Unfortunately, not all of us can jetset across the world ten times a year to experience the finest film festivals global cinema has to offer. However, in a world where the average cinephile has access to the gargantuan libraries of Netflix, Hulu+, HBOGo and others, curating a marathon viewing experience has never been easier! We here at Deadshirt want to help you make your infinite stream scrolling more fruitful. Stop agonizing over what Val Kilmer movie to watch on your iPad. Let us map out a nice evening in for you, or a long weekend. Let us help you…Cross The Streams.
The Theme: “Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane,” or “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Deadshirt.net”
This edition of Cross The Streams began as a sprawling, messy journey into the dark heart of film noir, an endless 16-hour loop of soul-numbing crime fiction imagery: femme fatales, shoot outs, double crosses, gumshoes, grifters, etc. I decided to pare it down to the exact strain of noir that I was feeling, specifically the tongue-in-cheek brand dually engrained in the pop cultural lexicon by Quentin Tarantino and Shane Black, twin God Kings of pulpy, crime fiction fun. In the effort to choose just the right films without retreading classics you’ve all undoubtedly seen multiple times, I was able to squeeze everything into one tightly concentrated double feature of two films made twelve years apart that just so happen to both star Thomas Jane.
Platform: The films are available on Hulu+ and Netflix, respectively. (Links are embedded in their respective titles.)
Highlander helmer Russell Mulcahy directed this grossly entertaining throwback to 1940s film noir, a straight-to-DVD caper flick anchored by a game cast and some solid execution. Thomas Jane plays the titular Malone, a ex-PI turned gun for hire sent on a wild goose chase MacGuffin lark that serves as an excuse to trot out a parade of lovable cliches and stereotypes. Among them, Ving Rhames as an imposing heavy, Fast Five’s Elsa Pataky as a femme fatale, and a bugfuck insane performance from Doug Hutchison as a cartoonish villain. The level of ham on display from the latter is awe-inspiring, as Hutchison is about three steps away from being a background character from Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy at any given moment of screen time.
Jane’s reliably masculine features and prestige jaw structure make him the perfect protagonist for this kind of flick, and Mulcahy has a lot of fun with the proceedings, never veering into outright parody, but keeping his foot on the clutch in terms of keeping things light. As the mystery unfolds it gets a little too real for my tastes, following in the footsteps of Shoot ‘Em Up and Lucky Number Slevin in the race to erode a fun concept into overwrought melodrama, but the actors involved play off of the sudden sense of solemnity with aplomb. Really, by this point in the film, if all goes according to plan, you’ll be too drunk to care.
Flashback to the late 90s. Swordfish screenwriter Skip Woods makes his directorial debut in Thursday, a wordy, dialogue heavy neo-noir that’s as long on faux-clever dialogue and theatrical banter as the previous film was on shoot-outs. Here, a younger and more curiously coiffed Jane plays Casey Wells, an ex-drug dealer trying to live the straight life, whose old partner, Aaron Eckhart, shows back up into his life, dragging with him all manner of post-Pulp Fiction, ironic crime farce. It has the measured “day in the life” pace of say, Glengarry Glen Ross (or Barbershop), but each of the episodic scenarios that bloom from the plot’s original seed are entertaining in a specifically ’90s sort of way.
James LeGros turns in a really enjoyable performance, and Mickey Rourke pops up as a cop, delivering something like a post-modern critique on his performance in Angel Heart. There’s also a scene in which Wells is forced to receive oral sex from an evil ex-girlfriend that perfectly mirrors the “hacker blowjob” scene from Swordfish. It’s the shitty Joel Silver equivalent of watching Mean Streets before Goodfellas, so it’s understandable if this movie ends and you’re struck with the strange desire to see John Travolta force Hugh Jackman to do bad computer things.
Ideally, on a Friday night in. You don’t need to go out to bars and clubs. You’re just going to drink yourself pissy and make bad decisions. Why not do that shit INSIDE and live vicariously through the bad decisions of fictional criminals!?
You can have a compadre riding shotgun with you, but why? You don’t know if you can trust them in a crazy, jagged world like ours.
So, this is key. We’re largely going to be sticking to a liquid and carbs diet. I would try to keep at least a case of your personal cheap beer du jour on hand (two to three if you choose not to do this solo) and a bottle of rail whiskey. Pizza isn’t a bad idea, but if you go the delivery route, a heaping helping of breadsticks and wings will help you out, in terms of soaking up the massive quantities of alcohol you’re going to end up drinking.
This double feature is like a starter guide, so once the credits are done rolling, if you’re not too soused to stay awake, I would suggest watching as much of the failed FX television series Terriers on Netflix as humanly possible. You’ll probably make it three or four episodes deep before you pass out shirtless on the couch, but that’ll be more than enough to keep you hooked on the buddy detective dramedy, a perfect entry into the pantheon of shaggy dog noir heroes trying to do right in a world gone wrong.
When you decide to utilize this or any of our other blueprints for marathon movie viewing and feel like livetweeting the experience, feel free to use the hashtag #CrossTheStreams and let us know how it went at @DeadshirtDotNet. Enjoy!