Tuesday, September 1, 2015
'The article called him "a massively popular teen idol" and also, even then, "a serious actor of presence and ability." The writer of that 1982 piece and this one are the same. Matt Dillon can barely recall that time. Now 41, he survived the covers of Teen Talk, Tiger Beat, 16, Super Teen and Teen Machine. These days he's seldom in gossip magazines or on TV shows like Access Hollywood. After all, it's been a few years since he and Cameron Diaz broke up.
'Dillon starred in a number of pictures based on S.E. Hinton novels including Tex (1982). Dillon is concerned with the kind of scrutiny confronting today's young actors. "Even the mainstream magazines," he said. "It's like who lost weight, who didn't. It's so superficial. They're kids, man. They're allowed to make mistakes. Adults in that kind of media should be more compassionate."
'Dillon got to know Lindsay Lohan, 18, while filming Herbie: Fully Loaded, a Disney picture. She's perhaps the country's most popular young star, her photos and personal life inundating magazines, TV and the Web. The former teen king and the current teen queen bonded. "I understand what she's going through," he said. "She's professional and sweet. Yet it's tough when you're dealing with that. You're a teenager and they (the gossip media) hold you to a standard even higher than adults."
'In the 1982 article, Dillon shrugged off the thousands of fan letters he received, mostly from girls, and the nonstop magazine articles. "How do they find out these things about me?" he said then. "Girls write and say, 'I feel this way about you, that way.' I can't deal with it."
'Dillon grew up in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (about a half-hour from Manhattan), the second oldest in a close family of six children. His brother, Kevin, 39, is also an actor (HBO's Entourage). Family life kept him grounded. Even as the most popular teenage actor of his day, Dillon didn't let it get to him, "I didn't give a rat's ---," he said. "All I cared about was acting. I wanted to do true, honest work. I wasn't in it for the cash and prizes."
'To this day, he said, "I've gone my own way. I mean, I went off and made a movie in Cambodia (his 2003 directorial debut, City of Ghosts). I've learned certain things about myself; I'm not a corporate guy." As a young actor, he said, "I gravitated to the films of John Huston (The African Queen), Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause), Sam Fuller (The Big Red One). Rich, complex characters."
'In 2005, Dillon became just such a character when he starred in Factotum, a film adaptation of an autobiographical work by Charles Bukowski. Two years later he received critical praise and earned Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for his role in Crash, the film co-written and directed by Paul Haggis which controversially won Best Picture that year. On September 29, 2006, Dillon was honored with the Premio Donostia prize in the San Sebastián International Film Festival.' -- collaged
Matt Dillon @ IMDb
Matt Dillon @ Twitter
'Matt Dillon: 'I've never felt comfortable as a leading man"'
'Looking Back: Matt Dillon, Gen X Poster Boy'
Matt Dillon @ Facebook
'Actor Matt Dillon puts rare celebrity spotlight on Rohingya Muslims'
Audio: On The Road by Jack Kerouac, narrated by Matt Dillon
Podcast: 'Matt Dillon — Guest DJ Project'
'What the Hell Happened to Matt Dillon?'
'MATT DILLON’S MUSICAL JOURNEY'
'AROUND THE WORLD WITH MATT DILLON'
'IGNORANT HAS-BEEN HOLLYWOOD ACTOR, Matt Dillon, joins designated terrorist group CAIR'
'Matt Dillon: Fame and family don't mix'
'Matt Dillon talks about why he is embracing TV roles'
Matt Dillon films @ mubi
Matt Dillon 1982 Milk Commercial
Actor Matt Dillon On Plight Of The Muslim Community in Myanmar
MATT DILLON INTERVIEW ON DAVID LETTERMAN
Fishing With John Episode 3 - Costa Rica with Matt Dillon
Matt Dillon & Francis Ford Copolla talk Rumble Fish, 1983
Jiminy Glick Interviews Matt Dillon
'For example, Richard Hawkins. You know that Yves-Alain Bois book, Painting as Model? Well, maybe that model should be Ivan Depinieda, a Bruce Weber discovery. You can see him glow, blinding solar corolla amid Autumn’s goodbyes, in one of Hawkins’ collages. Ivan’s a model of the impossible walking around somewhere. Hawkins’ work often defaces or trashes something beautiful to get at how it might be that it became beautiful in the first place. He disarticulates, cuts up and dehabitualises particular bodily inhabitations or infestations of the beautiful so that it (beauty) might actually be seen as the rupture it is, a schism of viewer/viewed, appearance/ blindness. Needless to say that his disarticulations, his collaging together of these parts of boys, is also a way to ask what is the nature of making a work of art, the zero degree of making something into something else by almost leaving it as it is. Ryman disrupts and shatters every constituent part of painting to make a painting; Hawkins allows incoherence to cohere in order to grapple with what really is real and what really is a representation of the real, since they’re easily confused. But is this the best way to talk about it (Hawkins’ tender research)? By trying to approach meaning or interpretation, can whatever the art is be seen more clearly, or does a narrative replace opticality? I’m endlessly frustrated by the status quo of most criticism: no matter how rigorous or trenchant, it so rarely questions its own formal presentation. What is a short review? What is a critical essay? Doesn’t it feel - not that there’s what might neatly be called a progression in the arts, but a continuing liberating delirium - that art’s public encourages change, even shock, but the language employed, the forms commentary takes haven’t changed much since the 19th century? It’s not that art craves a text to which it has only a mimetic relation, but sometimes even that would be more interesting than thesis/exegesis. (Must seeing translated into text mean or could it ‘just’ be?) Confronting Hawkins’ Ivan or re-photographed Matt Dillon, what might be the best way to convey the seeming casualness of his careful, almost pained deliberations?
