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May 27, 2004

{     Reflecting Skin (1991)     }    

I've taken a job as a mystery shopper. So i go into stores or gas stations or wherever and pose as a regular customer, but I'm actually a spy that makes sure people are doing their jobs properly. The funnest part about this job (and it's really not that fun) is when I get to go into gas stations and buy beer and cigarettes. Yes, I get paid to purchase alcoholic beverages and the cigarettes of my choosing. Mind you, I rarely drink and never smoke (how ironic), but I've got all the Miller Light and Highlife 24's and 40's I'll ever need for when company comes over and I get free cigs for my best bud eventhough I feel bad about contributing to the possibility that she may one day get lung cancer, because despite the fact that almost everyone else we know has quit, she refuses. But that's just how she is. So, back to the really fun part of this job; besides getting paid to purchase these items, I get to put on glitter and pull my hair back into pigtails and wear lipgloss and dress like a sixteen year old slut. Now I'm 25, but I'd say if I tried hard enough I could probably pull off anywhere from about 19-28. But since I'm 25, I refrain (most of the time) from wearing a lot of glitter and lipgloss and though I despise wearing a bra, I'm too old to go around with my boobs flopping around all the time. But when I'm doing my job, there's no bra required. The cashier is to check my I.D. and verify I am indeed old enough to purchase these items and sometimes I'm even required to tell them I don't have I.D. and still try to get them to sell me the items. I know, how cold. But it's part of the job and it's very interesting. During my most recent mystery shop, I was assigned a card store in a mall where I had to pretend I was looking for a gift for a friend and see if the sales associate would recommend the right products. And then I had to buy something, and it could be anything I wanted, because along with getting paid to spy, I also get reimbursed for my purchases up to certain amount. This was not the funnest store to shop because it did not require me to be a braless, gum popping slut, but since Father's Day is coming up, I thought I would pick up a few little gifts for my wonderful Dad since I WAS already in a card/gift shop, and I get reimbursed anyway. I picked up this cute little book simply titled "DAD" that's filled with quotes from famous Dad's about being a father. The very first quote in this cute little book reads "What's the most special thing about being a father? EVERYTHING ~Viggo Mortensen. So I picked up the book this morning and started reading it and of course was astonished to see that the very first quote in the book was indeed from Viggo Mortensen. I was reading the quote out loud and Shane said "Oh yeah, the guy from Lord of the Rings, and I said what???!!!!!????!!!! What are you talking about????!!!!???? You mean the guy from Reflecting Skin, right??? Now I'm not so dense to not know that Viggo Mortensen is a main character in The Lord of the Rings but I have never associated him with that trilogy. Viggo Mortensen is first and foremost the brother in Reflecting Skin, a 13 year old movie that I'm afraid may never be released on DVD and that I'm also afraid a lot of people that should see see this film will never get the chance to. Here's a short synopsis: First of all, if you're into David Lynch, (which I am, but I think he's overrated, BUT Blue Velvet remains one of the best movies ever made, but that's probably because of Dennis Hopper, one of the greatest actors ever, not David Lynch- but no discredit to David Lynch, I do love him even in his overratedness) you'll enjoy this film. Anyway, Reflecting Skin is way beyond the surrealness of a Lynch film and is actually directed by a guy named Philip Ridley, the only other film I've known him to direct being Passion of Darkly Noon which I have yet to see and I thought I read something one day about a project from him in the works about something with Death and Disney in the title. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, I don't know much about him. I'm thinking the movie is set in the 50's, (I haven't seen it in a while) but it focuses on a little boy around 10 named Seth. All of his friends have been disappearing and then turning up dead several days later. Seth's father runs a gas station and is a very loving father but is deeply troubled by his wife who is completely insane and drives him to do things that could get him into serious trouble. She is obsessed with her other son, Viggo Mortensen, who is about to come home from serving in the military. Mortensen falls in love with a woman named Dolphin Blue who Seth believes is a vampire and the culprit that's been killing all his friends but there's a car full of greasy guys coming through town every few days that may also be the killers, you never really find out for sure. All this sounds boring and not worth watching, but I don't want to give away the insanity that this movie is and if I say anything else, I will. Just give it a try, I have the VHS and you're welcome to borrow it and it may just become one of the strangest, most bizarre films you've ever seen. It may even get on your top 10 list, really, it's that good. By the way, there are various samples from this film in many different albums, my favorite being, "Phil Western" The Escapist, where Dolphin Blue is telling little Seth what happens to your body when you get old. And if you don't own THAT, pick it up too, it's a beautiful sound, all the way through. Contributed by: Stacy Broce

