Movie Recommendation- Trixie
Perhaps this isn’t so much a movie recommendation as a small attempt to redeem the reputation of what I consider to be an unfairly maligned film. Alan Rudolph (a director everyone will someday realize has made consistently remarkable and interesting films and who will receive retrospectives at revival houses and whose most notable films will get Criterion Collection releases if I have anything to say about it) made Trixie in 2000, on the heels of his equally underappreciated Breakfast of Champions, a breathless and breathtaking adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel that is far closer to that author’s sensibility than even most of his fans seem to realize. In any case, Breakfast of Champions is at least slightly better known due to its famous source material. Trixie is an original screenplay by Rudolph (sharing a “story by” credit with John Binder) that takes place in contemporary, small town Illinois. In telling the story of a daffy security guard who wants to be a detective (Emily Watson in the title role) and ends up on the trail of a murderous conspiracy, the movie is both a screwball comedy and a noir mystery. Yet it is not merely a fresh, updated take on those classic Hollywood genres. Nor could it really be called a deconstruction. Instead, Rudolph’s film climbs inside those story tropes and explodes them. This is particularly true of the screwball elements. Though Trixie’s unceasing malapropisms (my favorite is, “You’re a big wheel in a small pond”) would be right at home in a Howard Hawks film, the other aspects are exaggerated exponentially, taking the work from “screwball” to “pure insanity.” The kinetic pace and the unhinged performances (Nick Nolte’s corrupt state senator in particular) are so fully off the rails that the film becomes aggressive. Whether or not that’s fun to watch likely depends on the viewer’s tolerance for abrasiveness but what can’t be denied is that it’s a powerful film from an assured cinematic craftsman. Plus there’s a scene on a boat during which Nolte delivers what may be the most absurdly hilarious line in film history.