'The failure to get at whatever Matt Dillon is, is so close to the attempt to get at whatever art is. The question is how to find a language lubricated enough to allow opticality’s dasein to ride the sentence bareback. Language veering off toward the impossible, the incommunicable, somehow intersects the visual as it provides a model for what is not yet, what may possibly be. Call whatever cannot be verbalised, but which art nonetheless presents: ‘Matt Dillon’ or ‘Ivan’.
'Despite the incurable imperfection in the very essence of the present moment, Hawkins’ exact formal concerns try to contain and illuminate the miraculous blossoming of specific impermanences. Proust called them chrysanthemums; Ivan and Matt are just their stand-ins. Proust wrote: they invite one ‘those chrysanthemums, to put away all [one’s] sorrows and to taste with a greedy rapture [...] the all-too-fleeting pleasures of November, whose intimate and mysterious splendour they set ablaze all around.’ 9 You once said that Hawkins contemplates the boys who might exist in Vincent Fecteau’s sculptures, which seem haunted by the possibility of occupation, resisting that occupation and any reference they might begin to allude to, the way Fecteau negotiates space. They frisk something immaterial via boys, via interiors, which is neither boys nor interiors. In their winnowing away of referent, Fecteau’s pieces resist, as Ryman’s paintings do, reproducibility - something about the slide or transparency makes them go dead, fail to communicate whatever it is that constitutes them. Hawkins’ work tries to come to terms with the surplus, the jaw-slackening excess of a will to presence in certain manifestations of human beauty and, thus, of beauty in general; how it has to be mediated or it annihilates. Hawkins magic-markers parts of it away to help figure out the figure. Magic Marker - the name gets at the problem: can the mark make magic, can the mark get at the impossible, can the mark transgress the fissures between the real as it is and the represented, the imagined, as it is and is not?' -- Bruce Hainley
Interviewed in 1983 by Andy Warhol & Maura Moynihan
MATT DILLON: I was at the Roxy all last night.
ANDY WARHOL: Who was there?
DILLON: Some really good band, but I forget the name. I was just basically checking out the breakdancers.
WARHOL: They haven't made a movie of breaking yet—
DILLON: Yeah, I know, it may just be too on the nose to make a movie about it.
WARHOL: But there are so many people doing it now. And graffiti artists, too.
DILLON: Yeah, it's all kind of coming together, rap graffiti. There's this rap tune about Jean-Michel (Basquiat) that the Clash wrote the music for, and Mick Jones produced it. It's really good, but it's hard to find here.
MAURA MOYNIHAN: Do you like the Clash?
DILLON: Yeah, I do.
MOYNIHAN: They disappointed me because I don't think the way they've politicized their music is particularly sincere.
DILLON: Yeah, it's hard to be true to it. In politics there are so many holes, so many contradictions, you don't know what's happening.
MOYNIHAN: Do you like reggae?
DILLON: Oh yeah, I was at the Reggae Lounge—
WARHOL: What's the Reggae Lounge?
DILLON: It's downtown.
WARHOL: Do you want to be a rock star?
DILLON: No, I just follow it with an objective eye.
WARHOL: Do you sing?
DILLON: Not really.
MOYNIHAN: I'll never stop listening to rock and roll. It was the first music I was ever exposed to.
DILLON: The first music I was ever exposed to was Irish folk music, like the Clancy Brothers. My father plays that and Christmas songs.
MOYNIHAN: Do you go to concerts often?
DILLON: No, not that much anymore.
WARHOL: But we saw you at the Police concert.
DILLON: Yeah, that was wild, but it was the Police.
MOYNIHAN: Do you play an instrument?
DILLON: No, not now, but eventually I want to get around to playing the sax.
MOYNIHAN: But the sax is difficult.
DILLON: I know it's hard.
MOYNIHAN: For a novice starting late in life I would recommend the guitar.
DILLON: I don't know why, but I like the saxophone.
MOYNIHAN: Would you be interested in portraying a rock star in a film?
DILLON: Oh yeah, that sounds really interesting. I really like that idea.
MOYNIHAN: Why is it that most rock movies don't work?
DILLON: You know what it is? You have to have good music. It's got to be new, it's got to be good and written for the scenes. And it's hard to do that.
MOYNIHAN: Do you always put oil on your hair?
DILLON: No, it's for the role actually.
MOYNIHAN: What are you doing?
DILLON: It's called Sweet Ginger Brown. It takes place in 1963.
