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"Fuckin' iguana." : The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

Yesterday afternoon, just as I started watching this movie, my roommate--Starbucks Queen--arrived home from work and joined me in the living room. "What are you watching?" she asked. "Nicolas Cage movie," I said, "You know I can't resist Nic." "Who can?" she replied.

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans is the story of Lieutenant Terence McDonagh, an officer with the New Orleans police department. We find out in the first two minutes that he's not a very nice guy to start with, and a debilitating injury does not improve him any. He is completely immoral--shaking down teenagers for drugs, threatening people, and generally behaving like a out-of-control crazy person (lots of that good old fashioned "bug-eyed and screaming" Cage here, of course. Then again, when you're playing a crackhead, maybe that's finally justified?) As he investigates the murder of five Senegalese immigrants, his world begins to unravel at frightening speed. He is juggling as fast as he can, but it's beginning to look like Terence isn't going to be able to keep all the balls in the air.

The film was an "A-List of the B-List" with appearances by Eva Mendes as Terence's girlfriend, Val Kilmer and Shawn Hatosy as his coworkers, Xzibit as a feared drug dealer, Brad Dourif as a bookie, Jennifer Coolidge as Terence's drunken step-mother, Fairuza Balk as a highway officer, and Michael Shannon as a nervous property clerk. All the performances were reasonably decent, though I thought Jennifer Coolidge's was particularly good, since she was playing fiercely against type. Nicolas Cage over-acted as usual, but at the same time his manic shrieking and morose sulking were in character of a man spiraling out-of-control. Also, his hair didn't make me want to cry, which with him is always a victory.

The thing I guess I found most odd were the strange "reptile POV" shots for no reason, or some of the strange choices the director made. I realize that if your main character is whacked out on drugs you can get away with some things (the break dancing dead guy, for one) but the loooooong shot from the POV of a hallucinated iguana? I just don't know.

After the movie was over, SQ looked at me and said "What was the point of that? Was it supposed to be funny? Or dramatic? Or what?" and I said, "It's a Herzog movie. I think it's supposed to be weird." "Well, they succeeded admirably with that, then," she said as she left the room.

I can't say I exactly liked the movie, but it was significantly less terrible than I expected before I watched it.

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