Combustible Celluloid
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With: Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Tim Roth, Eric Stoltz, Alicia Witt, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Jon Proudstar, Peter Fonda
Written by: Roger Hedden, based on his play
Directed by: Michael Steinberg
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexuality
Running Time: 95
Date: 04/09/1993

Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

What the Wind Means

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I saw this in the theater in 1993, and at the time it fascinated me as one of the movies of the time that seemed to define the mood of Generation X (Slacker, Singles, Clerks, Reality Bites, etc.). Though now that I check, I find that all four of the lead actors were born between 1961 and 1964, and Generation X officially doesn't begin until 1965. (They're technically Baby Boomers, I guess.) No matter. Bodies, Rest & Motion does in fact capture a type of lost aimlessness, the feeling of people that find themselves circling adulthood and not sure what to do with it. Nick (Tim Roth) is a slightly slimy TV salesman who is living with Beth (Bridget Fonda) and suddenly decides that they are moving to Butte, Montana (which he thinks is the "city of the future"). Nick and Beth are both friends with Carol (Phoebe Cates), and we learn that Carol may have come to Arizona while dating Nick; they have broken up but remain good friends. On the last day in their home, a happy, rumpled painter, Sid (Eric Stoltz), shows up. He smokes pot with Carol and falls in love with Beth. Meanwhile, Nick decides to steal a TV from his work, and employs Beth in his plan. Those events happen in a kind of random order, really, and the secret to the movie's flow is that it has no flow. It just drifts. The hazy Arizona afternoon atmosphere and the chirpy, chanty score by Michael Convertino definitely help things along. Michael Steinberg (The Waterdance) directed, and Roger Hedden adapted his own play.

Kino Lorber's great-looking 2020 Blu-ray release should please any Gen-Xers that owned the old Criterion Laserdisc. Bonuses include a commentary by Steinberg, Stoltz, and Hedden (which, I believe, was recorded for the Laserdisc), plus behind-the-scenes footage, a featurette, a trailer and TV spot, plus new introductions by Steinberg and Hadden, and a 1985 short film, Nightwatch, by Steinberg.

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