MOYNIHAN: Would you like some orange juice or spring water?
DILLON: Spring water. You eat too much junk food on the set. I eat 12 donuts a day.
WARHOL: Well, in your contract you should say, "No more junk food."
DILLON: The film I worked on with Francis (Coppola), Rumble Fish, was incredible. With Francis you eat really well. The caterers were really good.
MOYNIHAN: Do you have a good relationship with Coppola? Is he a tough director?
DILLON: No, he's not tough, he's patient, but at the same time he likes to move. Coppola's a real good actor's director. He gives you a lot of room to experiment, and he gives you time. When we did Rumble Fish, we did 12-hour rehearsals every day two weeks before we shot.
WARHOL: What's Rumble Fish about?
DILLON: I'd rather not explain it because if I did I'd probably mess it up. It's like poetry on film. It's hard to describe.
MOYNIHAN: Can you describe your character?
DILLON: He's tough, a street guy. He has an older brother, played by Mickey Rourke, who is the legend in the neighborhood: really tough, but really intelligent and the leader of everything. My character looks up to his older brother; he's following in his footsteps, but he can't cut it. He's living in the past remember what his brother was, but his brother couldn't care less.
MOYNIHAN: Where was it filmed?
DILLON: In Tulsa, but it doesn't really take place there.
MOYNIHAN: Do you enjoy your own films?
DILLON: Sometimes I watch the whole film, but sometimes I just see pieces of it. I'll go to a screening and walk out and see the rest of it later.
MOYNIHAN: Do you get nervous?
DILLON: I get really nervous sometimes. I shake. Cause you work so hard on a film, and if it doesn't work out the way you were hoping it to or the way you expected to, it's a heavy shock.
MOYNIHAN: What kind of obstacles do you come up against when you're working on a role?
DILLON: When you're doing a film you have all these long pauses in between shots and takes, so you have to keep the energy going—stay in character, stay in the scene. It's not one continuous flow like in a play or something. You do a piece here, there, stop, take a long pause and do another piece. You gotta keep concentrated, and that's difficult.
WARHOL: How did this happen to you? When did you start making movies?
DILLON: It started when I was about 14. I was discovered, I guess.
WARHOL: Did you want to be in the movies?
DILLON: When I was 14 I didn't even think about it. I remember I was walking down the hall. I was supposed to be in class and I was cutting, and these two men approached me and asked me if I wanted to do an audition. I didn't know what to think. At first I thought it was a joke. I was trying to figure out where the rest of the part was. They said no, it's legitimate. So I said sure. I met the people from the film and went through several callbacks before I finally got the part. That film was called Over the Edge.
MOYNIHAN: When you were called back did it occur to you that you might want to be a serious actor? You weren't going to treat it like a fluke.
DILLON: Yes. When I first went in to read, I felt everything out, and I said to myself, I'm not going to let this pass me by. I was going to be cool about it, but I wasn't going to let it slip by. I saw the scene they were audition people for, and I said, "This is me." I went home and I told my mother. I didn't even say, "Mom, I tried out for this movie today." I said, "Mom, I'm going to be in this movie." I said it like that. And she kind of like just laughed. It was sort of a ridiculous statement, saying it out of the blue like that. I mean how the hell did I know they wanted me?
MOYNIHAN: Of all the films you've made, do you have a particular favorite?
DILLON: Basically, I've really got to admit that of all the ones I've made so far, at different times I didn't like 'em, at other times I've liked 'em, but I would say overall that now I like each one of them.
MOYNIHAN: Why are you so good at playing tough, angry characters?
DILLON: Those are the kinds of roles you can really sink your teeth into. Characters with an edge. When you're playing someone who's sort of seedy, there's less limitation, there's so much space you can travel. There's room to move in.
MOYNIHAN: Why is it harder to play the straight man?
DILLON: Because you can't find him.
MOYNIHAN: I think it's easier to create someone crazy.
DILLON: Yeah, because you're acting. First things first, there's the voice. You can't do anything with the voice. You can do anything with the clothing, with wardrobe. You can explore the whole character. When you're playing the straight guy it's hard to be loose, because you have your audience rooting for you the whole time. It's important for the film to think that way.
MOYNIHAN: Often I root for the bad guys.
DILLON: That's okay. I do, too. There are the good bad guys.
MOYNIHAN: And the evil ones.
DILLON: Yeah, the evil ones are fun.
MOYNIHAN: What kind of roles are you after now?
DILLON: Well, I still want to do character. It's harder though.
MOYNIHAN: Do you want to stay away from romantic leads?
DILLON: Not necessarily. I just don't want to do it in a conventional manner.
WARHOL: Did you go to acting school after your first movie?
DILLON: No, it was after the third movie, to the Lee Strasberg Institute.
MOYNIHAN: Do you socialize with other actors?
DILLON: Yeah, I do. I mean, I still like to keep in touch with my friends at home. That's a nice escape. But I do keep in touch with a lot of my actor friends. Vince Spano has been a friend for a very long time. And Mickey Rourke is a really good guy.
