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  • Vincent Gallo's directorial debut is a powerhouse of fine acting, writing, and direction, not to mention a showcase for some truly jaw-dropping cinematography. Buffalo 66 is one of the finest independent films that I have ever seen, and perhaps the most fascinating character study I have yet to see on film.

    Christina Ricci provides one of the year's best performances as Layla, the odd but tenderhearted tap dancer who provides Gallo's Billy Brown with the only true love he has ever received. Ricci's performance is brilliantly understated, and she relays just as much heartfelt meaning in one glance of her beautiful, dark eyes as Gallo does in his barrage of rapid-fire monologues.

    There are also fine supporting performances from Ben Gazzara and Angjelica Huston, as Billy's utterly dysfunctional parents, Mickey Rourke, as a sleezy bookie, Jan-Michael Vincent, as Billy's touchingly loyal friend and owner of a bowling alley, and Kevin Corrigan, as Billy's slow but well-meaning best friend.

    Buffalo 66 is an incredibly moving and beautiful film. It provides some of the starkest movie images of blue-collar society to come along since the '70s. The on-location Buffalo, New York sites are haunting in their bleakness, and the filtered photography emphasizes this all the more.

    On top of all of this, Gallo provides a mesmerizing performance as Billy Brown-a man who has spent so much of his life pining for love and tenderness that he doesn't know how to deal with it once it is staring him in the face.

    Simply put, Buffalo 66 is a staggering achievement. Vincent Gallo is a fiercely talented filmmaker and a force to be reckoned with in the future.
  • helpless_dancer19 November 2004
    Never even heard of Gallo: just happened onto this film on IFC one night and totally loved it. The acting was superb, the story even more so; and that camera work! Gallo's character, Billy Brown, was a picture of hate and resentment due to his unfeeling, unloving parents who made it clear from day one that he wasn't wanted, much less loved. This pushing away by these heartless, empty people turned young Billy into a introvert who was only able to find love within the confines of his own dreamy mind. Of course, this was insufficient which drove Billy to acting out in some bizarre and dangerous ways. Finally, when love does come it terrifies him and causes him to push away this affection continuing the cycle started by his parents. At times I found myself rocking with laughter at the antics of these hurting and emotionally scarred folks, but the tale was anything but comical. I wish there were more pictures coming out as interesting and dramatic as this.
  • Buffalo '66 was really original in terms of both plot and style. At moments, the story of Billy Brown's life is so terribly tragic and bizarre, you almost have to break the tension by cracking a laugh. In the film, Vincent Gallo's ex-jail bird character, Billy Brown, kidnaps a young tap-dancer named Layla, played by Christina Ricci, to pose as his wife on his visit back home to his dysfunctional family. The colors are beautifully bold and somehow elegant by being so far past tacky. The film is really great.

    The story is actually based somewhat on Vincent Gallo's own traumatic life. The Sinatra song that the Billy Brown's father sings to Layla in the bedroom is actually a tape of Vincent Gallo's father, Vincent Gallo, Sr. I read in an interview that Vincent Gallo has scripted another movie he hopes to direct and feature in. He is trying to get enough money to do it all himself. I am curious to see how it turns out, since this film was allegedly wound so tightly around scraps of his own life.
  • buffalo 66 is a lot like its creator, vincent gallo: harsh, unkempt, dangerous looking,a sure bet to be a miserable loser. at first glance this film seems to have nothing going for it, but give it ten minutes and then see if you can turn away. a dissection of a loose circling collection of emotional misfits, Vincent Gallo's creation (he wrote, directed, starred in the thing and even wrote the original music for the film) of billy brown, his parents and Layla, the girl who comes to love him is an amazing thing. what at first sounds like annoyingly fake bravado soon reveals the tormented souls beneath. again and again the film confounds expectations morphing into one of the most moving and convincing portraits of love and redemption imaginable. a justly deserving winner of its numerous art film awards (especially those earned by former child actress christina ricci in a devastated angel performance)buffalo 66 earns all the risks it takes and reminds us that even the worst first impressions can sometimes be wrong
  • Vincent Gallo's has supplied us with more than just a powerful character driven pic with the touching "Buffalo '66". Somehow he has managed to provide a much needed counterpoint to another recent noteworthy effort, "Good Will Hunting".

