John Cassavetes’ love letter to the art of theater, inside a neo-noir take on the sleazy ‘70s Southland!
In what other film would a waitress from famed post-hippie L.A. restaurant The Source take her morning break next door to audition for Ben Gazzara’s bizarro performance-art strip club? When his high-flying lifestyle owes debts to a sinister syndicate (led by Seymour Cassel and a wonderfully mushy Timothy Carey), he’s given a tough choice: knocking off a Chinese “bookie” or losing his beloved theatre.
Cassavetes renders all of this with a hallucinatory eye, subverting genre conventions with his unsettled rhythms and a sweetly absurdist tone. Likewise, Gazzara perfectly embodies the fractured, contradictory persona of a character as much filled with frailty and vice as he is with ambition and integrity.