Sunday, November 28, 2010

Movie Sunday: Wilder Napalm

This is one of my favorite movies, and I doubt you've ever heard of it. The few people I know who have seen it -- usually at my recommendation -- either love it, or tend to think that the casting is interesting, and the rest is ... okay. A few have seen it as a total waste of time. Part of this difference of opinion may be because the offbeat romantic comedy on the surface acts mostly as a substrate for a form of art that I can't really describe, but that I find very appealing.

The cast is definitely interesting. It stars the guy (Arliss Howard) who reminds me of that guy (Scott Glenn) who I used to confuse with David Carradine. Howard and Dennis Quaid are cast as two estranged brothers who can start fires with their minds. Debra Winger plays Howard's wife, a budding pyromaniac under house arrest. Her husband is a firefighter, so when she gets bored, she starts small fires to get hubby and his co-workers to come for a visit.

The story, while quirky, is fairly predictable, but the story is not really the thing. I think what I like about Wilder Napalm is similar to what I like about Coen brothers films. It's the characters, and the golden moments, and some hard to define subtext that are the most memorable.  And there's singing, but only a little. It's a movie that you need to really watch, and listen to, and experience.

So if your Netflix recommendations tend towards "quirky indie films" you may want to try this one. At least now that Netflix carries it. If you prefer your fare more conventional, you should probably give it a miss.


  1. something to add to The Girl's netflix list for the downdays of christmas! it never causes me pain to see dennis quaid on the screen.

  2. oh, I'm going to queue up the hell out of this.

  3. Oh, I liked this one, too. Go figure...

    p.s. All you misguided souls who didn't like 'Citizen Kane?' What were THEY doing at age 25?? Lord...easy to criticize....