I don't know what convinced Quentin Tarantino to take a role in 'Destiny Turns on the Radio,' nor do I really want to. Essentially it is a rip-off of his ultra-popular "Pulp Fiction," released in 1994, only that movie had a point and this one does not. Dylan McDermott heads an all-star cast as a crook that is let out of jail, only to find his old pal (James LeGros) has lost their cash to a mysterious wanderer named Johnny Destiny (Quentin Tarantino), hence the title.
However, things aren't as clear as they seem to be. Sure, the movie's title is easily explanatory but what on earth Johnny Destiny stands for (other than, of course, destiny), why he's there, who he really is, what he's doing, why he wants to do what he's doing none of it is explained.
Furthermore none of it is ambiguous like 'Donnie Darko,' where we enjoy guessing and forming our own conclusions. Nope, it's just stupid and guessing what any of it means wastes too many precious brain cells that doesn't deserve to be burnt on such lousy, paper-thin material.
It's like someone, somewhere, said, 'Let's make a movie with Quentin Tarantino. It'll have no plot, we'll just have some weird characters interact and tell jokes and entertain the audience.' Entertaining, perhaps, but not in a good way.
The ending stinks of studio interference and more often than not the movie is just downright confusing. It could very easily be one of the worst films of all time, if not for the fact that it is rather sporadically amusing at times (its strongest traits of very little) and there are some OK performances from James Belushi and LeGros. The rest of the cast is a dud -- Tarantino tries, but fails, in a cameo-sized role. He's flamboyant and obviously savoring the opportunity to pay homage to all the cool-cat characters of classic cinema, but it's soon revealed that his character, Johnny, is just plain strange and unlikable. I expected to feel something anything when he appeared on-screen, but I didn't. Co-star McDermott in particular is just plain awful, lacking the charisma required for the role. Often appearing in made-for-television movies, McDermott once again establishes the fact that he's not the sort of actor you'd wan
Dialogue is stiff (stuff like "kiss me, baby" manages to sneak in). Overall it's just a goofy movie that thinks it's a lot cleverer than it is -- not awful because it doesn't take itself too seriously and is fun sometimes, but overall just a big mess of various ideas that clash together. A pure marketing scheme, cashing in on Tarantino's image no less.
I did enjoy one performance, in particular -- James LeGros ("Phantasm II"), who reminded me of Barney from "The Flintstones." A likable actor playing a likable character with depth -- too bad he had to waste his talent on a movie that is otherwise so very thin.
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