Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fun (1994)


Written by James Bosley
Directed by Rafal Zielinski

Renée Humphrey .... Hillary
Alicia Witt .... Bonnie
William R. Moses .... John
Leslie Hope .... Jane
Ania Suli .... Mrs. Farmer

"God says to man, 'I heal you, therefore I hurt, love you, therefore punish'—Stray Birds, Rabinoranath Tagore"

The film opens with this cryptic quote and then proceeds to a detention center where we meet Jane, a caseworker hiding behind a lot of hair and a pair of frumpy glasses. She exchanges crude words over the telephone with John, a reporter for Tomorrow magazine who is doing a story on two of Jane's newest "kids." From here, it's a series of interviews and non-sequential flashbacks that tell the story.

Bonnie and Hillary are two troubled 15 year olds, both outcast from their peers and wanting only to be understood. When they meet for the first time at the bus stop, it was like a door being opened. They were no longer alone and felt as if they had known each other forever. Throughout the course of the day, they wandered around town mapping out their subconscious mind to each other in the form of idle chatter, explicit dialogue, and pseudo-existentialist babble. They reach the conclusion that being normal is bullshit and "fun is number one."

In their incessant search for kicks, they break into an elderly woman's house and murder her with a kitchen knife. After it's over, the girls feel free for the first time in their lives and able to do anything. But the next morning they come to a rude awakening, when the police arrest them and charge them with murder.

Inside the prison, the girls are not allowed to see or communicate with each other. The separation is driving the two of them crazy, and in the end becomes ultimately too much to bear.

Despite its early potential, this film failed to deliver the goods. It was excessively dialogue driven, dissecting events in speech that the camera never actually shows. And because of the use of flashbacks, we never actually see the murder scene for ourselves until the end of the film, where it was meant to be some kind of "money shot". After all the anticipation and suspense that had built up, however, it seemed poorly done and the whole movie deflated. The transition from color to black-and-white was inspired, but it takes more than that to turn a film around.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: Saint Axl Rose; Invisible magic ninjas; Hyper-caffeinated tap dance; Door to door insults; Is this the movie or a Fatboy Slim video?;

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Fun was based on writer Jim Bosley's play of the same name; Renée Humphrey (Hillary) later went on to portray Tricia Jones in Kevin Smith's Mallrats and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back; Fun was nominated for the Jury Prize at 1994's Sundance Film Festival

95 minutes
Color/black & white

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  1. 'Your face looks like a condom!' I love this film - though I haven't seen it for ages now. I remember it being quite bleak. Alicia Witt is, as ever, amazing.

  2. Haven't ever heard of this one. Not sure that I will seek it out, upon reading your review.

  3. based on a true story. 1983 'fun' killing by 15yo cindy collier and 14yo shirley wolf. Wolf wrote in her diary 'cindy and I ran away and killed an old woman today. it was lots of fun." except in real life neither ever admitted feeling even the slightest regret. and both lived. one serving 9 years the other 12. Oh they also turned on each other within days in prison and became sworn enemies.


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