Traditionally New Year’s Eve has been a bit of a disappointment for me. I always had these delusions of some grandiose party that would be the . In the end I usually found myself playing board games, or maybe pool, and watching a movie with some friends. Which was fun in its own right. But there were no ticker tape parades, no spontaneous renditions of Aud Lang Syne, and I only had a pretty girl to kiss at these parties once. I think that was the party where a girl caught her hair on fire by sitting in front of the gas radiator too long. She was an odd one. I think she ended up marrying some guy and moving to Africa. The best celebrations I’ve had were the ones with my current wife. Her family traditionally goes out for a big meal at a fancy joint with a stellar wine list. We tried to go out on the town once but we never speak of that night. So if you’re like me and you’d just as soon stay in with a nice bottle of bubbly and a few kindred spirits I’ve got an excellent movie suggestion for you. It’s even got nudity and mild violence.
As far as quirky independent comedies go, this isn’t the quirkiest I’ve seen, but the level of quirk is exceptionally high. The movie is a one of those all-star, who’s who get-togethers where a series of short stories are told by, in this case, four different directors. In the case all four stories are tied together by four directors whose films were nominated for the Grand Prize at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, and Tim Roth at his most over the top. The man who jumped into the public conscience along side Quentin Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction is a quivering mess of awkwardness as the bell hop at an old school hotel somewhere in L.A. After all, where else do these star-studded get-togethers take place? Roth is the victim of four distinctly bizarre situations and that pretty much all you need to know about the plot.
Now, I will freely admit that it doesn’t take big name actors to make a good movie, but the whole point of a movie like this is to highlight all the big names that got together. So let’s have a bit of fun. Let’s start with the directors. There is the aforementioned Tarantino who no doubt brought Roth to the picture as well as his good pal Bruce Willis. In addition to Roth and Willis Tarantino’s segment also includes a very rare and beautiful thing. In fact this instance is so rare I’m willing to call it one of a kind. The only time in recorded history such an event has occurred. And what is this incredible occurrence? It is an entire scene featuring Kathy Griffin which does end with me turning the house upside down in search for either the remote or a box of bullets. First off, she doesn’t once raise her voice. She is dry, calm, and hilarious. Three words that can never be used to describe Kathy Griffin out of this context. Her scene also features a stone Marisa Tomei, which is all kinds of hilarious. It’s strange, they were both featured in a Seinfeld episode around the same time. As far as how Tarantino’s segment goes, it goes exactly like you’d expect it to. Great story telling. Bar none.
Next on our whose who we have Robert Rodriguez, Tarantino’s pal from Grindhouse and Sin City, who brought along Mr. Antonio Banderas from their work together in the El Mariachi trilogy. Rodriquez and Tarantino also worked on From Dusk Til Dawn, a lovely little movie about a strip club in Mexico. Rodriquez’s portion of the movie features Banderas’s frightening comedy style just briefly as the man focus is on two talented child actors whose careers never took off. Though I suppose you could make the argument that Danny Verduzco’s performance does little more than play to stereotypes. That doesn’t stop the segment from being funny.
Now we also have some guy named Alexandre Rockwell who is famous for telling Steve Buscemi what to do in a couple of movies. This portion of the film features two people I’m most familiar with through gang related TV shows. We have the crass and intimidating David Proval from the 2000 season of the Sopranos who was also in Shawshank Redemption apparently. It’s been too long since I’ve seen that one. We also have the lovely Jennifer Beals whom I will miss from the show The Chicago Code. I’m fairly certain I’m the only person on the internet who saw this particular Fox show before it was cancelled after one season. Though to be fair, it was a far cry from Arrested Development or Futurama. The ladies probably know her from the 1983 Footloose knock off, I guess, Flashdance. Roth and Proval carry the scene through no fault of Beal. I think it’s my second favorite behind Tarantino’s.
Finally we have some no-named chic named Allison Anders who happened to be nominated for an award at some film festival in the desert. I’m guessing she’s some sort of celebrity in the realm of feminism because she did pull in Madonna for her short. It also features two girls from John Cusack’s romantic comedy period. I really wish Lili Taylor had done better for herself. She’s the sort of actress I find hopelessly intriguing. Fitting in with the femdom is Valeria Golino, Tom Cruise’s girlfriend in Rainman. It’s a perfectly amusing sketch and feminists seem to enjoy flaunting their nudity for some reason. Plus, who wouldn’t find a coven of witches seducing Tim Roth funny?
Four Rooms ranks up there with Clue on the good dirty fun scale. Given the theme I can’t see why it wouldn’t be the perfect New Year’s Eve movie. I’ve even got a great drinking game suggestion for you. Drink every time Tim Roth starts but stops a sentence. Good luck and have a Happy New Year! And follow Bruce Willis’s example. Don’t drink and drive. Even if your wife tells you otherwise.