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THURSDAY(director/writer: Skip Woods; cinematographer: Denis Lenoir; editors: Paul Trejo/Peter Schink; music: Luna; cast: Thomas Jane (Casey), Aaron Eckhart (Nick), Paulina Porizkova (Dallas), James LeGros (Billy Hilly), Paula Marshall (Christine), Mickey Rourke (Policeman), Michael Jeter (Dr. Jarvis), Glenn Plummer (Rasta Man); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Alan Poul; Gramercy Pictures; 1998)
“A gangster film that hopes to duck the bullets flying overhead and become a comedy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is the film debut of director-writer Skip Woods. It’s a gangster film that hopes to duck the bullets flying overhead and become a comedy.

It has been three and a half years since Casey Wells (Thomas Jane) moved from Los Angeles to the suburbs of Houston and gave up his violent drug dealing days to be an architect and live a bourgeois life with his straight, conservative attractive wife Christine (Paula Marshall), who does not know about his troubled past. But the past has a way of catching up with you. In this case it’s a visit from his old partner in crime, the unreformed Nick (Aaron Eckhart), when his wife is away at work. Casey can’t refuse Nick’s request for a place to stay for a few days or lending him his station wagon to run a few errands, but panic sets in when being nosy about Nick’s briefcase left behind he opens it to find a huge stash of heroin–which he promptly flushes down the toilet in honor of his new guise of respectability.

Unfortunately, there’s no explanation of how Casey went in this short time span from a violent criminal to the perfect citizen and professional role model. Maybe he got one of those mail order college degrees and was really getting his resume ready when sticking up a 7-Eleven type of establishment and watching as one of his gang pumped lead into the innocent clerk. That explanation for his rapid transformation would make about as much sense as anything does in this ridiculously scripted film.

In any case Nick’s visit leads in the next 24 hours to Casey being visited by some off-the-wall creepy thugs who are after Nick’s valuable smack and some two million in cash, which he is not aware exists. Casey in that short time period has his life turn back to his troubled past as he gets stoned, tied up, raped and assaulted by Nick’s gangster associates that include Billy Hill (LeGros), who likes being called HillBilly; the red rubber-suited sex-crazed superbitch Dallas (Porizkova); and, the lowlife creep Rasta Man (Plummer). They are followed by the bizarre crooked cop (Rourke) who threatens to kill Casey unless he turns over the stolen money.

The film leaves you with the important legal question whether a woman can rape a man, as Dallas does Casey.

Not a film for the Ozzie and Harriet crowd, its subject matter is trying to mine comedy from violence, degradation, sex and drugs. I found it to be just another futile try at imitating Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. It was offensive and juvenile in its attempt to be nothing but entertaining. But if this kind of violent comedy is what strikes your funny bone, be my guest because it’s not the worst or most revolting film and it does have some funny crass bits to keep those so inclined in stitches.

Incidentally, Thursday is the day of reckoning, hence the film’s title.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”