This being my first official pothead movie review, it is important to let you know that yes, I do in fact smoke marijuana. I enjoy smoking marijuana. I enjoy watching films. I decided to put these two together to give a chance to films that are generally regarded as cinematic trash.
The worst of the worst. “Ishtar,” and “Showgirls” included. My first topic: the sleazy 1999 film, “8mm.”
I remember first seeing this film in Cheyenne, Wyoming on opening weekend in early 1999. It was a cold and dark night, and there was absolutely nothing to do, so what better choice than going to see a brand new movie at the only open movie theater? Yikes. As I got halfway through this movie, I started to look around in the aisles, making sure nobody was touching themselves. I thought I was at the wrong type of theater. This movie was dirty by my low standards. I had to go home and take three showers just to feel clean again.
But here I sit, bong and lighter in hand, ready to give this film another chance. Can weed really make anything better? Let’s find out.
If you have not had the displeasure of seeing this garbage can of a movie, I will spare you a lot of the tawdry and gross details. Let’s just say “8mm” stars Nicolas Cage, ( dude from “Ghost Rider”), with Joaquin Phoenix, ( crazy white rapper dude ), James ( Tony Soprano ) Gandolfini and Anthony ( Hannibal Lecter eats me ) Heald.
You might not know who Heald is exactly as an actor, let’s just say when you see him onscreen, you know he had something to do with whatever bad happened. Cage gives an awful performance, weed makes it no better. It only amplifies how uncomfortable he looks here. And not “This perverted junk makes me sick” uncomfortable, but “I really have hemorrhoids so bad it hurts” uncomfortable.
I really don’t want to sum up the plot, but as a critic it is my duty, so here goes: Nic Cage sees a “snuff” film, which is nothing more than someone being killed on tape for sexual pleasure. Yuck, yuck, triple yuck. He has to travel to the grossest city on earth, Los Angeles, to find out if this tape is real or not. He first encounters Phoenix working in an adult book shop; Phoenix plays this role with relish, I mean how often do you get to play basically a creepy sex offender? They dig around, encountering more and more gross porno type-people, arguing over whether these “snuff” films really exist.
I can answer that question. Yes, “snuff” films exist. They’re called evidence in murder trials.
Anyways, “8mm” culminates abruptly with no real sense of closure. Was it the intention of screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker to leave us with that the world is a cold and dark place, with no real answers to come? That’s pretty deep to think about when I am stoned. Potheads love thinking metaphysically. But then I begin to think a bit like the movie critic I am. Walker was also the screenwriter on the film “Seven.”
That had a dark and bleak ending too. At least with that one, we got Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in a box at the end. “8mm” had no heads in boxes. Walker likes heads. My movie knowledge part of my brain digs further. Walker also wrote the film “Sleepy Hollow.” That had lots of severed heads. “8mm” still has none. Maybe he should re-write “8mm” to have more heads. It might make it better.
So there it is. That’s what I got out of watching “8mm” stoned. It needed more freaking heads! Also it just plain stinks, one way or another.