MOYNIHAN: Have you remained friends with the girls you've acted with, Meg Tilly and Diane Lane?
DILLON: Yeah, I mean I don't talk to them a lot. I haven't talked to Meg in a while. Meg's a great girl. She's got The Big Chill. She's doing really well.
WARHOL: Are you living at home?
DILLON: I'm not living at home now, but I had been up until now. My family's out in Westchester so it's nice. I can go out there and escape.
MOYNIHAN: Do you go to the movies often?
DILLON: I haven't as much lately. When you're filming it's hard. I just realized today when I got up and made a mad dash from some clothing that I haven't been doing, my laundry.
MOYNIHAN: Have you taken any time off?
DILLON: I took a long break right after Rumble Fish. I just took it easy. I went to Europe this summer: Germany, England and Paris.
MOYNIHAN: Did you visit all the museums?
DILLON: I visited some of them. I went to the Pompidou. I missed the Louvre actually.
MOYNIHAN: Where did you stay?
DILLON: Near the Pompidou, right down the street in this little, kind of crummy hotel. My room had a little balcony looking over the street. It was kind of exciting. It was fun.
MOYNIHAN: Where you alone?
DILLON: No, I was with someone . . . .
MOYNIHAN: Did people recognize you over there?
DILLON: No, not really. That was good. I felt like I was on some secret mission.
MOYNIHAN: Are you in love with anyone right now?
DILLON: Am I in love with anyone? Yes . . . yeah.
MOYNIHAN: Do you keep the relationship very private?
DILLON: Yeah, very private.
MOYNIHAN: Is it hard being separated when you're working on location?
DILLON: Yeah, that's the whole thing right now.
MOYNIHAN: Do you get lonely? Do you miss her?
DILLON: Yeah, and I think that she gets upset, because I can't give all my time. It's difficult to keep a relationship together.
WARHOL: Is she a model?
DILLON: No, not a model. A Buffalo girl.
MOYNIHAN: When you fall in love do you fall really hard?
DILLON: I fall really hard. I get myself in trouble. For some reason I do, but I have a hard time keeping it going.
MOYNIHAN: Sustaining your passion?
DILLON: Well, not my passion necessarily, not my interest, but commitment. It has nothing to do with getting bored with the person, it has something more to do with my priorities. My work has to be first.
MOYNIHAN: Have you ever had your heart broken?
DILLON: Sure, I've had my heart smashed, stepped on, crunched, everybody has. Vice-versa, too. I know that. I don't screw anybody over, but I know that happens. It's tough.
MOYNIHAN: Do you feel a responsibility to your fans?
DILLON: As far as responsibility goes, I feel responsible for turning in the best performance I can and entertaining them.
MOYNIHAN: I recently read that you are interested in writing.
DILLON: Yeah, I like to write. But it's hard, it's discipline, you know. I have a hard time sitting down and actually doing it.
MOYNIHAN: Are you very disciplined?
DILLON: In some areas. The hardest thing is self-discipline. You know what Suzie Hinton said? She said she wouldn't have written Tex if she hadn't had a deadline.
MOYNIHAN: Are you still very close to her?
DILLON: Yeah, she just had a baby, a boy, her first kid. I've got to give her a call.
MOYNIHAN: You've made three films based on her novels. Do you have plans for more?
DILLON: I know they're working on one now, but I'm not going to do it.
MOYNIHAN: That Was Then, This Is Now?
MOYNIHAN: Other projects?
DILLON: I have a lot of projects, I haven't set anything yet. There are a lot of ideas in the works I'm trying to put together.
MOYNIHAN: Are you very selective about your roles?
DILLON: Yeah, very, which is good, but you can't be overly selective. It is important to be selective, I think. Your heart really has to be in something.
MOYNIHAN: Do you have trouble finding scripts you like?
DILLON: The trouble is, right now, I think it's changing. For a while everyone was going in a set pattern, saying, "This will be commercial, this will be successful." I looked in Variety a few months ago and it looked like the top 10 movies were all sequels. I hope it's changing. You should always be taking chances.
WARHOL: Have you done any plays?
DILLON: No, I haven't. I'd like to, but I'm really looking for some more good films. That's where I'm at right now.
MOYNIHAN: Who are your favorite authors, aside from S.E. Hinton?
DILLON: Recently, I've been reading some Flannery O'Connor. She's really good. She writes about the South.
MOYNIHAN: You're really interested in astrology, aren't you?
DILLON: Well, yeah, I'm interested in it. You're a Leo, aren't you, Andy?
WARHOL: Oh, yeah.
DILLON: Leo, that's a really creative sign, really creative.
WARHOL: How did you get involved with all this?
DILLON: It's just interesting for figuring our relationships between people. I don't really follow it. It's fun to follow, but everybody's a little of everything. If you told me you were a Gemini, if you told me you were a Pisces, I would believe you, so what's the difference? I just think astrology is interesting, so why not?
MOYNIHAN: I can see from your birthdate that you must be Aquarius.
DILLON: Oh, yeah. Aquarians tend to become rebels.
MOYNIHAN: Most of your movies have been about teenagers and their particular frustrations. What do you think kids are concerned about these days?
