In Another Day in Paradise, sunlight has a special way of shimmering through blades of grass and falling over half-naked bodies that resemble walking corpses. This purposefully disturbing film, like Kids and Bully, is nihilistic and highlighted by Clark’s singularly gonzo sense of humor. Mel (James Woods) nurses nephew Bobbie (Vincent Kartheiser) back to health with heroin, and the hallucinations that subsequently grip the teenager force him to recall his past abuse at the hands of his father. If not for this context, Clark’s familiar fixation with the young male body (and the power of the male unit) would be completely offensive. Melanie Griffith gives a daring performance as a junkie Mother Goose: She loves and nurtures the film’s teenagers but that’s where her positive influence ends, disturbingly searching for a vein on her body to stick a needle into. Fittingly, the rest of the performances are as sketchily drawn as the characters themselves are sketchy: Unless one accepts his role as that of playful subverter of gangster mythos, Lou Diamond Phillips is virtually unwatchable as a nelly thug who aids Mel and Bobbie during their bank heists. Part kiddie porn, part heist flick, Another Day in Paradise is Clark’s bold, pessimistic, aimless, frequently stunning response to Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (a film, reportedly, inspired by Clark’s photographs).
- Larry Clark
- Stephen Chin, Christopher B. Landon
- James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Vincent Kartheiser, Natasha Gregson Wagner, James Otis
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