. Freddie and Jjaks immediately fuck at the wedding and run off with Sam's money...the very money he stole from Red in order to force the marriage with Freddie! Yikes! What ensues is a comedy of errors and needless violence. Look, it's not great, but D'Onofrio is a national treasure and what else is your quarantined ass gonna do to pass the time?