Hi Outposters, and welcome back to Film Club. This week we are talking about Kalifornia and we have a mixed bag of reviews! So grab yourselves some reebs, put a cactus in your purse, and let’s get on this road trip!
Kalifornia is an utter disappointment and falls flat with its premise. The movie attempts to explore the dark and twisted psychology of serial killers and fails miserably.
Brad Pitt’s portrayal of a psychopathic killer lacks depth and becomes more of a caricature than a menacing force. Arguably his worst performance. He’s not a serial killer, he kills out of self-preservation. The rest of the characters are skin deep too, much like the paper-thin narrative. David Duchovny is a pompous journalist, with Michelle Forbes as a pretentious photographer. None of the characters are likable, except almost Juliette Lewis, who’s an annoying rube.
The film’s pacing is sluggish, making the already dull narrative feel even more tedious to endure. Teenage edge lord Shawn probably would’ve liked this. After all, I did all my high school reports on serial killers. Now, the movie is simply boring.
If 1990s Showtime threw up, the result would be Kalifornia. One expects Red Shoe Diaries to air after its credits. David Duchovny plays a douche who probably got good grades in community college and let it go to his head. Juliette Lewis plays Juliette Lewis at her most annoying. Brad Pitt plays the redneck from Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Michelle Forbes is an edge-lord with a terrible haircut. Kalifornia tries to be noir, but it lacks a typical noir element to coalesce around: no murder someone tries to get away with, no heist criminals betray each other over, no blackmail scheme gone wrong, no mistaken identities, no clever scam, no investigation. These things give a noir movie a sense of a tightening noose.
Kalifornia is simply four nitwits on a road trip, repeating themselves. It is all taken very seriously, though, like striving-for-a-Golden Globe-nomination-serious. Kalifornia is okay as a Showtime movie. It has a slick 1990s made-for-TV look and a decent atmosphere. All it lacks is Eric Roberts or Jeff Fahey. As a theater movie, Kalifornia understandably bombed. It is plotless and all secrets are revealed early. No noose tightens. The road trip simply reaches its destination.
Even though Kalifornia wasn’t the commercial success they hoped for, it’s gone on to become a bit of a cult classic. Watching this for the first time in probably a decade, I felt it still holds up well today. If I’m honest, it wasn’t as violent as I recall but it still manages to keep you engrossed from start to finish.
For me, I think this is Juliette Lewis’ best-ever role and she plays Adele perfectly as a naive and innocent retard that you can’t help but feel sorry for. David Duchovny plays a character called Brian Kessler who is probably just as naive as Adele, only he has brains. Brian’s girlfriend Carrie played by Michelle Forbes is more in line with Pitt’s character Early Grace in the way both are manipulative with a no-nonsense attitude. While Early is more reactionary, impulsive, and violent in his actions, Carrie is calculating and psychologically abusive towards Brian, ultimately breaking him down until Brian gives in and makes the decision that sets off the final act.
Brad Pitt is excellent as Early Grace and even though he came to notice in Thelma & Louise (well for women and bears anyway), I believe it was Kalifornia that not only put him on everyone’s radar but set the tone for the roles he took on after this. Appearing as stoner Lloyd in True Romance and then a string of dark hits like Interview, Se7en, Twelve Monkeys, Fight Club, and Snatch, etc showed everyone that Pitt wasn’t just a pretty boy who was content to fill in as my double every now and then.
I haven’t seen this movie since it came out, but I remember liking it. The story is fairly original, it’s a kidnap movie, but three of the main protagonist don’t find out till about halfway through. They did expand on the whole ‘live life like a serial killer’, but it didn’t play out all that well. The main issue is all of the main characters are just annoying.
Pitt just gets on your nerves and never really feels that dangerous. Lewis plays someone with an IQ the same number as her show size. Duchovny is a pussy who deserves to die. Forbes is hot as hell, but man alive, does she whine. As I said, I remember liking this but watching it again, it needed to stay in my memory. I did love the fact you had a compact story in 90 minutes.
The Livestream today will feature Boba Phil, Shawn T, and a guest appearance by none other than Shawn B! It’s my wife’s birthday so you guys will have to try and cope without me. The guys will discuss Kalifornia a little bit more and I think Shawn T will be fine fighting his corner without me.
So what did you think of Kalifornia? Go ahead and post your comments below or even better, tune in to the stream and interact with the guys live on air! Also, don’t forget to give us your recommendation for this week’s Film Club, the best one/s will feature in the poll tomorrow.
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