Ordinary Madness vs. Barfly

Discussion in 'Video, audio, film and other media' started by Quigley, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. I think the two are completely different kinds of films. Barfly, as played by Rourke, is a funny Hollywood film (as funny as Buk's Phila period can be), versus Tales which is a very challenging, raw film. I have to say I love both. I enjoy Barfly for its humour, but I also enjoy Tales for its, well, its madness. Maybe Tales could have used a touch more humor to make it play more like a Bukowski piece, but it's bizzare and twisted enough to feel like a bad hangover day, which I'm sure Buk had his share of. Pauline Kael, the New Yorker film critic (still untouched by any other critic, IMO) loved Tales for it brutalness and the sense that you've experienced something very genuine and out of the ordinary after watching it. I would think Buk would be proud of that accessment, although he didn't like the film.
  2. I wrote, back on 4/19/06:

    >Re Bukowski's thoughts on Mickey Rourke's portrayal, I was struck by how in the bonus materials for Barfly there's an interview segment in which Bukowski praises Rourke in an "and I'm not just saying this" sort of way (that may after all be tongue in cheek, meaning "of course it hardly needs saying that I *am* just saying this"), while in Born Into This there's a scene where Bukowski says that Rourke got it wrong by being too swaggery and braggy and not being mellow enough.

    -- and then disappeared without seeing the following from mjp:

    Thanks so much for that, brother. Bullseye on point. And a quick googling, btw, for those interested, turns up the entire interview here:


    [Entirely off-topic postcriptum:]

    Hey all: back in the day, last year when I first signed on and posted ten or fifteen times, I ran into some original writings from one of you. The one I recall was like an e-book that I think I might have linked to from someone's profile here. It was like a personal philosophy of life kind of thing, and I can't for the life of me remember who it was nor find any clues in the threads I posted on or the profiles of those who chimed in at the time. Any leads would be much appreciated. Thankee.
  3. that was probably Brother Schenker.
  4. Ponder

    Ponder "So fuck Doubleday Doran" Live to Ride ROAD CAPTAIN

    If you don't have any information about Barfly, I find it a good movie. Of course Rourke was overdramatic in the movie. But I didn't know this when I watched Barfly for the first time.

    I still like the movie although Crazy love is the best.

    I read Under the vulcano and I liked the novel.
    The movie was kinda shitty. But suppose I didn't read the novel...

    Ordinary madness is bad, very bad.
  5. hank solo

    hank solo Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights Vice President First 9 Reaper Crew ROAD CAPTAIN Unholy Ones

    And yet there is evidence that Bukowski liked Rourke and his performance. For example, I've been thumbing through Reach for the Sun recently and in there he writes letters praising Rourke and his Chinaski. He's not so kind about Faye Dunaway. Yes I've seen later interviews where he states the opposite. But this seems quite normal for Bukowski, to like someone or something and then change his mind later.

    My opinion is that the whole farce of getting Barfly made just pissed him off so much that he eventually just wanted to turn his back on it and seperate himself from the whole project.

    Having finally replaced my old VHS copy with a new DVD and watch it again, I will say that Crazy Love is a fine movie and it does a good job of capturing the tone of Bukowski's short stories. But I still like Barfly best - just a good memory for me that all.

    I'll have to owe you the other cent.
  6. Iliked rourke in allmost all of his work,except Barfly he missed the boat in this one it was like he was playing an actor playing Buk in a bad play,never sold me on his role.If he acted like he did in the Pope ofGrenwich Village then we would have a good Bukowski movie.I think Buk was too deep for Rourke.I wonder who today can really play the man,Penn,Hanks use at least two actors one for 1-25,25-55 you get the picture.
  7. hank solo

    hank solo Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights Vice President First 9 Reaper Crew ROAD CAPTAIN Unholy Ones

    Do you really mean Tom Hanks?
  8. Factotum is unbelievably pathetic! Considering the subject matter even a third grader could make the movie interesting, and this wasn't. A complete failure on all accounts...

    Barfly is great, and I think Mickey did a heck of a job... Buk: "Mickey Rourke is a real human guy, on and off the set. And in Barfly he really came through with the acting. I felt his enjoyment and inventiveness. Faye Dunaway just can't match his talent or his humanness but she filled her role."

    I liked Tales, although it was a bit slow... and the guy was too clean and easy. Still, had some redeeming qualities and interesting scenes. I especially like the "little gun." And the girl is really attractive! Buk: "He had appealing eyes like a constipated man sitting on the pot straining to crap. I liked the eyes. But take that away and he was too comfortable. Nice macho guy, but self-pleased, not insane at all. Probably a great variety of ass had cooled him out."

    The Charles Bukowski Tapes are good, too. The piano music gets to be hypnotic, and the freeze frame grows on you... Buk: "I liked them the first time I saw them. Second time, it was just an old drunk talking away. It's very hard to see them all at once. It's like reading a book of poetry straight through. It's jarring."

    Crazy love is ok. Worth seeing once, but don't get excited about it.

    Other films based on Bukowski's work include Love is a Dog from Hell (1987 - Belgium) and Walls in the City (1995). In 1990, Bukowski narrated an HBO documentary called The Best Hotel on Skid Row.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2013
  9. Isn't Crazy Love and Love is a Dog From Hell the same movie? just different titles for different releases? what's Walls in the City? haven't heard of it, but I'm intrigued....
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2013
  10. hank solo

    hank solo Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights Vice President First 9 Reaper Crew ROAD CAPTAIN Unholy Ones

    Yes, Crazy Love is the same film as Love is a Dog From Hell. I think its pretty good - better than Tales... and Factotum.
    I haven't seen Walls in the City, but have read about it. It was out from Screen Edge who distribute the later copies of Bukowski At Bellevue. Sounds like the Bukowski reference is pretty weak. The guy on the cover looks a bit like Rourke in Barfly and it seems to be set in bars etc..