DILLON: I think after Vietnam everyone was sort of mellow. It was like, yeah, we've done out fighting. Let's be peaceful, let's mellow out. People release frustration now through music, through dress and style. But there's a lot of frustration. That shows where the world is headed.
MOYNIHAN: Do you ever worry about getting drafted?
DILLON: No. But I guess it's scary. You can't control it. You keep going.
WARHOL: How do you keep your good looks?
DILLON: I don't do anything. What good looks?
WARHOL: Do you work out?
DILLON: I work out periodically, spasmodically. Sometimes I work out, sometimes I won't. I don't think about it too much.
MOYNIHAN: What do you do in your spare time?
DILLON: I like to keep loose. I like to read. When it rains it pours, either you have a lot of spare time or you don't. That's the best way of describing it.
MOYNIHAN: Did you do some traveling in Asia?
DILLON: Yeah, when I did the film My Bodyguard I went to Japan and Hong Kong. I liked Hong Kong a lot. Everywhere you turn there's something to see. Soon China's going to have the option of taking it back, but I think the reason China leases Hong Kong there is because it gets so many tourists, they make so much money. China has so much land as it is.
MOYNIHAN: What places do you want to visit?
DILLON: I'll go anywhere. I'll tell you a place I wouldn't want to go: Moscow. I might want to go and see it, but I wouldn't like to stay.
MOYNIHAN: I like being an American.
DILLON: Me, too. Hell yeah! But it's all relative. If you're a human being, you just try to find happiness wherever you are.
MOYNIHAN: How do you create the feeling of anger or despair when you act?
DILLON: It's more of a feeling than a thought. Working with your senses, sense memory, the stuff you get at Strasberg. But you do that intuitively.
MOYNIHAN: Some people can't.
DILLON: I can't imagine anyone not being able to do it.
MOYNIHAN: Do you think reviews are important?
DILLON: Not to me.
MOYNIHAN: Who are your favorite actors?
DILLON: There are a lot of good actors. I like specific performances. I think De Niro is a fantastic actor. Andy, you made that statement that I always hear: "In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes."
MOYNIHAN: Do you think it's true?
DILLON: It's not really true, but it is, you know?
15 of Matt Dillon's 55 films
Jonathan Kaplan Over the Edge (1979)
'In the spring of 1979, a small-budget movie with a somewhat corny-sounding name was released in just a handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles, only to be pulled a few days later due to concerns that audiences would riot. Based (loosely) on a true story about suburban youth gone wild in the suburbs of San Francisco in the early 70s, Over the Edge would never receive wide distribution. In fact, over the next 25 years, the film would be shown in only a few art houses and on cable TV, until its eventual DVD release in September 2005. The film, as certain critics like to label it, is a “lost classic,” and yet—unlike the majority of lost or “cult” classics—Over the Edge is actually worth seeking out. Filled with scenes that are difficult to shake, with teen characters played by real-life teenagers (how often does that happen anymore?), and with an authenticity so intense that it appears at times as if the film could very well be a documentary, Over the Edge remains as thrilling today as it must have appeared three decades ago. While somewhat raw and certainly not without imperfections, it’s easy to understand why Kurt Cobain claimed that the movie “pretty much defined my whole personality,” and why it so heavily influenced Richard Linklater in making his own ode to restless youth, Dazed and Confused.' -- Vice
the entire film
Tony Bill My Bodyguard (1980)
'There is a terrifying moment in adolescence when suddenly some of the kids are twice as big as the rest of the kids. It is terrifying for everybody: For the kids who are suddenly tall and gangling, and for the kids who are still small and are getting beat up all the time. My Bodyguard places that moment in a Chicago high school and gives us a kid who tries to think his way out of it. My Bodyguard is a small treasure, a movie about believable characters in an unusual situation. It doesn't pretend to be absolutely realistic, and the dynamics of its big city high school are simplified for the purposes of the story. But this movie is fun to watch because it touches memories that are shared by most of us, and because its young characters are recognizable individuals, and not simplified cartoon figures like so many movie teen-agers.' -- Roger Ebert
the entire film
Francis Ford Coppola The Outsiders (1983)
'Francis Ford Coppola had not intended to make a film about teen angst until Jo Ellen Misakian, a school librarian from Lone Star Elementary School in Fresno, California, wrote to him on behalf of her seventh and eighth grade students about adapting The Outsiders. When Coppola read the book, he was moved not only to adapt and direct it, but to follow it the next year by adapting Hinton's novel Rumble Fish. The latter film's cast also included Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, and Glenn Withrow. The film was shot on location in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Coppola filmed The Outsiders and Rumble Fish back-to-back in 1982. He wrote the screenplay for the latter while on days off from shooting the former. Many of the same locations were used in both films, as were many of the same cast and crew members. The credits are shown at the beginning of the film in the style normally found in a published play. Coppola's craving for realism almost led to disaster during the church-burning scene. He pressed for "more fire", and the small, controlled blaze accidentally triggered a much larger, uncontrolled, fire, which a downpour fortunately doused.' -- collaged
Francis Ford Coppola Rumble Fish (1983)
