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Breakfast of Champions

You'll need that martini after this one.

I was left limp like a raggy kitten by Alan J. Rudolph's hapless rendition of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Breakfast of Champions. Shot in Twin Falls, Idaho, the film was somewhat entertaining, but there was nothing to hold on to but one stinking universal truth, and that had been distilled into pee by the Hollywood Machine. The Theater of the Obvious is not what I'm after when I go to see a Vonnegut story. Some say that the movie's been hard to sell because it's nearly "experimental". No dice; it's a piece of shit. It's not a smart movie, nor is it clever. However, there are some great performances to note, making the movie do-able as a renter.

Nick Nolte, who is, admittedly, one of my nightmares, is brilliant in this film as a repressed closet cross-dresser with a yen for sex, yoga and Maui. Albert Finney is grungy and grand as Kilgore Trout, but even he can't save the film. Author Tom Robbins has a cameo as Peksy Webber - cute. Lukas Haas is sweet and funny as Bunny, a teenaged lounge singer who won't give up on his starchy car salesman father, played by Bruce Willis. Bruce isn't particularly good in the film, giving his character the dramatic range of a traffic cop with a cone up his ass. Barbara Hershey is Willis' pill-popping wife, and though she spends much of the film in lingerie and galoshes, she is luscious despite Rudolph's poor directing and his even sorrier screenplay.

Surprise: Rudolph's past work includes poop-colored gems like Made In Heaven, Endangered Species, Mortal Thoughts (for crying out loud) and AfterGlow. His only slightly good work has been Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, although some would say that Roadie (starring Alice Cooper) is a seminal work. How in the hell did Rudolph, a true Hollywood man, land a Vonnegut story? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Bruce Willis owns the rights to Vonnegut's novel. Perhaps Willis starred in Mortal Thoughts. Maybe someday Kurt will lecture on the college circuit about this hoo-hah. Maybe "they" really have taken over. Maybe I'd have rather spent my eight bucks on a double martini.


Breakfast of Champions
rated R
1 hour 54 minutes

Barbara Hershey
Glenne Headly
Lukas Haas
Omar Epps
Buck Henry