    Instead of a pouting GQ-genius we get a main character much more common to everyday life. A simple loser trying to claw his way out of a hole that he never meant to dig for himself. A victim of circumstance who not only dosen't but couldn't know any better. It's a simple tale of desparation and lonliness that never shies away from cutting all the way down to the bone.

    Billy Brown is revolting. Greasy, unmannered, and fresh from jail, the viewer is given no reason at all to care about him. He kidnaps Layla (Ricci) in an effort to maintain the machinery of lies that he has constructed to keep his nebulus parents unaware of his time in jail.

    It becomes clear that she falls for him after meeting his parents and other major players in his life. Billy didn't just get the short end of the stick, he never even had a chance. At this point you are forced to ask why, instead of trying to connect with him, she isn't running for her life from this apparent maniac. But on closer examination you realize that you are also sticking around. Not simply to see what happens but to make sure that Billy turns out OK.

    Gallo want's to make it clear that Billy was warped from the outside in. From the day of his birth he was hated by his psychotic mother, played brilliantly by Anjelica Houston, because her going into labor prevented her from watching the "Big Game" in which her favorite team triumphed in the 1966 Superbowl. And it was another pivotal Bills game that doomed Billy Brown and sent him to jail for 5 years just as he entered adulthood. A stark contrast to the scene in "Good Will Hunting" where Damon and Williams charachters recount the famous Boston Red Sox victory and thereby establish a deeper connection on the road to that protagonist's healing.

    The road to Billy's wellness will have to be found elsewhere and with little help from anyone at all. He is forced to configure his own compass to guide him to the next step in his life and although it isn't pretty the result is far more belivable than "Good Will".

    Gallo used his microscopic budget well especially in the flashback and dream sequences. This work resonates with some of John Cassavetes' tradmark overtones without exploiting them. And I'm not just talking about the presence of Ben Gazzara.

    You can feel the cold of Buffalo seeping through every crack inside a given scene. You can also sense that the actors were given plenty of latitude to construct their charachters but we're directed with a special urgency. The end result enables the viewer to be propelled through the film instead of mearly left to watch it unfold before them.

    The screenplay delves into territory where Tarantino and his like fear to tread. A style of film making that depends more on raw performance than on well laid plans and clever constructs. Gallo chose his team well and trusted them to win it for him and they came through brilliantly.
  • After seeing this film for the first time I absolutely loved it! It was only after I purchased it on DVD that I saw in the credits just how much Gallo had to do with this film. He did just about everything major to complete this movie...from the music to the writing credits. Personally, I think that he did a fabulous job and I compliment him highly on this piece of motion picture art.

    I tend to take this story on a personal level. I have never been to prison, but I know that I can relate to a lot of what Gallo's character feels about his family. My family life was not too great whilst growing up, but it really put things in perspective for me to see someone who's parents are that oblivious to their son's most basic needs.

    Some of the scenes may seem absurd and extreme as far as the obliviousness of the parents, but in a sense I think that is what Gallo was trying to get across to the viewing audience. This factor makes it all the more pertinent as to why Gallo's character is the way he is. To me this film is a reflection of an individual's life who has nothing to lose and yet so much to gain. Everything from the cold and gloomy atmosphere during the first half of the film to Gallo's character's pessimistic demeanor and repetitiveness of phrases only emphasize the aura of his life-long frustration and contempt for the world while revealing his desperate and longing need to find something tangible for once in his life...something that he apparently never had and that he thankfully finds in the confidence of Ricci's character.

