Posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009 by Hunter Stephenson
UPDATE: According to a publicist who represents the producers and emailed me regarding the rumor.: “No - we have a slow 35 city roll out.” So, it appears many people beyond NY/LA will have a chance to dance in the moonlight with a cracked out Nicolas Cage.
It’s hard both to deny and describe the crazy cinematic potion that has flowed off the marketing materials and clips for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans thus far. I cannot align these entertaining yet toxic vibes with another recent film, and many critics who see it—and like it—seem to share the task. It’s as if the voodoo weirdness that floats throughout pockets of the troubled region seeped into the dailies and into the gainfully employed skin of star Nicolas Cage. Much of this can be chalked off to the film’s publicized equation of iguana hallucinations, wild-man director Werner Herzog, and crack rocks, the math of which has stirred up semi-ironic anticipation for the film within movie culture. Unfortunately, it may be that a wide theatrical release for this anomaly is no longer happening; First Look Pictures, the film’s U.S. distributor looks to rush the film to DVD/Blu-ray for a February 2010 release.
The news has surfaced in a listing at Blu-Ray.com, which adds that the film, “will only get a limited release in November before going to home video.” The scheduling tidbit was discovered by The Playlist, who are as equally disappointed and confounded by the decision, if true, as this writer at /Film. We’re awaiting confirmation. Sure, Nic Cage’s box office draw is unpredictable, mainly because he’s attracted to projects that are self-consciously kooky (Bangkok Dangerous, The Wicker Man), obnoxiously broad (Next, National Treasure), or both (Con Air, which is a guilty pleasure). His film choices almost share a link with BL: PoCNO co-star Val Kilmer except they are louder, more scrutinized and, well, don’t go straight-to-DVD.
Personally, I find that part of the appeal of Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant—which takes its drug-fueled, corrupt cop bare bones from director Abel Ferrara‘s similarly titled, amazing predecessor—is that it exemplifies Cage’s eccentric filmography as shotgunned into a trashy, art house B-movie with crossover potential. Not to mention that, in addition to Kilmer, the supporting cast is quite recognizable and usually game to get nuts: Eve Mendes as the love interest (i.e. she was hired to blankly nod, which is fine), Jennifer Coolidge (Party Down), Fairuza Balk (The Craft), Brad Dourif (Deadwood, Halloween 2), and Michael Shannon (the way underrated Bug, also recently cast Kim Foley in the upcoming The Runaways). If First Look’s questionable decision sticks, it will be a shame that we won’t see a dirty-and-loose Herzog film in the top 10 at the box office; especially when you consider that his last brush with the mainstream, 2006′s solid Rescue Dawn, only grossed $5 million.
Ostensibly, this is the rare movie that would pull-in thugs, film school nerds, hipsters, mall people, drug addicts, and iguana enthusiasts into the same screening room. First Look Pictures is living in a dream if they expect so many derelicts, plebes and bores to come together at a single residence to enjoy (or loathe) the experience together. We’ll let you know if the company reaches this realization in the days ahead, or shoots down the rumor entirely. Currently, the film is only set to open in L.A. and NYC on November 20th, though Chicago and San Francisco also seem in the mix.