Friday, September 20, 2013

Johnny Suede

Johnny Suede is a movie you've probably never heard of. Considering it stars Brad Pitt, Catherine Keener, Nick Cave, Tina Louise and Samuel L. Jackson that is really hard to believe. But it's true: I watched the movie and they are all in it.

So first things first: What do Brad Pitt and Nick Cave have in common, other than how many letters are in their names?  In this movie HUGE POMPADOURS.

Pitt is the titular Johnny Suede, a young man who is hopelessly lost in the Golden Age of Rock n Roll. He idolizes Ricky Nelson, and everything in his apartment and wardrobe looks straight out of 1957, yet the movie is set in the early 90s, which is, coincidentally, also when it was made.  He wants to form a band that plays music that he "do[esn't] really have a name for" but sounds suspiciously like Ricky Nelson ballads because those are all he ever listens to. He owns two 45s: "Travelin' Man" and "Teenage Idol" by Ricky Nelson. They are both ballads. See? That's all he ever listens to.

Pitt, Jackson and Keener all went on to become pretty famous.
Johnny Suede went on to be totally forgotten.

This is the kind of movie where I can't say too much, because there really isn't much to say. It's something you have to experience. If the idea of Brad Pitt with an immense pompadour walking around a rundown apartment in tighty-whities with his hand down the front doesn't sell you on it, then this probably isn't the movie for you.

This happens more than once in this film.
The plot isn't going to convince you that this movie is cool. The plot is hard to convey. For instance, he and his best friend (who happens to be black, of course) decide it would be great to rob a barber shop, because they probably have like $300 bucks in the register. They don't have a gun, though. So they forget about that idea for a while and go live their lives. Then later, the friend shows Johnny that he got a revolver somehow. But, THEY DON'T HAVE ANY BULLETS!  So they forget about that idea for a while and go live their lives. Then, JOHNNY FINDS A BULLET in a dude's closet while he's painting the guy's house. THEY PUT IT IN THE REVOLVER! Then they never ever again mention robbing the barber shop or anyone else. In fact, no one uses this gun for any ill purpose ever in this movie.

But I swear, the sum is greater than the parts with this one. Something about Pitt's awkward portrayal of this delusional rock n roller is just too loveable not to love.Catherine Keener is also good, as the respectively down-to-earth girlfriend who tries to tame Johnny Suede down. (Spoiler: She kind of does tame him down, but he also punches her. Admittedly, though, she did throw shoes at him a couple of times.)

This happens more than once in this film.


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