Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bad Girls...extremely bad

Bad Girls - Jonathan Kaplan - 1994 - 4/10


Anita Crown (Mary Stuart Masterson) works as a whore in the west and when one customer tries too hard to kiss her, Anita cries for help and as the customer begins to beat her, Cody Zamora (Madeline Stowe) shoots him dead. This shocks Cody and Anita's friends Eileen Spenser (Andy Macdowell) and Lilly Laronette (Drew Barrymore) who have to save Cody from the noose. As the four girls flee, they hatch a plan that with Anita's deed to land in Oregon and Cody's savings in the bank, the four of them can make it happen in Oregon. But there's some serious hitches. The man Cody shot has hired Pinkerton Detectives to track her down and when Cody goes to retrieve her funds from the bank, the bank is robbed by an ex-lover, Kid Jarrett (James Russo). Now, the girls need to hatch some sort of plan to rest their money back from Kid's gang before the Pinkerton's catch up to them and drag them back to the noose.


I know all of you are reading this saying, WHY DID AARON WATCH THIS MOVIE, and trust me, those words kept ringing through my head too. But there was another question that rang through as well, WHY DID THESE ACTRESSES MAKE THIS MOVIE? Sure Barrymore was trying to escape her Poison Ivy phase and MacDowell probably didn't have much to do, likewise for Masterson and Stowe. But despite their meager resumes, they're pretty good in the movies they do make. It's hard to say however, if they're good here. This movie is terrible in so many ways. The movie, which should have it easy just by slipping into the cliche of the tomboy, the dark past, the flirt, and the shy one can't even keep it together to do that. The four women are clearly those categories, but its only by doing a lot of work for the story that you can begin to see that. Madeline Stowe's Cody is the one that has the dark past, and is arguably the lead here, but the movie engages in poor half steps to explain her past. Her relationship with Kid and Kid's father is never really clarified. There are hints throughout the movie, such as the split second scene of her back with whip-scars and the scene where Kid has a whip, but you can't piece everything together for them. While her relaitonship with Josh (Dermot Mulroney) makes sense, it has lots of holes in it as well, as does Josh's backstory. Anita who should be the shy one has a fairly lame excuse for her shyness, and one that isn't fleshed out because, despite being the "cause" for the turn of events in the movie, is largely ignored. Barrymore is an easy choice for the tomboy but her tomboyishness is never explained, nor is her seemingly un-tomboyishness before having to leave the whorehouse. Finally, MacDowell's seductive flirt gets a half explanation but little more is done for her, and her possible relationship with Tucker (James LeGros) gets little if any real screen time because the movie reaches a point where Tucker is just off camera for awhile. I don't think there is much good about this movie, and it seems like a poor feminist knock off of A Fistful of Dollars.


If this is on TV, turn the TV off.

If you liked this movie, watch...
...A Fistful of Dollars
...The Quick and the Dead

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