Whenever I am asked what my favorite movie is, I declare, from the gut, without hesitation: 1983’s Rumble Fish, by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke playing two brothers trying to connect in a world of hurt both physical and emotional. Forget art film (though Rumble Fish was shot in artsy black and white, with a few key bits in color), classics and hype on critics lists and the AFI’s list … but, wait a second… the AFI actually just gave me the platform to espouse on the greatness of this film to their readers… jump through their logo below to read my essay/review:
As much as I do love the art films, this is easily a favorite for quite personal reasons, and so I argue in the piece linked above. I have no problem noting my all-time favorite film because I had such a personal relationship with this movie during some important formative years. It also helps that the film indeed holds up as one of Coppola’s great works.
Among its many merits, it features Police drummer Stewart Copeland’s first and best soundtrack, the film’s odd, exaggerated camera angles, whimsical mood-shifting edits, luscious monochromatic black and white images, Diane Lane looking gorgeous and enigmatic. All the performances are expressive and slightly odd (Dennis Hopper, Chris Penn, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits, Nicolas Cage and a pre-teen Sofia Coppola are also in it, bringing their own idiosyncratic performances to the mix). When it appeared at the Miami International Film Festival a few years ago as part of a retrospective on Coppola on 35mm I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Here’s the current official trailer, the build up to a rumble between gangs that features an amazing appearance of the rival gang as a train blows past: