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Blue in the Face (1995).

December 4, 2007

The Scoop:
The title is especially appropriate given how much the actors blab in this film.

Shot by Wayne Wang and Paul Auster along with their film “Smoke,” “Blue in the Face” is nothing more than a series of improvised vignettes in and around the smoke shop run by Harvey Keitel’s character in the first film. Keitel is the only holdover from “Smoke” and the film is entirely improvised.

And boy does it show.

Most of the scenes meander to nowhere in particular, and the only interest comes in seeing so many big name actors and musicians try to ad lib off each other. Some aren’t too bad (such as Madonna delivering a singing telegram, or Lou Reed’s discussion of his fear of travel), but most of them just plain suck.

It’s like an acting class exercise gone wrong, but if you’re in the mood for pointless indulgence, this is the film for you.

Best Line:
“Yes, I am smoking cigarettes and some of my friends have died of them, but I am not downing a quart of scotch in 15 minutes. Looked at that way, cigarettes are actually a health tool.”

Side Note:
This was shot in just five days. Wang and Auster claimed to take their inspiration for the movie from Roger Corman.

Companion Viewing:
“Smoke” (1995).


Take a Look:
This series of clips should give you a pretty good idea of the feel of the movie. And just because it’s a random, patched-together string of clips, don’t think that the full film is any more coherent. It plays just like this, but with more aimless cameos.

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