    I could go on and on and on about how much this film meant to me and how beautifully directed, written and acted out this piece of work is, especially in the end since I have had thoughts and have considered and contemplated such things in the past. I admit that the height of the film's end freaked me out for a few moments, but left me feeling overwhelmed with relief and joy during the final concluding moments.

    To sum up: You HAVE TO watch this film. Period.
  • Considering that Vincent Gallo made a film that i pretty much hated, THE BROWN BUNNY, It's reassuring that he still has made this great film. I really had a ball watching this one. From the opening sequence of him leaving jail to the heartwarming, yet chilling ending scene, this is a film with lots of great moments. A man has just gotten out of jail and is to visit his parents, but first he needs a girlfriend and decides to kidnap a ballet dancer and force her to role play as his girlfriend. But when she starts to get too into the idea, the man shows his limits in a series of comic events ranging from darkly funny, to very inspired. And yet in between these events are moments of extremely depressing and moody sort of moments that elevate the film into a truly original masterpiece. A little bit brutal, a little bit surreal, and very depressing, the film manages to strike a perfect balance of comedy and drama and incorporate them into a truly original independent classic. It's definitely not for everyone, as a lot of the films i comment on are, but the audience that it is made for will fall in love with BUFFALO' 66.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    And he is. Being from Buffalo myself, this is the best portrayal of Buffalo culture that I have yet to see in a film. Gallo got the accent, the attitudes, the hand gestures, the weather and the local obsession with the Bills down to a science. It's brilliant. I was particularly impressed by his not so subtle satire of the, for lack of a better word, "Bills culture."

    Angelica Housten's character's obsessive compulsive watching of games on

    VHS, her listening to a game at her son's funeral, Gallo's character's penchant for blaming all of his problems on the Bill's kicker make perfect sense if you know first hand how the Bills' treks to the superbowl became focal points for hope in an increasingly economically depressed city.

    Watching the scene where Gallo buys Ricci some hot chocolate and a heart

    shaped cookie for the guy who's sitting there to give to his girlfriend was like being home.

    There's alot in this film you might not get if you don't know Buffalo. The way Gallo portrays his beautiful understanding and acceptance of his roots puts

    jokes-of-films like "Bruce Almighty" to shame.
  • *** out of **** stars

    The only sequence of Buffalo '66 that warmed my heart with thankful relief from almost two hours of wondering why the main character - Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo)- would make such unorthodox decisions against the obvious, right decisions, was during the last five minutes (approx.) of the film. What a pay off! What a tension breaking five minutes it was! I felt I could breathe easy after happily discovering that Billy is a man that can make loving, almost predictable and sane decisions after all, and all because of Layla (Christina Ricci), the new angel in his life, who he haphazardly "kidnapped" in a dance studio; who he finally realizes is his savior. We never find out much about Layla, if anything at all. Where does she come from and why is she the way she is? Why does she see a loving light in despicable Billy? Why doesn't she leave him, after so much verbal abuse and selfishness? I believe the reason she doesn't is because director, writer, composer and actor Gallo understands that in most scripts out of cliché Hollywood, she WOULD leave Billy. And then what kind of movie would we have? One that we've seen time and time again. The decisions that the characters make in Buffalo '66's entire time frame are the antithesis of conventionalism.

    What makes Billy Brown tick is strenuously simple, but only after a fair amount of contemplation after spending time with him: his parents, played by Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Huston, have systematically not given their son an ounce of validation of pride or yes, love, for his entire life, spent in frigid Buffalo, New York. Billy has spent his whole life excessively fabricating his importance in hope to gain that validation, but never with any success. Whether biological parents can demonstrate such intense apathy and coldness toward their own flesh and blood, as seen in this movie, is up for debate. But if they were able to be so callously and blindly bold, the bitter and sad result of such a man as Billy seems plausible. Gallo's skillful acting ability in his role floors me, because we actually somehow care for Billy. And why should we? Because through his sin we envision humanness that, I believe, we can all relate to: the errors we make; the lack of self-worth we may feel; loneliness; rejection; and the pain that is inflicted upon us from those who are supposed to unconditionally love us the most. Ricci's astounding performance, which I believe carries the most improvisation of any character in the film, brilliantly sheds the most light on the movie's message, which is: when someone cares about you more than themselves, it can truly change you for the better, no matter how much emotional baggage you may have. If we all had a Layla in our lives, psychiatrists would go into extinction.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You know Twilight? Where like, the guy is perfect and dreamy and all the teenage girls want to marry someone as perfect and dreamy as him? Yah, F that.

