In the Soup

Institute History


Two veteran actors in American independent film—one from the Cassavetes era (Seymour Cassel), and one from the Jarmusch generation (Steve Buscemi)—come together with zesty abandon in this loopy comic noir. Impoverished would-be film director Adolpho Rollo (Buscemi), surviving on a diet of Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, and the vitamins his mother keeps sending to his Lower East Side apartment, is down to his last dime. With his criminal landlords pounding on the door (Steve Randazzo and Frank ? in memorable bits as the Bafardi brothers), he desperately places an ad offering his epic five-hundred-page screenplay to the highest bidder. The taker is Joe (Cassel), a small-time hood looking for the perfect dupe to use in his petty scams. Joe convinces Adolpho that he’ll finance his film, but in the meantime there are cars to steal, break-ins to perpetrate, and stolen goods to fence.
Inevitably this odd couple are drawn to each other. (Opposites do attract, and this could be the nonsexual—albeit kissy—love story of the year.) Adolpho is fascinated by the sheer brio with which Joe enjoys his criminal existence. And Joe likes his naive sidekick well enough to try helping Adolpho romance his beautiful next-door neighbor, Angela (Jennifer Beals). As Joe’s increasingly convoluted dealings accelerate into nightmarish complications, Adolpho begins to realize that his movie is not on Joe’s agenda.
Direction con brio, richly hued, black-and-white cinematography and hilarious cameos by Carol Kane and Jim Jarmusch are among the ingredients making this one tasty soup to be in.

— Robert Hawk

Screening Details

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