Hey, that rhymes.
For those of you who don't know the name Tracy Letts, a brief history. The Oklahoman born playwright first came to minor fame as a member of Chicago's lauded theater collective Steppenwolf. Killer Joe was his first play, written in 1991. Over the next two decades his career as a playwright soared, first with the electric and very naked and delusional horror piece Bug (which became a misunderstood movie in 2006) and then he achieved the kind of across the board success that most artists will only ever dream of winning a Tony, a Pulitzer and critical and popular success with August: Osage County. (That super successful play is supposedly on its way to movie theaters in a year or two with Meryl Streep slurring her way through bitchy tirades as its drug addled matriach Violet Weston).
So, in short, a Tracy Letts project is a big deal. So here's screen transfer attempt #2... Killer Joe. Let's break down the trailer with our yes, no, maybe so system.
- Tracy Letts
- "I heard y'all talking about killing mama" -if the movie has cuts with dialogue that pop this much (sometimes trailers rejigger the natural order of things) we're in for a treat.
- Trashy smeary mascara'd Gina Gershon - surely something to savor!
- Between Magic Mike and this film, Matthew McConaughey might finally be making good on what people said about his future when A Time to Kill premiered 16 long years ago.
- The trailer suggests that the movie will be visually appealing with interesting compositions and color and unusually evocative single shots.
- Those boots were made for walking closeups.
- William Friedkin isn't afraid of attacking controversial material (Bug, The Exorcist, Cruising)
- We always try to see NC-17 movies to support the rating. There's no reason why an "adults only" rating shouldn't be viable beyond boring predictable American puritanism.
- William Friedkin hasn't really connected with broader audiences (and critics) simultaneously since... The Exorcist which we just discussed.
- The NC-17 is probably all about violence and there's more than enough of that in R rated movies.
- There are unarguably way too many movies that are all about assassins.
- There are unarguably way too many movies about organized crime and people who are over their heads and in tons of trouble financially.
- I think Juno Temple is intriguing (see my take on Kaboom) and though I haven't read or seen Killer Joe, I think Letts writes fascinating female characters in Bug and August. But I worry that maybe women are only evil bitches (Gina?) and girlwoman victims (Juno?) and dead bodies (Mama with the insurance policy) here. If I didn't hate spoilers so much I could probably find out if this is an unfounded fear straightaway. But I don't want the plot spoiled.
- Emile Hirsch doesn't always do it for me.
- Matthew McConaughey doesn't often do it for me (but I admire his go-for-broke flavor)
- William Friedkin doesn't always do it for me.
- In fact the only people here I unequivocally get excited about are Tracy Letts and Gina Gershon... though I'll admit that in the case of the latter that's mostly because of her indelible mid 90s double Showgirls (1995) and Bound (1996). What has she done for me lately?
Or rather: what does Hollywood ever let her do for us anymore? The last time I saw her was in the awful Love Ranch where she unsurprisingly played a whore. She was good but it was such a nothing part.
Are you a YES NO or a MAYBE SO?
Have you seen Bug?
Have you seen August: Osage County?
What does Gina Gershon mean to you?
Um... I guess I should share the trailer. So here you go. Be warned that it does seem very plotty, so if you want to go in cold, jump immediately to the comments.