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the pathetic caverns - movies by title - Living in Oblivion

eclectic reviews and opinions

Living in Oblivion

1995, D & S: Tom DiCillo

If there's anyone reading pathetic caverns who hasn't seen this stunning film, I don't want to spoil anything I just want to urge that you take whatever steps are necessary to see it as soon as possible. It's just insanely good, honestly. Like Truffaut's Day for Night, it's a movie about movie-making, but it's a lot of other things too. It's smart and funny and surprising and often surprisingly affecting. Catherine Keener's performance is just jaw-dropping; Dermot Mulroney is terrific; Steve Buscemi is maybe just a hair too histrionic -- or, then again, maybe he's perfect.

This DVD edition restores the movie to its rightful widescreen format. It's really a dreadful shame to crop or pan and scan a film this beautifully composed. Honestly, for me, that alone justified its purchase price.

In addition the DVD feature adds an interview with DiCillo and his leading man, Steve Buscemi, that is lively and informative; well worth a look. There is also a full-length commentary track from writer/director DiCillo. The interview hits many of the high points of DiCillo's commentary, which is also informative, but considerably less lively. Nonetheless, anyone who's been involved with an independent film production -- or tried to help out a friend who was -- will likely find him or herself nodding and smiling ruefully, and it's interesting to hear an artist who is so clear-headed about what was good, bad, or accidental about his work.

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