'One of the Coppola’s most overtly stylized works, Rumble Fish uses its breathtaking black and white, Koyanisqaatsi-inspired time-lapse photography and propulsive original score by The Police’s Stewart Copland to evoke a dream world of alienated youth. A beautiful postmodern art film, Rumble Fish is wonderfully uncertain of its time and place, stranding glittering icons of Fifties Americana - pool halls, flickering neon signs - within an Eighties post-industrial wasteland. The stylistic bricolage shapes the performances too, with Matt Dillon channeling Method Acting as a young man infatuated with the enigma of his self-absorbed brother, played with whispering intensity by a Marcel Camus-meets-Marlon Brando modeled Mickey Rourke. The late Dennis Hopper makes a poignant appearance as the absent even when present father who proves that the center inevitably cannot hold.' -- Harvard Film Archive
Garry Marshall The Flamingo Kid (1984)
'The Flamingo Kid is a coming of age story set in the Summer of 1963. Jeffery Willis is a recent high school graduate, very smart but from a working class background and unsure of where he is headed in life. His father, played by Hector Elizando when he still had some hair, wants him to go to college, preferably Columbia, and become an engineer. Like most teens, Jeffery resists doing the thing his father wants and explores some other options. His friends from the old neighborhood take him to their beach club one day and things begin to change right there. There is nothing groundbreaking about this story. It has certainly been told before and since, but it is an exceptionally well told tale with a couple of very nice performances from the lead actor and his character’s mentor and finally antagonist. The film was directed by Garry Marshall, and that may be a positive or a negative in your eyes. Mr. Marshall is a competent film maker with a lot of fine credits to his name. Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries are successful films with big and loyal audiences and Marshall does have a distinct style that often reflects his practical roots in television. There are no fancy camera angles, the production design is spot on, and the actors are well cast and directed. Without much visual flourish, Marshall comes to depend on a good script and solid actors. Exit to Eden and Georgia Rule are good illustrations of the need for a script in his hands. Fortunately, this movie has a nice one credited to him, Neal Marshall (I suspect a relative but did not discover a clear link) and some script doctoring by Academy Award winner Bo Goldman.' -- 70srichard
the entire film
Arthur Penn Target (1985)
'Much of the fun found in Target comes from the chemistry between Gene Hackman and a young Matt Dillon (as Chris), but there are also a handful of chases and explosions to keep things moving along. Fans of 80's cinema will know exactly what I mean when I call Target a cross between Frantic and Gotcha! Directed rather well, albeit deliberately, by the great Arthur Penn (director of Bonnie & Clyde and The Miracle Worker, among others), Target is a standard "pace & chase" spy thriller, only it's got the added ammunition of Hackman and Dillon -- which is a lot more than most of these types of movies have. The European settings add a good deal of color to a narrative framework that, frankly, we could probably recite by heart at this point. Basically expect a few solid action bits, a handful of potentially hazardous allies, a few surprising twists, and the requisite explosions near the finalé.' -- DVD Talk
the entire film
Howard Brookner Bloodhounds Of Broadway (1989)
'Bloodhounds of Broadway is a 1989 film based on four Damon Runyon stories. It was directed by Howard Brookner and starred Matt Dillon, Jennifer Grey, Anita Morris, Julie Hagerty, Rutger Hauer, Madonna, Esai Morales and Randy Quaid. Madonna and Jennifer Grey perform a duet, "I Surrender Dear", during the film. Madonna earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance in the film, where she lost to Brooke Shields for Speed Zone. Bloodhounds of Broadway was Brookner's first feature-length film (and his last, as he died shortly before the film opened). The film was recut by the studio and Walter Winchellesque narration added.' -- collaged
Gus van Sant Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
'Drugstore Cowboy is a period piece, so we get an old Sylvania TV set and that groovy floral-patterned armchair in the foreground. But notice something else about this house: It’s clean. Granted, they’ve just moved in, but it’s still refreshing to see a movie about drug users—flat-out junkies, here—who don’t always inhabit a pigpen. The only item out of place is a bag of fries that’s spilled out onto a cabinet of some sort behind the groovy armchair, and it’s probably significant that Dillon moves into that armchair, giving us a good look at the mess just past his head, when Lynch starts talking about Panda. Symbolism! And yet he cleans it up right in the middle of his tirade, as if making an effort to contain the madness that’s about to spill out. Just as real-life drunks tend to over-enunciate because they’re afraid they may slur, real-life druggies are often more self-conscious than the clean and sober, which is precisely what fuels their tortured reasoning. Capturing that behavior may not be a laugh riot à la Pineapple Express or Half Baked, but what comedy is there, rooted in recognition, hits much closer to home.' -- The AV Club
Cameron Crowe Singles (1992)
