2002 The Badge …. Scarlett
A good-old-boy small-town sheriff in a New Orleans parish happens upon a murder case that threatens to end his career in Behind the Badge, the embattled second feature of writer/director Robby Henson (Pharaoh’s Army). Billy Bob Thornton stars as Darl, a divorced lawman first spotted sleeping in his truck outside his favorite bar. Darl gets a call about a truck accident, and happily hands out shoes from the ditched tractor-trailer to win over the locals for his re-election. But then the body of a beautiful woman is found in the mud near the wrecked truck. The “woman” turns out to be a transsexual with a .22 slug in her back. Prejudice reigns in the small community, and no one seems to be taking the murder too seriously. Local politicians, including a powerful judge (William Devane), are focused on the upcoming election, and are also angling to build a casino in town, and so they want to keep the sordid murder quiet. The victim’s wife, Scarlet (Patricia Arquette), a New Orleans stripper, shows up. Despite Darl’s own prejudices, he finds himself attracted to Scarlet, and starts to look into the case. Soon he learns that his investigation and his big mouth have cost him his slot on the ticket. When he presses on, he finds himself jailed on a trumped-up statutory rape charge. Struggling with his own family history of disgrace, Darl considers making a deal with the local bigwigs in order to keep his job. But when he learns that Scarlet is in danger, he’s forced into action. Sela Ward and Jena Malone also star. Behind the Badge was heading for theatrical distribution before production company Propaganda Films went bankrupt. The film was unable to find a new distributor and premiered on Starz cable on September 7, 2002.
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2001 Human Nature …. Lila Jute
The film opens by quickly introducing the three leads — Lila (Patricia Arquette) who is locked away in prison; Puff (Rhys Ifans) who is testifying before Congress; and Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) who is sitting in a glowing white afterlife waiting room with a bullet hole in his head. Rewinding to the beginning of the story, the film shows Lila as a girl about to enter womanhood. Unfortunately, puberty goes horribly awry and she starts to grow thick hair all over her body. After performing as Queen Kong in a circus freak show, she chucks it all and goes to live in the forest, where she becomes the best-selling author of a misanthropic hard-line ecological tome. At age 30, her itch for male companionship becomes overwhelming and she ventures back into the city. She is helped by electrolysis guru Louise (Rosie Perez), who not only makes Lila presentable to society, but introduces her to Nathan, a 35-year-old virgin who, as a scientist, has devoted his life to teaching table etiquette to lab mice. While showing Nathan the joys of the wild outdoors, Lila and her new beau discover an extremely hirsute feral man whom they dub Puff. Placing him a cage in his lab, Nathan sets out to teach Puff the ways of polite society while dreaming of fame and fortune. The first task is to curb Puff’s enormous sexual appetite — any time he catches sight of a female, Puff either tries to hump her or masturbates vigorously. Nathan yokes him with an electric collar that shocks him any time he acts unseemly. Unfortunately, the humans on the other side of the cage can’t quite control their libidos either: Nathan succumbs to the incessant double entendres of his saucy French assistant Gabrielle (Miranda Otto) while Lila finds an animalistic lust for Nathan’s science experiment.
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2000 Little Nicky …. Valerie Horan
The youngest child of the family often has the most problems — so why should things be different for the Prince of Darkness and his offspring? Satan (Harvey Keitel) is considering retirement, and is pondering which of his sons should take over the family business — ambitious Adrian (Rhys Ifans), strapping Cassius (Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr.), or Nicky (Adam Sandler), an accident-prone demon who prefers to stay in his room playing his favorite heavy metal tunes. When Satan decides to stay on for another 10,000 years, Adrian is outraged, and leaves Hell to go to New York, where he and Cassius attempt to round up enough souls to vote Satan out of power. Satan, understandably upset, sends Nicky to bring Adrian and Cassius back home, but Nicky finds life on Earth is more complicated than he expected. Things don’t get any easier when he develops a crush on Valerie (Patricia Arquette), a good-hearted mortal woman. Little Nicky also features Michael McKean as a city official trying to put Nicky behind bars, Kevin Nealon as Hell’s gatekeeper, Rodney Dangerfield as Satan’s father, Robert Smigel as the voice of Beefy — a talking dog who is Nicky’s guide on earth, Allen Covert as Todd — Nicky’s new roommate, and Peter Dante and Jonathan Loughran as a pair of metalheads who dig Satan. Jon Lovitz and Reese Witherspoon play cameo roles, and Regis Philbin and Ozzy Osbourne appear as themselves.
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1999 Bringing Out the Dead …. Mary Burke
This tense urban drama stars Nicolas Cage as Frank Pierce, a paramedic on the brink of physical and emotional collapse. Frank has worked for years in one of New York’s most brutal neighborhoods, and the pressure of his job has taken its toll; plagued with self-doubt, he is haunted by the spirits of the people he couldn’t save, and while he desperately wants to quit his job, outside forces won’t let him walk away. Bringing Out the Dead brought director Martin Scorsese back to the streets of contemporary New York, one of his favorite locations, after three films set elsewhere: Kundun, Casino, and The Age of Innocence. The film also reunited Scorsese with screenwriter Paul Schrader, who scripted Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ. The supporting cast includes Patricia Arquette as the daughter of a heart attack victim that Frank has fallen in love with, and John Goodman and Ving Rhames as two of Frank’s fellow drivers.