Feeling Minnesota – Review

Feeling Minnesota

with Keanu Reeves, Vincent D’Onofrio, Cameron Diaz
Written and Directed by Steven Baigelman
(New Line, 1996)
by Chaz Thorndike

It’s a pretty safe bet that anything which claims to be “one of the hippest movies of the year” isn’t. While having some clever scenes (the pebble fight from the previews, and almost any scene with Delroy Lindo, the snappily-dressed badass from Get Shorty), Feeling Minnesota doesn’t really go anywhere unexpected. Worst of all, all the characters are said to have interesting backgrounds, but you never find out what they are. Jjaks (Reeves) is said to’ve been in and out of prison most of his life. For what? It sure sounds more interesting than watching this chump botch a gas station hold-up and then dawdle around with little direction for the rest of the movie letting things happen to/for him. The bride, Freddie (Diaz), is a feisty white trash slut with a sweet-looking face and a bit too much baggage (“large-boned” I believe they call it) whose past is probably checkered with far more interesting stuff than we see here. Her attempts at my-dreams-beyond-the-mobile-home soliloquies (see “That’s poetry, Mal” from Natural Born Killers, and the cutie-pie scenes in Love & a .45, True Romance, et al) are the kinda dumbass drivel I heard in my backseat all the way through high school: parked in a cul-de-sac, smoking Marlboros, staring at the stars, hoping the cops didn’t bust us, wishing she’d shut up already and spread ’em. The groom, Sam (D’Onofrio), is a greasy loser, though we never really get to find out why. He works in some capacity for Red (Delroy Lindo), who has lots of off-the-books cash, although we don’t know what he actually does. Red is a stylish, charismatic mofo with good delivery of pulp dialog. The crooked cop (Dan Aykroyd), the life-beaten waitress (Courtney Love), and the little missus (Tuesday Weld) help a bit. Their characters aren’t very interesting, but at least the people playing them are.

As with all “hip” movies, the soundtrack is half the enchilada. The opening track is Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” the music’s composed by Los Lobos, various songs by The Temptations, Helmet, The Replacements, Jonny Polonski, Nancy Sinatra, Wilco, The Righteous Brothers appear, and the closing track is “Ring of Fire” (slaughtered by Bob Dylan this time).

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