Southland Tales is one of those movies that I don’t even know where to start “reviewing.” So I’m not going to even try. I’ll just say this: The movie was awesome and quite possibly made just for me.
Other details worth noting in case you are curious about the movie:
- It stars “The Rock,” “Buffy,” and JT.
- Not a small number of supporting roles are played by former Saturday Night Live cast members: Cheri Oteri, Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, and Amy Poehler.
- Other actors worth noting: Bai Ling, John Larroquette, Mandy Moore, Holmes Osborne, Zelda Rubinstein, Will Sasso, and Seann William Scott.
- There were for sure cameos by Janeane Garofalo (!!!) and Kevin Smith and I THINK Eli Roth.
- The soundtrack included Moby, The Killers, Radiohead, Blur, and the Pixies.
- There are two “musical” numbers: Sarah Michelle Gellar singing “Teen Horniness Is Not a Crime” and Justin Timberlake “singing” (lip-synching) the Killers’ song “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
- Prior to Southland Tales, the writer/director Richard Kelly created Donnie Darko.
- The movie seemed like a combination of the films: Magnolia + Mulholland Drive + Nowhere + End of Days.
- The movie’s story seemed like it was co-written by Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut.
- In fact, Rebekah Del Rio, who sings “Llorando” (“Crying” by Roy Orbison) in Mulholland Drive, sings “The Star Spangled Banner” in Southland Tales. (And if this isn’t an explicit direct homage to David Lynch than I’m not sure what would be…)
- The film is over 2 1/2 hours long.
- Southland Tales premiered at Cannes in 2006 and had a horrible reception… Despite this Sony Pictures bought it and Kelly re-edited it. (I’m already getting excited about a DVD/Blu-Ray release with a director’s cut and/or deleted scenes!!)
In leiu of a fleshed-out plot review, here is a run-on sentence explanation: After nuclear attacks in the southwest US WWIII starts (against Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Syria) and the PATRIOT Act becomes even more intense and I think all media is replaced by USIDENT (including USIDENTelevision) and there is a repubican senator from California running for president and his daughter is dating a movie star who is abducted and brainwashed and co-writes a movie screenplay with a porn star and becomes involved with a leftist neo-Marxist movement that is secretly funded by a German scientist who figures out a way to create an unlimited supply of energy that incidentally causes a rift in the forth dimension that ends up creating a present and future version of a soldier who fought in the Iraq war and was injured in Fallujah in a “friendly fire” incident involving Justin Timberlake who ends up becoming something of a drug lord. Oh and in the end the world ends with a bang, not a whimper because a messiah brings on the apocalypse.
I loved the film but I’m not sure I would recommend it until you enjoy dystopic schizophrenic film experiences (I, for the record, do).
Here is Justin Timberlake “doing” the Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done”: