Buffalo '66

Buffalo '66 ★★★½

We're the couple that doesn't touch one another.

Two things I definitely want to touch on in this review. One, this looks like very few other movies I've seen, which I mean through its very grainy picture quality, the washed-out colors, and the unconventional framing and editing. I was trying to think of who or what else I was being reminded of, because I felt like it was on the tip of my tongue but it wasn't really clicking. (At first I thought this came off like Wes Anderson if he shot a scuzzy 70's porno, but that's not the exact kind of comparison I wanted.) I eventually figured it out looking up who the cinematographer is for this. Lance Acord, aka the cinematographer for almost all of Spike Jonze's movies. The only other movie I can think of that looks and feels close enough to this is Being John Malkovich. While that movie of course delves head first into gonzo urban fantasy, Buffalo '66 goes for something drastically different. That brings me to the second thing I wanted to talk about. Writer/director/actor efforts can widely vary in terms of quality, of course, but I feel like there is still some sort of common connective thread between them: Even if the head of the project is playing a character with unlikable qualities, they're not too unlikable. Often you'll even get something like Tommy Wiseau in The Room, where the creator puts themselves in a project that tries to make them look as cool, nice, or sexy as possible. Whatever someone like Wiseau or the director of an awful 80's action movie Red Letter Media would cover on their show would do, that is the absolute opposite of what Vincent Gallo does here. His direction is strong, his writing switches back and forth between natural and staged, but above anything else, the character he plays in Buffalo '66 is an absolute loser. A trash human being who's pathetic and unlikable in any measurable fashion you could get lost digging into. This is a viscerally uncomfortable movie, giving me the feeling I have to imagine one has if you were forced to go on a stage in front of hundreds of people in your underwear, or that weight in your gut and this invisible blanket that coats your body when you see a couple loudly argue outside in public. You have this mass in you and around you that you want to get rid of, but it feels like Gallo is nearly daring you to watch how low he can bring himself. In that way, this movie is nearly inspirational, yet in the way someone like a streaker running across a football field would be. They've got to have balls to do what they're doing, but they're also possibly (really probably) not fully there in the head. I am not sure I have been more excited to see what the hell other people have written about a movie until now as I finish this review. Watch it for nothing else other than being able to say you've seen it, and the people who also experienced it can rub your back and tell you things are okay.


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