Thursday, September 30

200 Cigarettes

It's 11:59 on New Year's Eve. Do you know where your date is?

The eagle-eyed few of you will have realised that this film came out  a while ago, 1999 to be precise, so you're probably wondering why I'm reviewing it. Well, put simply, it's because I want to, and as I've said before - my blog, my rules. Hah! Ok, so there's more to it than that - '200 Cigarettes' was one of those films that came on at crazy o'clock at night when I couldn't sleep, which I watched by chance and wondered why I'd never heard of it (how I discovered Rocky Horror, age 15 - unbelievably late, I know). I thought I'd share a review of this film, and other 'not as well known/received' films like it.

'200 Cigarettes' is an ensemble cast film set on New Years Eve, 1981. The film is mainly centred around the New Years Eve party of Monica (Martha Plimpton) as she (and her friend Hillary) nervously waits for her guests to attend, although they all have other plans beforehand. Martha's guests include her cousin Val (Christina Ricci) and her friend Stephie (Gaby Hoffman) from Ronkonkoma, who gets lost in Alphabet City and are followed by punks Dave (Guillermo Diaz) and Tom (Casey Affleck); Accident prone Cindy (Kate Hudson), who is on a first date with Jack (Jay Mohr); Best friends Lucy (Courtney Love) and Kevin (Paul) who are out celebrating Kevin's birthday and attempting to get over Kevin's break up with ex-girlfriend Ellie (Janeane Garofalo); The flirtatious bartender (Ben Affleck); Competitive friends Bridget (Nicole Ari Parker) and Caitlyn (Angela Featherstone), who are attempting to ditch Bridget's boyfriend Eric (Brian McCardie), who is also Monica's ex-boyfriend. Oh, and there's also the Disco Cabbie (Dave Chappelle).

I think ensemble casts can be a bit hit or miss, sometimes I think it can be really interesting when all the interlocking stories somehow link and combine to create a 'super story' and other times it can really over-complicate a film - I'd rather know a lot about 2 characters rather than know a little about 12, but I think this sort of light-hearted film - which, despite there being so many characters, isn't really about the characters, it's about the things that happen to them.

This is one of those films that a lot of people who are (only) into 'proper films' (like Palme D'or and other film festival nominees) tend to put into the category of 'cult' films, which most of the time aren't hugely popular with critics, but for some reason people seem to like them. Well, this film was pretty much panned by critics in America, so ended up not even being released in the UK.

Regardless of all of that, I sort of love this film! Maybe it's because it taps into my fear of nobody turning up to a party that I host (seriously, this is an actual fear I have - nobodyturnsupaphobia - if you are friends with me this is why I've never had a party). Mostly I love this film because it doesn't take itself too seriously (which honestly, a lot of film critics love to do) - a load of people are late turning up to a New Years party, that's it. Sometimes it's quite funny, some of the characters are quite likeable, if you are into that sort of thing it's fun looking at all the 80's clothes and Courtney Love does a bit of good acting in it too. Honestly it's not going to change your life, but it'll make a nice evening's viewing.

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