Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★★½

Two teams destroyed the Super Bowl during my childhood: the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills. Even if you weren’t just watching the Super Bowl for the commercials, you ended up just watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. In a span of eight years, the Broncos lost four Super Bowls, and the Bills lost three. 

The only close game was Super Bowl XXV, when the New York Giants beat the Bills 20-19. Scott Norwood’s wide right field goal that would have won the game for Buffalo is one of the main inciting incidents for the film Buffalo ‘66. Vincent Gallo’s character Billy Brown is fresh out of prison, and he kidnaps Layla, played by Christina Ricci, so he can pass her off as his wife and impress his parents. I won’t get into how Scott Norwood comes into play, but I love how it works into the story of the film.

Vincent Gallo was also the writer and director, and apparently he didn’t get along with his great cast-which also included Anjelica Houston, Ben Gazarra, and Rosanna Arquette. Billy’s personality is so prickly, his temper so hair trigger, it was difficult to not assume that Gallo was probably like this in real life. Turns out… he is! 

Gallo has been in some good movies, but I haven’t watched either of his other (two) feature directorial efforts. Neither were received very well, but the filmmaking in Buffalo ‘66 is really impressive. There’s beautiful framing, and a washed out look that both suits wintry Buffalo and emphasizes Billy’s isolated, rootless existence. Houston and Gazarra are great as Billy’s parents. Watching Billy react to Gazarra’s creepiness towards Layla and Houston’s psychotic Bills’ rooting is gold. I wish Gallo could have kept making films like this!

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