'Singles was the second movie written and directed by Cameron Crowe. It’s an amiable rom-com starring Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgwick, and some say a great movie, but is most notable because it was filmed and set in Seattle, 1991, just as that city’s musical subculture was about to explode. In the book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History Of Grunge, Crowe says that the March 1990 heroin-related death of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood — and the community that came together after his death — served as something of an inspiration for the film. Said Crowe, “It made me want to do Singles as a love letter to the community that I was really moved by.” That community is represented to an insane degree in the movie. Crowe started production on Singles a year after Wood’s death, in March 1991 — months before the release of Nevermind or Ten (in fact, when he started work on Singles, Pearl Jam was still called Mookie Blaylock) — and one of the film’s narrative threads follows Matt Dillion as the leader of a fictional Seattle rock band called Citizen Dick. Rather than cast actors to play the rest of Citizen Dick, though, former rock journalist Crowe gave the parts to three members of Mookie Blaylock: Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament; much of Dillon’s wardrobe in the film was borrowed from Ament. Singles is loaded with such ultra-specific references and cameos.' -- Stereogum
Gus van Sant To Die For (1995)
'The film is filled with perfect character studies. Dillon, the former teen idol whose acting has always been underrated, here turns in a sly comic performance as a man dazzled by beauty but seduced by comfort. Illeana Douglas is Janice, Suzanne's ice-skating sister-in-law, who spots her as a phony and makes life uncomfortable by calling her on it. Dan Hedaya plays the father-in-law who rules his Italian family with an ebullient hand. And Buck Henry plays a high school teacher with a vast repertory of colorful verbal threats for his students. Finally, though, the movie is about Suzanne, and Nicole Kidman's work here is inspired. Her clothes, her makeup, her hair, her speech, her manner, even the way she carries herself (as if aware of the eyes of millions) are all brought to a perfect pitch: Her Suzanne is so utterly absorbed in being herself that there is an eerie conviction, even in the comedy. She plays Suzanne as the kind of woman who pities us - because we aren't her, and you know what? We never will be.' -- collaged
Allison Anders Grace of My Heart (1996)
'Part biopic of a singer-songwriter who waits most of her career to be heard, and part paean to a golden decade of American pop music, Allison Anders’ Grace of My Heart is an ambitious comedy-drama that is energetic and entertaining, even if it loses steam in its disharmonious final act. Covering the late ’50s through to 1970, the film boasts a terrific song score written in the style of that era and amusing performances by a strong cast. Illeana Douglas would seem an admirably unconventional choice to play the gifted songwriter and later singer (reportedly modeled on Carole King) who leaves behind her wealthy Philadelphia family to pursue a music career in New York and endures a string of personal disappointments before finally finding her voice. The slightly off-kilter humor the actress brought to pics like To Die For and Grief adds much to her role here. But she is less than convincing as a big-voiced songstress not least of all due to some poorly lip-synched numbers and despite her warmly engaging performance, she seems underequipped to carry the film, especially in its more dramatic developments.' -- Variety
John McNaughton Wild Things (1998)
'“The plot of the film delivers a number of satisfying twists and turns,” claims Columbia Pictures in a press handout for this crime story set in the Florida Everglades. “To ensure that audiences can fully enjoy these surprises, we ask that you please not disclose the events and ending.” So let me concentrate, rather, on disclosing the philosophy of the movie, which John McNaughton directed from a screenplay by Stephen Peters. What I'm supposed to find “satisfying” is predicated on the idea that almost everyone in the world is trash. Unfortunately, when one goes along with this premise, who does what and to whom doesn't matter a whole lot. Maybe the film will keep you amused—and maybe not. Despite the cast—Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Theresa Russell, Robert Wagner, and Bill Murray—I found it preposterous.' -- Jonathan Rosenbaum
Matt Dillon City of Ghosts (2002)
'City of Ghosts reminded me of The Quiet American, which likewise has visiting Westerners, beautiful women, sinister local figures, etc. It lacks a monkey, but had a more sharply-told story, one with a message. The Quiet American was based on Graham Greene's novel about America's illegal activities, circa the mid-'50s, in Vietnam. The screenplay for City of Ghosts, by Dillon and sometime David Lynch collaborator Barry Gifford, avoids a rich vein of true Cambodian stories and recycles the kind of generic financial crimes that Hollywood perfected in the 1940s. Still, sometimes the very texture of the film, and the information that surrounds the characters on the screen, make it worth seeing. I didn't believe in James Caan's cons, but I believed him, and at times like that it's helpful to stop keeping score and live in the moment. Between the Caan and Dillon characters there are atmosphere, desperation and romance, and, at the end, something approaching true pathos. Enough.' -- Roger Ebert
Matt Dillon: City of Ghosts Q&A w/ Director, Cinematographer and 1st AD
Paul Haggis Crash (2004)
