Big Bad Love

Rated NR

So there’s this book of short stories, titled Big Bad Love, by the sometimes-brutal, sometimes-tender Southern writer Larry Brown. Journeyman actor Arliss Howard (whose credits range from Full Metal Jacket to The Lost World: Jurassic Park) wants to make it a movie, with himself playing the lead: a hard-drinking and as-yet unsuccessful writer of broken dreams. So Arliss pens the script with his brother Jim and gets actress-wife Debra Winger to produce the thing and co-star as his estranged wife. Then this impetuous soul decides to direct, too. He makes it all jumbled in a non-linear plot sort of way, with editing and camera tricks that reveal the very thin line between a writer’s reality and the world of imagination. Arliss also coaxes from Paul Le Mat (who’s kept a low profile since starring in American Graffiti 30 years ago) a brilliant performance as the writer’s best buddy. And he scores delightful turns from Rosanna Arquette and Angie Dickinson to boot. Armed with a great rural-blues soundtrack, Big Bad Love is a priceless gem of a film.

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