Running Time: 113 minutes.
Tag-line: "The adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world."
Notable Cast or Crew: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Rachel Tictotin (TOTAL RECALL, CON AIR), Tuesday Weld (PRETTY POISON, LORD LOVE A DUCK), Barbara Hershey (THE RIGHT STUFF, THE STUNT MAN), Raymond J. Barry (COOL RUNNINGS, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY), and Frederic Forrest (APOCALYPSE NOW, TRAUMA, THE CONVERSATION). Music by James Newton Howard (WATERWORLD, UNBREAKABLE, ER). Cinematography by Andrej Bartkowiak (PRINCE OF THE CITY, Q&A, TWINS, SPEED).
Best one-liner: See review.
Despite its famous rant pertaining to certain golden-arched dining establishment (well, technically it's 'WhammyBurger'), FALLING DOWN is kind of like McTAXI DRIVER.
We've got our white male rage, our paramilitary transformation, and our casual racism; but instead of delving deeply into our hero's mind to see the deadened core, the writhing frustrations, and the bubbling violence firsthand (like in ROLLING THUNDER, HARDCORE, or RAGING BULL), we've got ridiculous situations, clichés, and a parade of one-liners. On an intellectual level, this film is a failure. It tries to mimic the mere trappings of past masterpieces (the Schrader flicks I’ve named, the snowglobe breakage from CITIZEN KANE, the hypnotic traffic jam that opens 8 1/2), in my opinion, so that it doesn't have to ask the tough questions, and instead would sorta just slide into the pantheon of greatness like a slick little puzzle piece. Well, that didn’t work. So why almost three and a half stars?
Well, as Freddy Krueger would attest, I am a sucker for one-liners. And these one-liners are damn solid. And they’re all delivered by a horn-rimmed, wearily psychotic Michael Douglas.
I am also a sucker for scenes that could have easily been culled from a classic Golan-Globus flick. Scenes like this one.
To a convenience store owner, as he trashes his overpriced goods: “I’m just standing up for my rights as a consumer!” To a would-be drive-by artist: “Take some shooting lessons, asshole!”
To a rich, crusty golfer: “You're gonna die, wearing that stupid hat. How does it feel?”
It feels pretty good from out here, Mike.
As such, the entertainment level is where FALLING DOWN succeeds. Most of the time, it feels like a straight-up comedy. Hey- it’s from the director of D.C. CAB, not THE SEVENTH SEAL. And, even in 1993, it adheres to that ironclad rule of 80’s cinema: if there’s ever a fancy, special order cake present, it must not be eaten: someone will be sucker-punched and –KER-SQUASH- land right on top of it. Frederic Forrest gets a nice bit part as a closeted Neo-Nazi:
Frederic Forrest: terrifying.
Rachel Ticotin plays -gasp- a tuff Latina cop, Tuesday Weld sends a postcard from Nagsville, U.S.A., and Robert Duvall’s a worn out detective on that clichéd last day before retirement (but still manages to imbue his cardboard role with an abundance of humanity) .
Rounding out the talent is hazy, sweltering, evocative L.A. cinematography by Sidney Lumet-lenser Andrej Bartkowiak. I'm getting sweaty just thinking about it. In all, I'll pass along about three and a half stars.
6. BLIND FURY (1989, Philip Noyce)
7. HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951, John Farrow)
8. HIGH SCHOOL U.S.A. (1983, Rod Amateau)
9. DR. JEKYLL AND MS. HYDE (1995, David Price)
10. MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL (1997, Clint Eastwood)
11. 1990: BRONX WARRIORS (1982, Enzo G. Castellari)
12. FALLING DOWN (1993, Joel Schumacher)