why Cranky is in pain
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do     Contact    Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

image
click for full sized poster

U-Turn

Starring Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Voight; Claire Danes, Joaquin Phoenix and Powers Boothe
Screenplay by John Ridley, based on his novel
Directed by Oliver Stone
Website www.sony.com

IN SHORT: Earth to Oliver Stone: welcome back

You see it immediately as U-Turn starts. The most important thing about the title sequence of U-Turn is the line "An Oliver Stone Movie". Not film, movie. Perhaps Stone has finally come to realize that the last few films he's made haven't been entertaining or palatable, and he's out to correct that. He's a terrific filmmaker, that's a given. It's just that his last couple of films didn't entertain. Movies are meant to entertain.

The second major joy of U-Turn is that not once does Stone bring up the JFK assassination. Not once.

The third joy of U-Turn is that it is filled with sick, twisted, black humor which is very funny.

The problem is that, while Stone has made a movie which has a lot of good stuff in it, it all comes out like a load of half cooked pasta hitting the wall. Some of it will stick and some won't. By the time it's done, it's more bewildering than enthralling.

8 fingered Bobby (Sean Penn) is heading for Vegas to pay off a gambling debt to some Russian sharks. At one point the debt is $30K, at another $13K (but it could be mispronunciation, accents will do that). It's irrelevant, 'cuz his 1964 1/2 primo red Mustang blows a hole in his radiator hose and he's stuck in Superior, Arizona. Superior is, to be fair, a town close to death. And so is Bobby, when the moron car fixer-upper (Billy Bob Thornton) demands an outrageous cash payment for replacing the hose.

Bobby has entered hell, no question about it. Everything that happens to him is the punchline of some kind of black humor -- every bottle is glass and every one of 'em breaks before he can take a swig. A store is robbed at gunpoint when he, with his duffel bag stuffed with cash, is in it. (In a dying town there is no money in this town. Anyone trying to rip off a store owner is, no doubt about it, dumb. Or on drugs. Bobby suggests that both may be the case.) Either way, his thousands in cash are soon confetti.

This is a town in which only two of its women are of eligible, but only one is of age (Julie Hagerty in a bit part and Claire Danes as the underage dreamer). Married gal Grace (Jennifer Lopez) knows she's good looking and struts her stuff. Whether she has had affairs with all the men in the town is unknown. What is known is that her hubby, real estate magnate Jake McKenna (Nick Nolte) believes she is. That (and the $50,000 life insurance policy on her head) is good enough reason to pay to have her killed. Commenting on all that occurs is Blind Indian (Jon Voight).

I haven't even mentioned Danes' psycho boyfriend (Joaquin Phoenix) or the sherriff (Powers Boothe). That's more than enough story stuff to keep everything interesting. It's more than enough, given the chops of the acting crew, to deliver a great movie. But while the movie is stitched together, like a lot of interesting short stories, there is no overall point to it all. Which is fine if you're target is the art house circuit, where U-Turn is heading and will find raves.

What Stone hasn't let go of is that arthouse thinking. The multitude of film stocks and resolutions. The quick shift from color to black and white. Fast cuts to symbolic images. Granted, it's not even close to the vomitous Natural Born Killers but it's enough to distract. For me, distraction is not entertaining.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for U-Turn, he would have paid . . .

$4.00

Some of U-Turn is very funny but, more to the point, there is no point to this flick.

Click to buy films by Oliver Stone
Click to buy films starring Sean Penn
Click to buy films starring Nick Nolte

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.