Big Bad Love (2001)

Big Bad Love (2001)
6.0
  • 628
  • R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 2001 ()
  • Running time: 111 min
  • Original Title: Big Bad Love
  • Voted: 628

Vietnam veteran Leon Barlow is struggling as a writer, and his personal life isn't much better. His unsympathetic ex-wife Marilyn doesn't approve of his visits with his two children, and he has problems with alcohol. Yet even when Leon manages to catch up on alimony and child support payments, things in his life seem to decline further, until a sudden tragedy catches him off guard.

#PersonCharacters
1Arliss HowardBarlow
2Debra WingerMarilyn
3Paul Le MatMonroe
4Rosanna ArquetteVelma
  • A wonderful surprise by 7

    Big Bad Love achieves what few films even strive for -- that gritty level of believability (laced with wonderful dream sequences throughout) that makes it seem as though the camera was simply dropped into the center of these characters' lives.

    There are a number of wonderful lines, and few scenes funnier than when unsuccessful writer, Leon Barlow (played by Howard), sits down to type a response to a letter from a magazine editor, rejecting one of his short stories.

    Not to say that the film isn't uneven at times. Howard (who not only stars in the film, but also directs), remains true to his narrative, which does become difficult to watch as Barlow becomes more self-destructive. The dream sequences become muddled after a while, but only because that's how Barlow is experiencing them.

    Performances by Paul Le Mat, Debra Winger, Angie Dickinson, and Rosanna Arquette are all very strong. The soundtrack is top-notch.

    I highly recommend this film, particularly as an anti-dote to the vapid doggerel Hollywood continues to churn out like link sausages.

  • R.I.P. Larry Brown (11/24/04) by 10

    Rest in peace Larry Brown. It's so bizarre. I was just re-watching one of my favorite movies of all time last night (Big Bad Love). Larry Brown wrote the book, and he also has a small part as Barlow's father in the film.

    Then I read on-line that Larry died today of a heart attack (11/24/04). That is very strange. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, watch the movie "Big Bad Love" (see my review in an earlier listing 4/21/03). I found the story, acting and music to be some of the most moving material I've ever experienced. Don't worry, there are plenty of laughs too. If this flick doesn't draw some emotion from you, you better check for a pulse.

    Also get the soundtrack CD. It has some of the coolest blues that you'll ever hear. It features several artists from the North Mississippi Hill Country region, where the movie was filmed. R.L. Burnside and Kenny Brown even have cameo appearances. It's some big bad music.

    Crawlin' Kingsnake

    Austin, TX

  • Drinking to oblivion by 7

    One has to admire an actor like Arliss Howard for his courage in bringing this film to the screen. It is a painful story to watch, but it has its own rewards. The movie played locally only for a very short time, and sadly, it disappeared until it was shown recently on cable, for which we are grateful.

    Perhaps with another director, some of the kinks in the film would have been ironed out. There are scenes that are just too painful to watch. Our hearts go out to Barlow and what he is going through at this time of his life. His writing is brilliant, but most everyone he submits his novels to, end up rejecting them. Barlow cannot take another defeat in his life.

    To make matters worse, his divorce from Marilyn is driving him insane. We often wonder how these two unmatched pair thought they were going to make it at all. In bad marriages, both parties remain bitter over every little detail dictated by the court when they must separate.

    Arliss Howard, as Barlow gives a heart felt performance. We see him sinking lower and lower without a safety net to hold him. Unfortunately, Debra Winger's time on screen is very short. Ms Winger makes this woman an enigma since we don't really know where her head is at. The other actors are good. Paul Le Mat, Rosanna Arquette and above all, a short, but very excellent turn by Angie Dickinson, make us care about the fate of these people.

  • Beautiful by 7

    Big bad love is a truly beautiful movie. Arliss Howard has done what I have been eagerly expecting for a long lime,i.e. portrayed a tormented human being without the typical Hollywood string-quartet having to tell you when to feel something. The acting itself along with the perfect script and footage render this film a credibility and sincerity seldom found in American movies. Thanks Howard Arliss!

  • Intimate slice o' life portrait of a poet/novelist & those close to him by 10

    Part warm comedy, part bleak tragedy, part hallucinatory vision, this film paints an irresistible and touchingly human portrait of a Southern writer's life and it's milieu. Rural and small-town scenes and characters are rendered with loving attention to detail and respect for the rich eccentricities and quirky oddities of the main character and his family, friends and townsfolk. Every role brilliantly acted, every scene beautifully photographed, and as an added bonus the author's first-person narrative voice-over comes chock-full of fascinating samples of original poetry and poetic prose.

    Produced by Debra Winger, who also plays a major speaking role, written and directed by Arliss Howard, who also plays the lead character, their love for this story and these characters literally oozes from each frame, each word of dialog, each piece of soundtrack music. Anyone who finds inspiration in wild free-form poetry will fall in love with this film. It made me laugh out loud, sob till I had to grab a tissue, and think to myself as the credits rolled, "THIS is what film-making is all about!" If your taste runs towards literate, character-centered stories and you are not put off by surrealist visuals and poetry, I urge you to SEE THIS FILM!

#PersonCrew
1Paul Ryancinematographer
2Jay Rabinowitzeditor
3Patricia Norrisproduction_designer
4Larry Brownwriter
5James Howardwriter