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Preview: Comments on John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film/TV: CULT MOVIE REVIEW: Natural Born Killers (1994)

Comments on John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Cult Movies and Classic TV: CULT MOVIE REVIEW: Natural Born Killers (1994)





Updated: 2018-04-26T05:43:43.624-04:00

 



Thank you for the response! That makes total sense...

2014-12-22T18:58:53.070-05:00

Thank you for the response! That makes total sense to me: it's that they're marking their territory, in a way. Similar to a predator urinating to warn others away, although Mickey and Mallory's version is far more messy and grief-inducing (and very few people would want to watch a movie about a couple peeing everywhere anyway, so it's good Stone didn't go in that direction, heh).

Hm, thinking along those lines does make me wonder about the scene early on where Mallory is peeing in the sand. When watching it I thought the scene was just to show that they're already comfortable enough with each other to just keep chatting while she does her business, but now I wonder if the scene was more about reinforcing the symbolism of them as pure/wild animals, living beyond the rules of urbanized society. I mean, Stone doesn't waste scenes; if he bothered to put in a scene about somebody urinating outside, there was definitely a reason for it.



Hi Robin, that's a great question, and a very ...

2014-12-21T14:40:14.100-05:00

Hi Robin, that's a great question, and a very insightful one. For me, what Mickey and Mallory do is actually about ownership, not celebrity or fame. They are killers, and they are taking ownership/responsibility for what they are (rattlesnakes). This is important to them. This is different than wanting to be a celebrity for fame's sake. That's the media's job.



"They imagined being famous, whereas fame is ...

2014-12-21T14:16:23.905-05:00

"They imagined being famous, whereas fame is something that Mickey and Mallory never covet or desire in the film."

In the context of them not fame-seeking, can you clarify why Mickey and Mallory have their tradition of leaving someone alive to make sure they get credit for their murders? During the pharmacy scene Mickey also references that he has to kill the clerk because otherwise there would be nothing for people to talk about. I'm not sure how to interpret those practices/comments other than as a desire to create fodder for the media machine/fame-seeking, so I'd enjoy hearing a different perspective on that. :)



DLR: "I wish he could recapture some of that...

2010-03-15T10:07:14.466-04:00

DLR:

"I wish he could recapture some of that deranged magic, but I suppose that's like putting the kaleidoscopic toothpaste back into the tube."

Truer words were never spoken. Stone almost got back to his deranged psychedelic style of filmmaking with ALEXANDER (depending on which cut you see) but I felt that he didn't go far enough! Oh well...


William Johnson:

"I'm also a huge Woody Harrelson fan and, unlike other actors faced with his background, I think he managed to shed the Woody Boyd image he feared he'd get attached to (and look at his filmography in the last few years of Cheers and beyond) by picking completely different roles that just so happen to be GOOD."

This true. I always liked Woody and I think that his turn in NBK really freed him up and allowed him to do pretty much anything. It was great to see him get so many wonderful notices this past year for both ZOMBIELAND and THE MESSENGER.



Great, great article. I'm so glad you focused ...

2010-03-13T12:50:22.097-05:00

Great, great article. I'm so glad you focused a lot on the sitcom sequence. I haven't seen NBK for a number of years but the sick feeling that scene gave me still sticks with me.

I'm also a huge Woody Harrelson fan and, unlike other actors faced with his background, I think he managed to shed the Woody Boyd image he feared he'd get attached to (and look at his filmography in the last few years of Cheers and beyond) by picking completely different roles that just so happen to be GOOD. He wasn't desperate like a Meg Ryan (In the Cut), Sandrs Bullock (Crash), or *gasp* Elizabeth Berkely!

On another note. . .I just realized I read one of your books about six years ago and had no idea! It was The Askew View.



For a brief time Stone was a genuinely Psychedelic...

2010-03-13T07:22:19.037-05:00

For a brief time Stone was a genuinely Psychedelic director (and deliberately so) and the films of that period (The Doors - JFK - NBK) show actual genius (wrapped in some cringey dialogue, especially the first movie mentioned)(and bad wigs). I wish he could recapture some of that deranged magic, but I suppose that's like putting the kaleidoscopic toothpaste back into the tube.



I hate to admit it, but I've never seen this f...

2010-03-13T01:50:24.029-05:00

I hate to admit it, but I've never seen this film. I've always heard about it, but always seemed to avoid it. Because you and J.D. speak so highly of it, I'm finally going to do it! Thanks for the examination analysis, JKM.



Hamsher's book is a fascinating read even if s...

2010-03-12T15:09:53.477-05:00

Hamsher's book is a fascinating read even if she has an obvious axe to grind but the fact that Stone actually got permission to shoot in one of the most dangerous prisons in the US of A is incredible enough! Throw in Juliette Lewis actually breaking Tom Sizemore's nose (accidentally), Stone almost getting pulled over in the desert with a car full of drugs and you've gotta helluva story.

Of course, excess is nothing new for Stone. Just look at THE DOORS!



J.D. Thanks for writng. I'm so glad you brou...

2010-03-12T13:54:10.812-05:00

J.D.

Thanks for writng. I'm so glad you brought up the Clockwork Orange comparison: I meant to make mention of that, but didn't. You are correct that in many ways, this is a 1990s version of that Kubrick film.

I had no idea about some of the juicy background stories, but it certainly makes sense: the movie wreaks of 1990s excess, that's for sure (but in a good way, I think...)



best,
JKM



Well said, sir! This is a demented kind of masterp...

2010-03-12T13:42:23.568-05:00

Well said, sir! This is a demented kind of masterpiece and I remember seeing it when it first came out and expecting there to be much more of a stink about then there actually was. In some respects, it was A CLOCKWORK ORANGE for the 1990s and if anything the state of the media and popular culture has only gotten WORSE since this film. One wonders what Mickey and Mallory would've made of reality TV? If anything they probably would have starred in their own reality show.

As for the sitcom parody that doubles for Mallory's troubling family life, I found it interesting that obviously Stone was turning LEAVE IT TO BEAVER-type sitcom on its head but also showing how by the time the film was made, the family sitcom had mutated into the trashy excess of something like MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN which is what I always felt Stone was riffing on with the general look and raunchiness of I LOVE MALLORY.

This is a film that you really could write a book on for the juicy production stories alone! I read Jane Hamsher's book which dished some fascinating anecdotes and have read plenty of accounts in articles that came out at the time about how Stone shot in a real prison for the final third of the film and, of course, how actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Sizemore were hooked to the gills on major drug habits... Much like APOCALYPSE NOW, the cast and crew seemed to really live the film they were making, which may be why there is such a strong conviction behind it. I admire that the film has the balls to really go for it and is not afraid to go after the media and pop culture in general, holding up a mirror to it and showing how grotesque, in some respects, it has become. It makes the film eerily relevant now as nothing really has changed all that much.