Jesus' Son

Director: Alison Maclean
Year Released: 1999
Rating: 2.0

Surreal adaptation of the collection of short stories by renowned "cult" novelist Denis Johnson centers on FH (or, "Fuckhead"), a down-and-out bum who's addicted to drugs and misery. Billy Crudup, who plays FH, is fantastic in the role - he has a warm smile and is mostly unknowing and non-malicious (Samantha Morton is adequate as his key love-interest: she's basically doing the same Sweet and Lowdown chic, this time with dialogue). Director Alison Maclean is trying to draw some sort of link between redemption and reproduction that is never exactly clear to me: is FH a savior or an false messiah? It's mostly episodic and unnecessarily tedious in parts - the two-hour running time is completely unwarranted, considering the lack of coherence and effectiveness of its various jumbled pieces. I must say, though, that Jack Black as a spaced-out hospital orderly and Denis Leary as a drunk who robs his own home are fantastic in their supporting roles - why couldn't we have gotten more scenes with them (most characters pop up here and there and are quickly left behind once their quirkiness or symbolic purpose has been used up)? Overall, though, this is so taken up with its own jumbled vision of down-and-out melancholia that it never looks over its shoulder to see if the trail its leaving goes anywhere special.