"Kicked in the Head"
Opened: Septemer 26, 1997 | Rated: R
Kevin Corrigan thinks he is uncommonly clever. In "Kicked in the Head," a film he wrote and stars in, he draws a parallel between the stagnant life of a aimless Gen X street hustler and the crash of the Hindenberg.
Just to make sure we get the point, the old newsreel footage of the Hindenberg crash is shown three or four times in the course of the movie -- and Redmond, the character he plays, carries with him an animated flip book of the same footage.
As hard as he tries, Corrigan's story completely fails to demonstrate why Redmond's life is like the Hindenberg.
The movie, however, is like the Hindenberg. It goes down in flames so fast that in minutes all that's left is a burning outline.
The outline of "Kicked in the Head" goes something like this:
Redmond unwittingly agrees to deliver a brick of cocaine for his uncle (James Woods). He doesn't deliver the brick. He goes to stay with his beer distributor friend Stretch (Michael Rappaport) and asks him lots of philosophical questions about Adam and Eve, despite the fact that Stretch is about as bright as a refrigerator bulb.
The guys who were supposed to receive the cocaine ask Redmond if he has it. He says he doesn't, but he does. He runs into his old girlfriend Happy (Lili Taylor) and tells her to go away. He meets a stewardess (Linda Fiorentino) and decides he's in love with her for no explored reason.
Why does he love the stewardess? That kind of depth is beyond this movie. Why does he hang out with Stretch? Why doesn't he give back the coke? Why do the coke guys let him go even though he doesn't?
Don't ask questions. "Kicked in the Head" is too busy using the "Plant of the Apes" movies as a cheap metaphor and spending five minutes of screen time listening to a nameless, one-scene character deliver a drunken rant about love and sex at a party.
Director Matthew Harrison, who has made five or six movies that never got released but apparently won awards at film festivals I've never heard of, has no idea what to do with the talent at his disposal.
Woods, Rappaport, Taylor and Fiorentino, despite their proven abilities, are all dreadful here. Beyond that -- they're boring. In fact, I don't know what they're doing here. Maybe they all appeared as a favor to someone. Or, I suppose, the meaningless, shallow script might have looked a little funny on paper. But in the hands of Harrison, it's a flat and uninteresting.
Why did Corrigan think people will want to go see a movie about a 20-something slacker so pathetically lost in his own meaninglessness that his life pivots advice from drunks and coke addicts?
Probably because he's a 20-something slacker so pathetically lost in his own meaninglessness that he takes advice from drunks and coke addicts.
The better question would be why did October Films, the distribution house that released "Breaking the Waves" and "Secrets and Lies", last year's two best movies, finance crap like this?