When Will I Be Loved (1/10)
2004 by Tony Medley
I saw this at
Raleigh Studios. As I was exiting through the guard gate, one of the
guards said, “Didn’t like that one, huh?” I asked if it was that
obvious and both guards laughed. The people behind me apparently had the
same expression on their faces.
While this is
represented as a “new kind of noir,” it’s actually just nihilistic
nonsense. Apparently it wasn’t enough for James Toback to direct it,
he also gave himself a part. If this is any example of his filmmaking,
he better make sure his SAG card is current. There is no script credit
and it appears when you watch the film (which I certainly don’t
advise) that most of the dialogue is ad lib.
Barrie (Neve Campbell) is a 23 year-old multi-orgasmic, sexually
oriented, prevaricating slut, although she’s represented as being
extremely smart. The film starts with her stark naked taking a shower,
after which she pleasures herself with a vibrator. Then she has sex with
her girl friend. Then she has either doggy style or anal intercourse
(impossible to determine which) with her boy friend, Ford Welles
(Frederick Weller), who is a lowlife street hustler.
Weller's performance is the only good thing in the movie. They do it
fully clothed, which is a trick. This scene lasts for what seems like
seven minutes, a front shot of the two of them, with her slowly coming
to orgasm. This scene stands for the proposition that visual sex can be
truly boring. Then she has sex with 69 year-old Count Tommaso Lupo
(Dominic Chianese). And it’s still only mid-afternoon! This woman has
a libido that won’t stop. The dialogue accepts all these sexual
dalliances without affection or involvement or commitment as normal.
The way Toback
presents the Count as a billionaire entrepreneur is ludicrous.
Apparently Toback has never come in contact with a real entrepreneur, so
he invents something that telegraphs his ignorance. The scenes of the
Count with his entourage are laughably ridiculous. To think that someone
like the Count (think Ari Onassis) would spend as much as one second
with a cheap street hustler like Ford is beyond fantasy. For a film as
repugnant as this, the scenes of him and his entourage walking around
the streets of New York with him barking orders constituted the part
that was the most offensive to me because when I was practicing law I
negotiated with Ari Onassis the last deal into which he entered before
he died, for the construction of a 100,000 barrel a day oil refinery in
Nova Scotia. These scenes, and the character, actions, and dialogue of
the Count, are so divorced from reality as to be beyond incredible.
This is a low class
story of low class people with low class morals acting as middle class
imposters. Vera is supposed to be a “hip, scintillating,
post-feminist” woman, but as she’s having an interview with the
Professor (Toback), she hits on two strange men she encounters on the
street, and then lies that she knows them, hardly things that would
endear an interviewee to an interviewer. Are we to believe that all
“hip, scintillating, post-feminist” women are this stupid?
How idiotic is this
movie? The Count apparently saw Vera across a crowded room and wanted to
fly to her side, so he somehow enlisted Ford, a cheap, scummy street
hustler, to introduce them. Can you imagine Ari Onassis wanting to meet
a girl and asking some bum to introduce them? Elephants will fly first.
But that’s what we’re to believe. When The Count finally does get
introduced to Vera, the dialogue between the two is such drivel that
it’s hard to believe that even someone as obviously obtuse as Toback
could foist it on an audience.
There is not one
character in this movie, other than Ford, who is believable. Vera’s
mother, Alexandra (Karen Allen), who looks like an emaciated immigrant
from the ‘60s, uses the “F” word in a normal conversation among
her, her husband, and daughter. Enough on this rubbish. Waste your time
on this at your peril.
September 2, 2004