April 25, 2004

29 Palms

Where's the bag? Who has the bag? 29 Palms revolves around a bag of money that changes hands in some extremely improbable ways -- about 10 times. First, Chris O'Donnell gets it from the Indians, then the security guard steals it from him, then the cop steals it from the security guard, and it goes from there. I'll get into spoilers if I go any further.

There's a message in this movie about Indian casinos, but I'm not real sure what it is. I think the writer is down on them. I wonder if he's seen the gambling palaces in New Mexico.

O'Donnell is a hit man, hired by Indians to take care of an undercover FBI agent. Except the FBI guy gets away and all kinds of weirdness ensues, all swirling around this damn bag of money. Russell Means plays the Indian chief. I didn't know he had done so much acting in recent years.

The script is fun. The budget was obviously low, and it's the resulting campiness and cheesiness that gives the film some charm. The violence isn't bad at all. Even in the end when a few of the characters take bullets, it's not that bloody.

The whole thing takes place on a lonely desert highway. 29 Palms is the name of a town. I wonder if there are still only 29 palms there?

I enjoyed watching Bill Pullman playing his character: the slightly (or perhaps not so slightly) crazy bus station attendant. He has a strange predilection for oranges, but proves to be good with a shotgun. Yes, the man who played the President in Independence Day does well with a really low-rent character here. At one point I thought he would end up with all the money, and maybe he does, you have to watch. I liked his sax player in David Lynch's Lost Highway.

Including Bill, there are a variety of decent acting performances here, ranging from the deranged, to the cool, to the victim, to the prick -- actually everybody is a prick in some way. Rachael Leigh Cook plays the obligatory cutie -- a Native American waitress -- of course. The guy at the middle, the pursued played by Jeremy Davies, just mumbles all the time however. I suppose the character has reason to be so out of it, but he could've put some emotion into the performance, just for the hell of it.

This movie isn't bad, but it certainly isn't great either. I'm not even sure it's good. But it was worth the watch. You can't help wondering what's going to happen with the bag in the end. And at 95 minutes it's not too long.

Posted by Wayne at April 25, 2004 12:25 AM
Comments

Sorry. Need to call you on this one. This is a bad, bad movie. High schoolers with video camera bad. I only kept watching because I am a RLC freak, but I left feeling embarrassed for everyone involved. Please, please, please do not recommend this film to anyone.

If you run across a copy, destroy it before others are hurt. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO WATCH.

Posted by: mirglip at April 27, 2004 11:30 PM

Yes I am probably too forgiving here, but I did enjoy the flick to a limited degree. I tend to look for the good points, and am not as eager to pan a movie as most movie buffs are -- especially regarding indie productions. Now, if I were to address Star Wars II.... I love to slash big money productions that suck.

Posted by: Wayne at April 28, 2004 05:05 PM
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