Body of Evidence, The Loveless and other films of Willem Dafoe

MV5BNjM5NzA1MzAzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjUzMjcyMQ@@._V1_Body of Evidence/The Loveless – Reviewed by Skids Poppe

What if they made a movie and no one came? Not even the actors? That’s certainly what happened in the new film Body of Evidence.

I was sent to see this film by my editor because it has Willem Dafoe in it. Sure, it also has Madonna, Joe Mantegna, and Anne Archer, but Dafoe is reason enough to see any film. At least he was until about thirty-three minutes into this clunker. At about thirty-three minutes after the film started, Nuwanda leaned over to me and whispered the words she’d said many times before about films I’d taken her to–“This is awful.” The only problem was that this time, I agreed with her. I mean, my hero, the inimitable Mr. Dafoe, was an idiot. Make that IDIOT, all caps. What, like Madonna’s body is enough to make a man forget his wife, child, and job? Did the second coming happen and I missed it? Look, I wanted to send Bill fifty bucks so he could by Sex. Then he could have her sitting on his coffee table and still keep the wife, kid, and job.

If you want to see sexy, check out Dafoe and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in White Sands . He doesn’t even sleep with her in that one, gets the wife, kid and job and still has time to blow away Mickey Rourke! Talk about a perfect flick. (yeah, it gets extra points for the Mastrantonio shower scene) So what the hell was Willem doing in Body of Evidence? I hope, for his sake, he was cashing a rather large paycheck. If, for one instant, I thought that he was doing a film like this voluntarily…I shudder to think about it.

But then I thought, if he’s doing this, after the mondo work he did in things like Platoon  (made Vietnam almost worth it), Streets of Fire  (ooh was he evil), or Wild at Heart  (hated the film, loved the performance) maybe he owed somebody a favor. Could happen, right? So I checked out his first film, one I’d never seen before, called The Loveless. Nope, no connection with the chowderheads responsible for Body of Crap but what a film in its own right.

In The Loveless, Willem (is it just me, or is this guy the closest you can come to the perfect celluloid biker role model?) plays the leader of some gang trying to get down to Daytona for the races in the mid-fifties. It’s got all the elements for a classic “us against them” showdown in which the decent townspeople exact revenge on us scummy bikers for not driving trucks. Except in The Loveless, the bikers don’t do anything but drink beer and fix their bikes. It’s the townspeople who start (and finish) all the violence and death and destruction and it’s left to Dafoe, in his sardonic (new word, look it up) voiceovers to explain the plight of the human condition. Like it says on the box (a line from the voiceover) “You never can tell on a day like this…before you know it, you’re history.” I think it’s a pearl of wisdom, considering what kind of work Dafoe was doing then, and what his future looks like if he keeps working with the ex Mrs. Penn.

Skids would like somebody to pay him, a lot, to see Madonna naked. Dagny Hultgreen, on the other hand…

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