     » Read a good review at IMDB

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Holy. Motherfucking. Shit.
I saw this about 11 years ago, and I don't think a frame of it has left my mind since. This may be the most perfect attempt to capture a dream on film that I have ever seen, though I doubt that was the explicit intent of the director. It just turned out that way.
I was watching a lot of Lynch back then too, and I think I watched Peter Greenway's "Prospero's Books" the same night I watched "Reflecting Skin". So with all this hallucinatory film running through my brain, this remained one of the clearest and best remembered pieces. Good film touches you, and this movie bear-hugged me.
Stace- you're so damn cool. Schoolgirl-slut costume nonwithstanding.

Posted by: Adam at May 28, 2004 12:01 AM

Thank you! I was trying to remember the name of this film for ages. CBC aired it a few times back in the day.

Posted by: Al aka El Negro Magnifico at May 28, 2004 1:32 AM

I just realized I've also seen "The Passion of Darkly Noon", so I thought I'd throw my two cents in on that film.
I think it's important for you to know first how much I hate Brendan Fraser. There are just certain actors who I will never take seriously in any role, whose physical bearing and delivery of lines just do not work for me. (Fraser, Cuba Gooding Jr., Will Smith, Keanu Reeves, Richard Gere, etc.) Fraser takes several scenes, that would have been disturbing if performed by an actor of even marginal talent, and turns them into a farce.
You just can't risk that in this type of film. The surreal quickly becomes stupid and moments of what should be intense and painful drama become unintentionally hilarious.
Imagine Fred Durst recast in David Bowie's role in "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me", or if Dennis Hopper and Dave Coulier swapped places in "Blue Velvet" and you'll be close to understanding how painfully wrong Brendan Fraser was in this role.
Beyond the Fraser factor, the film is atmospheric and crazy- Mortenson is great as the weirdo lover or Ashley Judd's character. There's lots of very visceral imagery; fire and sweat, wild abstracted sex scenes, lots of screaming and rage. It could have been cool.
Ultimately though, even without Fraser's involvement, the film doesn't stack up to "Reflecting Skin". There's something cheap about the film quality- like you're seeing a made-for-TV movie, that brings it down a notch too.

It would be nice to see Peter Ridley rise from the ashes, but he's got a long way to climb after "The Passion of Darkly Noon"

Posted by: Adam at May 28, 2004 7:13 PM

interesting, i did not know fraser was in it... i'm not a fraser hater, i think he's probably a really nice cool guy to chill with, but as an actor, the only way he really works is like bob saggett worked in half baked.. i'll still have to watch it for fuck's sake if i can get a hold of it without having to pay for it, but i read a couple of year's ago about a project (it may have even been a book and not a movie) that had something to do with the name disney in the title that is somehow associated with ridley... anyone know anything about that??? i'll have to start searching....

Posted by: stace at May 28, 2004 7:36 PM

i don't know adam, i might just pay to see dave coulier play old mr. black in blue velvet... i mean , he did get a song written about him getting head from a nasty pop princess with a huge mouth in a theatre... i think he could do it and make it good... don't you??? :) and while we're on the full house subject, i'm a little pissed about all the cool cameos and actual leading roles that are in the new olsen twins movie... not hugely pissed.. but a little... death to those little twits!!!

Posted by: stace at May 28, 2004 7:49 PM

I totally don't understand the Olsen twins mystique and power. Why are young women buying and watching anything they choose to star in? What makes them so damn cool? Is this like a Sweet Valley Twins kinda thing, where I'm just not going to get it?
Maybe this is just Nancy Drew and The Babysitter's Club for the video/dvd generation?

Posted by: Adam at June 1, 2004 5:24 PM


Posted by: stace at June 7, 2004 3:19 AM
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