No, I didn't misspell that. It stands for "black" and "bleak".
Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo) is released from prison, but hours later has not left the bench outside the prison gate. It seems as though he has no place to go - that is, until he has to pee. He is grubby looking, in tatty clothes and pants that are too short. His look screams, "low budget".
He meets Christina Ricci's character, Layla, in town. He is nasty to her, yet she gives him a quarter for the phone when asked. She overhears him talking to his mother. He keeps repeating who he is, and it gives the impression that he's been away for a while, or maybe Mom's feeble-minded. Layla overhears him telling her grandiose lies.
His lies include a wife, whom he's goaded to produce. After he hangs up, he grabs Layla in desperation and off they go, in her car. He tells her that she will pose as his "wife", and is to make him "look good", under threats. She has chances to escape but chooses not to.
While Billy was in prison, he got his friend "Goon", who is slow but loyal, to visit and agree to send Billy's pre-written letters to his parents on a monthly basis. These included stories of his "successful, jet-setting life" (it's not made clear how the locally-postmarked letters are meant to fool his parents).
Billy and Layla arrive at the parents' house and Billy's father is not fooled. The parents are cold and selfish. It becomes clear that Billy's mother remembers little or nothing of his life's details. He is simply not important to her. Only football is, and at one point, she absentmindedly comments that she regretted Billy's birth because it kept her from seeing the Buffalo Bills play in the Championship that year (I assume she named her son after the team). The father is a lecherous slime-bag who looks for any excuse to play "motorboat" with Layla's boobs while telling her, "Daddy loves you".
Daddy didn't make it as a singer, and when Layla asks if he has any recordings of himself, he takes her to a bedroom and sings to her over a prerecorded backing record, under a spotlight, while she sits, Baby Doll-like, on the bed. Creepy.
Layla later asks to see Billy's childhood pictures, but there is only one! It's of him with his puppy. She asks what became of the pup, and we see a flashback that shows Daddy killing it in front of Billy, because it peed in the house. Daddy tells her, "It ran away".
With dinner over, they leave. Layla chooses to remain with Billy after leaving his parents' house. They get a room. She wants him. He recoils. We discover how emotionally isolated he is. We find out that his only relationship with a girl was fantasised. I suppose that brings out that thing that some women seem to enjoy doing, where she makes him her Personal Reclaimation Project. She tries to break down his resistance to human contact and tenderness. She barely breaks through at all. They fall asleep, with him close to her. Billy intends to stay only until 2am, when Scott Woods is due to be at his strip club.
Woods, a former Bills player, missed the potential game-winning kick in a game upon which Billy had bet heavily. Billy couldn't cover the bet, and the bookie let him off by having Billy take the 5 year rap for a crime committed by a friend of the bookie. Billy believes Woods took a bribe to lose, and blames Woods for ruining his life.
When Billy says he has to go out, she has the feeling that he won't be back, and ends up telling him she loves him. He promises to return, but his real plan is to go to Scott Woods' strip club and kill him, then kill himself.
Before entering the club, he calls Goon, makes a bequest, and apologises to Goon for being mean and nasty to him all the time. Goon suspects Billy's going to do "something bad".
In the club, Billy comes face-to-face with Scott Woods, a fat, slobbering drunk with naked girls hanging off of him. Woods offers Billy a drink. During this exchange, Billy fantasises pulling out the gun and through some nice f/x, we see frozen shots of the homicide and the suicide, along with a scene of Billy's parents at his grave, listening to football on the radio until the father wants to leave to eat.
All of that brings on an epiphany for Billy, and he decides that life is worth living. He leaves, and on the outside payphone, calls Goon back and tells him that he can't have his stuff after all, and that he met a girl who loves him. He goes back to treating Goon like crap (which shows that love hasn't turned Billy into a complete sap). He also says that he couldn't kill Woods because, "he seemed like a nice guy" (how he came to that conclusion, I have no idea. Offering a drink seems a gesture too feeble to resolve years of hatred). In any case, his new plan is to get back to Layla.
I thought the "epiphany" came out of the blue. Surely Billy would've realised long before that moment, that his parents wouldn't have missed him. But I suppose he so desperately craved their approval, that he was in complete denial about their utter indifference to him. Who knows? What was really missing was any information about Layla. Who was she? And why did she behave the way she did?
I felt that the wrap-up was too quick, and pat.