'Crash, screenwriter Paul Haggis' multiple award-winning directorial début, is set in a Los Angeles that is part Quentin Tarantino, part Paul Thomas Anderson, part Spike Lee, and part Bret Easton Ellis. Haggis' L.A. is also a place that has precious little in common with the Southern California metropolis located on Planet Earth. Watching Crash, we learn that the Angeleno boiling – definitely not melting – pot is about to explode at any moment. According to Haggis and co-screenwriter Bobby Moresco, Los Angeles denizens spend all their spare time hating, fearing, misunderstanding, and cheating on one another. And perhaps much of that is true, except that most of that hate, fear, misunderstanding, and cheating have absolutely nothing to do with ethnic or national differences. But not in Haggis and Moresco's L.A., where everything revolves around skin color and nationality. Subtlety is a word that is unfortunately missing from Haggis' film dictionary. Million Dollar Baby, which he adapted for the screen, features mostly one-dimensional characters, while Crash is chiefly a parade of ethno-oriented verbal and physical assaults interspersed among different subplots tied together by contrived “coincidences.”' -- Alt Film Guide
Bent Hamer Factotum (2005)
'I knew a fair amount about Bukowski. The persona that he has in the book sounds more grizzled like Ben Gazzara or Warren Oates. He sounds gravelly voiced, and then when you hear the real Bukowski, he’s kinda got this almost effeminate kind of sing-songy delivery which is interesting. I think in a lot of ways it was an affectation. He didn’t like to do readings and stuff. I didn’t want to get involved in doing an impersonation of Bukowski. They [the filmmakers] were like, "Well, we don’t want that either because it’s Henry Chinowski, Bukowski’s alter ego." That actually gave me a little latitude and I felt more comfortable. Then I spoke to Linda Bukowski and she said, "Of course you know it’s autobiographical." So then I’m right back where I started. So inevitably all roads do lead to Bukowski.' -- Matt Dillon
p.s. Hey. Two things. (1) Like I mentioned yesterday, I'll be away from the blog and Paris in Geneva starting tomorrow for several days. While I'm gone, you'll get 'back from the dead' posts on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and then there'll be a great new guest-post on Saturday. I'll be back on Monday to do the p.s. and catch up with all the accumulated comments. (2) Please read the text I've posted in the blog's upper right hand corner and consider participating in theater-maker and longtime d.l. Chris Goode's new work based on this very blog. If you're game, please drop a note to the email address included in the text. Thank you very much! ** David Ehrenstein, Could well be. Oh, that's very sad news about Fornes. The worst. Congrats on the great traffic for your Sacks piece. Very much deserved! ** James, Hi. I don't think I know 'MOPUS' or Oisin Curran. I'l go find out what the deal is. I haven't read 'The Book of Strange New Things' by Michel Faber, and, if it's that lengthy, I probably won't, ha ha. Hope it has that particular awesomeness that huge books deliver when they're worth their weight. ** Steevee, Hi. You think it was re-closeting and not just something they decided not to go into in their allotted obituary time because his being gay has no obvious bearing on the great majority of the work by him that everyone knows? I hope that weird result on your test is no big deal. ** Damien Ark, RIP: jason23. Ha ha. Oh, man, awesomeness supreme on the link/gift. Thank you, thank you so much! ** Chris Goode, Hi, Chris! Yay about the amount you had to talk about. I mean, that's good, right? Sounds good-plus. Yes, as you see, I have posted your call-out in the blog's upper corner. I also posted it on Facebook, and it's currently getting swarmed with 'likes' and a growing number of 'I'll do it.' Monday the 7th is good for the Skype chat. And afternoon is totally good for me. We can just sort out the exact time between now and then, but, yes, it's a done deal. Thank you, like, ever so much, Chris! This is all super crazy and exciting. Talk soon, yay! ** Thomas Moronic, Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Mega. The gold at the end of the weird rainbow. Thank you, T! Stephen's music for 'Eternelle Idole' is great, of course. It's cool he's putting it out because, due to the difficulty of doing that piece live -- it needs to be performed in an ice skating rink -- not enough people have heard his crucial part. Glad my gif talk was okay and fruitful. Man, as you can imagine, I am excited with no clue whatsoever about what Chris's 'Weaklings' is going to be. Have big fun, and thank you a lot for getting involved in it from way over here on the sidelines. ** Krayton, Thanks, man, but I'm just being a person with excellent tastes as best I can. Best case writer scenario: Suffer only when writing, if then. This building does have a cellar, actually. There are no lights, and you have to put your iPhone on flashlight mode to go down there. It looks like a cross between a medieval prison and a squashed barn full of horse stalls. Very ... promising, ha ha. ** Styrofoamcastle, Cool, man. Really glad it had something in it. Big love, me. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. I feel like sometimes people mistake one obituary in one newspaper that'll fade back into the massive internet archives within a couple days with a tombstone that has been planted on the deceased person's actual grave or something. No, I think the Undertaker and I would get along like soup and sandwich. But thanks for the kind offer. ** H, Hi. Yep, he was a sweetie. I would say that he and I mutually befriended each other. Thank you about the trip. It should be nerve-wracking in the way premieres always are, but mostly a lot of fun. Have a good week! ** Alright. I've done a Day on the very endearing Matt Dillon for you, and I hope you'll find stuff of use therein. I will be back with the p.s. on Monday, and I hope you all have excellent weeks in the meantime. Don't hesitate to leave comments, especially over the weekend when you'll have a new guest-post to ponder, because I will respond to each every one of them as soon as I get back. The blog will see you tomorrow!
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 7:07 AM