Vincent Gallo made the news a few days ago with an actress trying to #metoo him after not getting a part after an audition. We all had a good chuckle over it, and I noticed a lot of commenters had no idea who he was. Gallo is actually a very based and cool guy.
His worldview and politics certainly align with mine and he is a very talented actor, director, and writer. The first film of his that I saw was Buffalo ’66. This is an instant classic and one of the films that is an essential addition to the Literally Me genre.
Gallo plays Billy Brown in the film, an unlucky slob who just got out of prison on a five-year stint. Billy is really innocent of his crime. He made a $10,000 bet on a Buffalo Bills game and lost. Needless to say, he didn’t have the cash to cover it so the bookie tells him he is going to confess to a crime someone else committed or the bookie will hurt his parents.
He gets out of prison and sets out to visit his parents he has been lying to for the past five years. He kidnaps an eccentric girl named Layla that he runs into while trying to find a place to take a piss and convinces her to pretend to be his wife while visiting his parents.
Once there we see how awful his parents are. We see his Mom cares more about football than anything else, and his Dad is a zombie that sexually harasses Layla, We see in flashbacks that his Mom has never missed a game except for the day Billy was born and she blames him for it.
His Dad was an asshole that killed his puppy out of spite and they both couldn’t care less about him, his life, or anything he has to say. His Mother doesn’t ever remember he is allergic to chocolate and almost died from it.
After leaving, Billy and Layla go to a diner where Billy sees a girl he had been in love with in high school. Clearly it’s painful and humiliating for him as she now is in a relationship with another man. The amount of torment he feels over this is obvious and you really feel for the poor guy. I think everyone can relate to this in some way.
Billy and Layla leave and go bowling, where we learn Billy has championship-level talent for bowling as he and Layla realize they are falling in love. The problem is, Billy blames the kicker for the Buffalo Bills for the loss of the game and his 10,000 bucks that resulted in the five-year prison sentence. He has a plan to end his day by going to the nightclub now owned by the retired kicker, and blowing his head off.
I will leave the rest for you to watch.
The movie is a very earnest story of two depressed and lonely screw-ups who find each other. Although the film starts with Billy being a bit of a prick we are shown what has made him into the unhappy, depressed man he is. Gallo is an excellent actor and you don’t need to be told what Billy is feeling. Even though a lot of Billy’s actions and his behavior is played for laughs, he is in pain. I don’t want to understate the comedy levels in the film either. It is funny as hell. It has a lot of very dark, but great, comedy.
Gallo is an indie auteur, in my opinion. Buffalo ’66 and the longer cut of The Brown Bunny are excellent films. Apparently Francis Coppola agrees, he cast him as the lead in his film Tetro. Gallo even had a part in Goodfellas. Once you see the level of star power Gallo has in the cast of Buffalo ’66, you will see why.
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