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flick pick | Buffalo 66 1998
Directed + written by:
Vincent Gallo
Starring: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara, Anjelica Huston
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: drama 
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: 
artsy-fartsy, hip
The verdict: / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis Billy Brown [Gallo] has just been released from prison after a five-year-long stint, serving time for a crime he didn’t commit in order to make up for an unpaid gambling debt. On the drive back home, he wanders into a dance studio to take a much-needed pee. There, he meets tap student Layla [Ricci], a buxom blonde with the cherubic face of a child, but who’s dressed like a cross between a Barbie doll and a hooker. He promptly proceeds to kidnap Layla, informing her that she’ll be accompanying him to his parents house, where she will be introduced as the sweet wife to whom his parents think he’s been married for the past five years. Layla, for reasons unclear, puts up little fight, and even helps Billy concoct a story meant to impress his neglectful, severely dysfunctional folks. Meanwhile, Billy’s got a crazy plan to track down the Buffalo Bills star whom he’s convinced ruined his life by botching the game that lost him his bet.

Review Romantic fantasy meets dirty, gritty, small-town America in writer/director/star Vincent Gallo’s peculiar and intriguing film. Rumor has it that there’s a strongly autobiographical element to this film, and if so, pity poor Gallo, for Buffalo 66 serves up two unimaginably horrible parents – a football-obsessed Mom whose greatest regret is that she missed a big game to give birth to her son; a psycho dad who once killed his boy’s beloved puppy right in front of him. They’re hilariously funny – in a completely painful sort of way. These parents are so awful it’s almost surreal; the look of the film as well, with its high-contrast colors and frequent over-layering of images, has a sort of dreamy, absurd quality that makes the seedy side of America – cheap motels, bowling alleys, chain-store diners, tacky strip joints – seem almost beautiful. There’s so much that’s sad and ugly about these characters’ lives that fantasy may be the only way of coping; the romance that develops between Billy and Layla seems fairly implausible, but you so much want it for them that any considerations of reality just don’t seem to matter. The casting is perfect, from Gallo's particular brand of creepy charisma as Billy, to Ricci's woman-child/angel-whore Layla, to Anjelica Huston's and Ben Gazzara's characterizations of Billy's demented parentals.  At heart, Buffalo 66 is a contemporary fairy tale … albeit a very strange and twisted one.
reviewed by Y. Sun 

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