    Here a write up

  11. thanks, hank solo. I thought so. Tales is dreadful. Crazy Love is a very good movie.
  12. That's true Han, and would make an interesting new thread (e.g. Buk on Hem!)...
    But tonight, I'll try to stick to the topic :-))
    Reading through this whole thread, was like a hot/cold shower. So many different, yet true things said ...
    Now here's my [extensive] contribution:

    On Buk's thoughts about BARFLY:
    Yes, there are lauds from him, esp short after the movie came out. This may confirm the mentioned intention to support it (which IS an important issue in movie-biz). Also in 'Hollywood', I remember a passage, where he watches the movie (or early proofs), sees the scene, when Rourke walks into his cheap room, turns on the radio, Mozart on it, and shadow-boxes, and his (Buk's) comment on the scene is something like:
    That was me! It was like being in that cheap room again!
    Later he was talking it down a little.
    What mjp quotes in that interview by Mike Watt goes absolutely one way with what Buk says in the documentary 'I'm still here' (made for his 70th birthday, as posted elsewhere here). He complains, that Rourke had his hair hang down into his face etc. (I somewhat have problems with this complaint, since I can't imagine a bum, an alcoholic, a SUIZIDE-candidate [!] - concerning about his HAIRDO! but this is just personal opinion.)

    now, My thoughts about BARFLY:
    When I first saw it end of the 80s, I dismissed it. What really fucked me was Rourke walking like an ape (esp. the scene in the streets with the barking dog in the car). Also I was disappointed with the whole thing for reasons, I couldn't name then.
    But when I later read the screenplay (which unfortunately is Not available in German language), I understood something about it's intention. A great read btw! No Buk-fan should miss this one!
    Reading the screenplay and automatically asking myself, HOW would I transfere this to the screen, made me think twice. It is a well done movie. (not more or less.)
    It simply is not easy to make a better one out of the play. I sure couldn't do it. But you need to know the master of it, to get to that understanding.

    and here's Buk's thoughts about ORDINARY MADNESS:
    From the letters we know, he first liked the director as well as the main character. (but didn't know anything about Ornela Muti, the female actor, who was a Sex-symbol then in Europe.) Even after drinking with them he didn't complain.
    But when the movie came out, he immediately dismissed it!
    He didn't like it AT ALL!

    my thoughts about ORDINARY MADNESS:
    Not only Buk hated this movie - nearly Everybody I know does!
    So I offer another unpopular opinion tonight, saying: it's no big shot, yes, but it's o.k. done!
    Haven't seen it for years but think I still can stick to the opinion, that it wasn't SO bad, as anyone uses to claim.
    What one should consider, judging this movie is:
    (a) it was the very first major picture based on Buk - that's Never easy!
    (b) it was shot at a time, when Barbet Schroeder wasn't able to find ANYBODY to produce his movie!
    The time was different and maybe filmbusiness wasn't ready for this author. Imagine Hollywood making a Bukowski-movie in the very early 80s! (even out of the Buk-screenplay) - Please!
    (c) it is no good argument to claim, Gazarra was to 'cute' for the role. (They said the same about Dillon - EVEN BEFORE we've seen Anything of 'factotum'.) It's not a matter of beauty! And besides - Buk wasn't that ugly! sorry.
    (d) subtract the ridiculous start of the movie and the pseudo-romantic end, just take the 'Most beautiful woman in town'-story! It's not THAT bad done. Maybe they just tried to put too many different stories in it. (I could also live without their version of the 'rape'-story, though it's funny in a way.)

    As far as I know, Buk seemed to like CRAZY LOVE.
    A little mystery to me, as I wasn't even able to watch the whole thing. I forced myself through the first episode and even started with the second. But, sorry. Couldn't bear this crap.
    No offence! Ev'rybody's entitled to have his/her own taste ...

    After this: what do you think (re-think)?
  13. None of the motion pictures captured essence of his work, or idea(?). None of the rehashed interviews either. Are all his stories true, or phantasy? Who cares. He wrote few things that attracted and affected each of us in a different way. That's what matters the most. Rest of it, like movies, interviews, readings etc... Is just entertaining icing on the cake, (and money).
    Consider them 'guilty pleasures,' enjoyable at the moment. Author communicating to you, and you interpreting him of the pages is all what counts.
  14. Ah, could be, thanks. I looked him up and notice he hasn't posted since January. And no external links on his profile. Anyhow, whoever it was, I was just really intrigued with that piece I got hold of last year and was sorry to lose it (the machine I had at the time gave up the ghost).
  15. I can't believe that ben gazzara was so bad in 'tales...' I just watched 'the killing of a chinese bookie' again last night, and he is incredible. well, it is one of my favourite films by my favourite director. cassavetes really does it for me...
    but gazzarra was so bad in 'tales..." christ, I can't stress that enough.
    I blame the director.
    k, back to my wine and maybe the 'chinese bookie' bonus features. god bless the Criterion Collection...
  16. The Vomit Factory. ... Alexander T. Newport

    You got it at LuLu.com
    No Longer available.

    Mr 1:15? Can you hear us?
    Your friends want you...

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