Late Night, Big Nose...
It's 6am and Im watching ROXANNE.
Don't ask me why (just got back driving 2 hours from a long but great shoot), but I remember loving this whimsical little movie when I was a kid, and having not seen it in almost 15 years after a steady stream of repeat viewings back then(big hit on the pre-original programming HBO...ah, DREAM ON, you were so close), I haphazardly put it on HDNET MOVIES, my favorite new channel, and there that big schnoz was.
Instantly, Steve Martin's mini-masterpiece of a script had me, the mix of real emotion and light absurdity (the Martin-induced gymnastics, the knucklehead Firefighters, the legendary Michael J. Pollard, et al) and one of the few Daryll Hannah performances I could stand....the movie is a little slice of perfect.
it reminded me of what made me love discovering films while/instead of doing homework in my bedroom, a mirror trained to catch the reflection of the little 12 inch Sony spouting steady streams of Home Box Office offerings, including movies I remember saying "Wow, who did that?" Movies like FULL METAL JACKET, SOMETHING WILD, or RAISING ARIZONA & LESS THAN ZERO...and of course, RE-ANIMATOR. So many movies that I've watched like that felt almost like new films upon subsequent viewings...because the first time I watched them, I saw the film's visuals backwards in the mirror reflection.
ROXANNE was a film that made me stand up and really discover what great storytelling is, where there's this connect with a star with a style, a script (itself a REMAKE...YES! They remade movies back then, kids...its been around forever; get used to it), and a director twisting it all together. In this case, the helmer was Mick Jackson, who later made me laugh again with L.A. STORY (which, dated and all, I still need to see since moving to (he)L.A...haven't had any freeway signs talk to me either, disappointing) and cry with THE BODYGUARD, and for all the wrong reasons.
I remember at 11, sitting in my room transfixed by the many wonderful montages set to classical music that made me smile not just from the usual "gags" or funny lines or wacky mugging by Martin and his weenie honker, but from how the filmmaking was particular, focused, strong. This movie had a way about it, and I couldn't quite pin it, but it was there. When EVIL DEAD 2 was on, it was another movie that said "Hey, dick-weed, I'm talkiin' here" and your eyes listen. Not saying that ROXANNE has flying eyeballs, Fake Shemps or Ash-Cams, but it's heart and the light brush strokes of comedy, except for the bitingly harsh and hilarious "nose joke" sequence, that give the movie it's voice. The same voice I haven't heard in so fucking long since the last time I watched ROXANNE, and just a few words of dialogue said, and I was back in that room, discovering it all over again.
Martin is one of those comics that has just adapted to the times so deftly and still with a unique edge, even in his stinkers, he's still hard not to watch...your eyes just want to follow that white mane of hair and that style that pokes fun at the simple things in an absurd life. Having just finished his book, BORN STANDING UP, I have even more respect for his wit and intelligence, how he can make even opening a door a complex comic feat. While the wacky & personal favorite THE JERK is by far one of the greatest comic-driven comedies of all tim (boasting the greatest opening line of all time: "I was born a poor black child") ROXANNE is one of Martin's least goofball, at a time in his career when wild and crazy guys wearing white suits and arrows in the head and wild and crazy guys were just being shed like a layer of snake-skin. It was a new, more mature Martin, and ROXANNE is a wonderful evolution for Comedy's Renaissance Man.
...and right before I finally pass out, I get an email from Neil & Axelle, who was in France for the GERARDMER Film festival, which WRONG TURN 2/ DETOUR MORTEL 2 was playing there in the "Direct To Video" competition (along with BLACK WATER, Maurice's END OF THE LINE, which I hear is awesome):
You just won the best movie straight to DVD prize at Gerardmer!!!!!
Neil & Axelle x"
OK, this must be a sick dream brought on by a 2 hour drive, 5am DEL TACO and the hypnotic allure of ROXANNE. Im gonna go to bed now and just forget it, cause that can't be right, can it?