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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

So I'm working late in the Labs tonight when I catch a hint of the unmistakable scent of flash powder. Before I can say, "Hello, Mysterio," there's a WHOOSH! and a flash and a thick cloud of acrid smoke. The Domed One himself comes rumbling out of the smoke, pleased as punch to tell me that he's seen a new movie produced by a friend of mine before I have. I'm damn curious about it, too. I first reviewed the script back in April, and I know that Frank Darabont really believes in first-time feature helmer DJ Caruso. If this works, it could finally pull Val Kilmer out of the career tailspin he's been trapped in for years now. Let's see what Mysterio's got to say...

Hey all, “Mysterio” here with yet another early glimpse of yet another film starring Val Kilmer. Do have a thing against Kilmer? Well, yes… yes I do. I have a thing against Kilmer acting in crap-ass movies like the one opening today. He’s been good in films like “Real Genius” and “Tombstone” before, so he’s got the chops, he just needs to pick good projects to use ‘em in. So does he in this one? I’ll cut to the quick. Keep on readin’ and find out.

In this taunt and tense thriller, executive-produced by Frank Darabont, “The SALTON SEA” stars Val Kilmer as Danny Parker, a man bent on avenging his beloved wife’s cold-blooded murder and searching for closure along the way.

In his search for his wife’s killers, Parker finds himself caught up in a cesspool of users and dealers along The Salton Sea. “Tweakers” he calls them as he slowly blends into their world and precariously balances on line of ultimately becoming one himself. But the drive of quest fuels his desperate need for redemption.

Within this group, he finds a friendship in Jimmy, whom he feels at best with among this band of meth-users, which include Adam (“Saving Private Ryan”) Goldberg.

Across the way from his apartment, he forms a kinship towards an battered and bruised Colette (Deborah Kara Unger) whom has her own set of personal pains that Parker feels he can help rescue her from. One in turn comes from an abusive Quincey (played to the “t” by resident favorite, Luiz Guzman). His first line in the film is the best. As Parker reaches his apartment, he finds Quincey pounding relentlessly on Colette’s door, threatening her. Parker just stands there for a second, and as Quincey turns to him, he barks back, “You mad-doggin’ me bitch?” It’s a line that only Guzman could nail and he does that and his role just right. That is currently my favorite toss-out line, and it can be used in a wide array of variations. “You mad-doggin’ me jackass?” is but one of many. This should be the catch phrase of next year. Kindda like “show me the money” was in “Jerry Maguire.”

As Parker finds himself getting deeper and closer to the truth, he crosses paths with a motley bunch of characters played by the likes of Meatloaf, Anthony LaPaglia, Peter Sarsgaard, B.D. Wong and Vincent D’Onofrio as the completely sadistic, and bizarre dealer, Pooh-Bear who wheezes and wears a prosthetic nose piece. D’Onofrio is really good and creepy here in a fun hillbilly sense.

The film has several non-linear moments to it, some told in flashbacks and voice-overs, which makes the story more interesting. The odd bits of comedy throughout are quirky and work in slightly offsetting the tone in places, which I liked.

Overall this was the first screening of this film and it clocked in roughly at 108 mins. It’s pretty tightly cut, but I noticed that it still could use a bit of nipping and tucking here and there to keep it lean.

The one REAL BIG problem I had with the film is with (I’ll call) the “resurrection” scene of LaPaglia’s character near the end. Lame, unnecessary and insulting to the audience at this point. Ax it.

So unlike Kilmer’s upcoming film “RED PLANET” opening this weekend (but will then be retitled, “DEAD PLANET” next weekend), his acting was FAR better and more interesting here, which was a welcomed surprise.


(Who, YES did also enjoy “JASON X” in a fun campy, nostalgic sort of way.)

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 10, 2000, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Val Kilmer is not that bad

    by Mister M

    I hope we'll see Kilmer in a good movie soon. He's not that bad when not in the wrong hands (just keep him away from Joel Schumacher, that's all) : I think he delivered in Top Secret, Willow, The Doors or Kill me again. Maybe the guy has to find the right script and the right director.

  • Nov. 10, 2000, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Batman geeks vs Kilmer

    by vinzglortho

    The reason some of the fanboy geeks dislike Kilmer was because of that remark he made that was PURPOSELY WIDELY PUBLICISED that Batman was an "absurdly commercial cartoon." But he was talking about you-know-who's neon BF mess, not the DK legend. The despotic creep Shoefaker wouldn't let him act and weirded him out so bad he hasn't been able to do anything since. Hope Salton Sea gets him back where he belongs. Hold this lamp for me.

  • Nov. 10, 2000, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Kilmer means quality (except when that sunuvaitch Shoefucker com

    by Freakonaut

    Yeah, that's right, Kilmer is one of the most versatile actors of our generation, the problem is he can't consistently choose good scripts. How he went from top notch productions like Top Secret, Top Gun, and that excellent movie where he is stuck on a planet with an alien, and they become friends...the name refuses to relinquish itself from my memory, something like Enemy Mine I think-to shit shows like Batman Forever and the ungodly boring Red Planet escapes me. And another thing, I have made my views on Joel shit for brains Schumacher ( I don't care his name is really spelled) clear already, but it cannot be emphasised enough-HE IS THE WORST DIRECTOR IN THE HISTORY OF HISTORY. Ed Wood had it all over him.

  • Nov. 10, 2000, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Ridley Scott is actually the worst director, sorry, but Joel com

    by Freakonaut

  • Nov. 10, 2000, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Freakonaut's movie history

    by LiquidNitrate

    Val Kilmer did indeed star in Enemy Mine, as well as Deer Hunter, The Right Stuff, and Perfect Storm. Also, look for Dennis Quaid's cameo in True Romance. But the best long-lost perforance was Robert Downey Jr. in Say Anything, where he played that Phil Collins song on the boombox.

  • Nov. 10, 2000, 8:55 p.m. CST

    a little embarrasing

    by Freakonaut

    I was in a very wierd place when I posted that message. Please don't hold those pieces of misinformation against me. Oh, and thanks for the sarcasm. That made me feel so much better. At least I got the title of that alien movie right. Christ I'm humiliated...

  • Nov. 10, 2000, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Dennis Quaid

    by Freakonaut

    There is another good actor who went the way of shitty scripts, except for a really poor movie called Playing by Heart, where his character is the only one in the movie worth mentioning.

  • Nov. 11, 2000, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Hey Mysterio

    by vinzglortho

    I heard this film won't be out until nov 2001. Do you know if that is the premier date? and if so why so long to release it if you've seen a mostly finished copy?

  • Nov. 11, 2000, 3:21 p.m. CST


    by TheDrunkenJedi

    I thought Val Kilmer was pretty good in 'The Ghost and the Darkness' but I was the only person who actually went and saw this movie wasn't I? 'Heat' was damn good as well although he was being supported by some heavyweight actors in that. Went and saw 'O Brother Where Art Thou' last night - not quite as good as 'Fargo' or 'The Big Lebowski' but it was up there!! Sorry for going off the point! Hmmm...there must be a bar open somewhere.....