    When I showed my friend this movie his first response was "What does she see in him?" I was surprised. I didn't get what he didn't get. Yah, he's flawed. THAT'S THE POINT. It's easy to love someone who's perfect---anyone can do that. But to love someone so terribly insecure, wounded, paranoid, irritable, and a million other things--? That takes real love. Layla isn't weak for loving such a person, she is incredibly strong. Real life romance requires people being able to conquer the bad in order to grow, and that's what the whole entire point of this movie.

    Layla and Billy face their own, individual challenges.

    Layla has the emotional and social intelligence that apparently some of the audience lacks. Right from the beginning, right after their rough introduction, she sees through to his vulnerability when he is talking on the phone at the dance studio, telling lies about how he's at an expensive hotel. There is a sudden, short cut to her listening in on the bathroom, with a sad look on her face. She can see by the things that he pretends to be what he really is. Because if someone puts on an act, logic follows that's not what they are really like. So she sees him acting tough and high status, and uses simple powers of deduction to conclude that he is really sensitive and insecure. She doesn't fall in love with what he does but what he hides. What is hidden is his true self, and she lets him show it to her. She begins to see deeper into the reasons for his behavior when she is at his parents house. She is trying to talk to his parents and is being completely ignored. She gives a brief crushed and sympathetic look to the camera (Billy's perspective) before turning her attention to the TV as his mother commands her to "watch this play." She is extremely observant and knows how to give Billy a comfortable distance while simultaneously slowly coaxing him closer e.g. asking for a handshake and giving him a hug. Also when he indirectly confesses that he wasn't actually in a relationship with Wendy like he said he was, instead of calling him out or making him feel bad she asks afterward, "Did you have any other girlfriends?" This isn't the sign of a stupid, weak, one-dimensional character. She has a very contained personality, but she is the one who is more emotionally secure and stable, and acts as the rock that Billy never had. I thought it was all pretty obvious, but I guess if you're one-dimensional yourself, then yes, she's probably going to seem one-dimensional too.

    But the main focus is the challenge that Billy faces. While Layla is clear and upfront about her feelings, Billy has to struggle with a choice: to act on anger, hate and hurt, and to take his own life, or to take the path of love, get rid of his deep rooted negativity, and embrace life. He is faced with this struggle up until the last 5-10 minutes of the film, when he is face to face with the man who represents all the awful things in his life, and debates whether or not to shoot him and then himself. Throughout the whole movie he periodically tries to make good on his plans, calling the club, checking to see what time Scott Woods comes in, and so on. He has to wait, and spends this time with Layla. After looking Scott Woods in the face, and letting go of everything bad, you see a complete transformation into a sweet and happy man who has let go of his demons and found a reason to live. Love kept him from killing himself. Really, how more romantic can you get? I think another thing people have missed is the fact that it's supposed to be funny. It's a darker sense of humor, which I could see not everyone getting. But you're not supposed to take character flaws so seriously; they're exaggerated for comedic effect. And I want to say that I am from Buffalo, and he is dead on. I know people from Buffalo are mad at him, but come on, it's pretty much true. All the way from the houses covered in Bills merchandise to the annoying flat "a" in our accents which makes everyone else think we're Canadian. The whole movie has a consistent feel to it The bland and muted colors used throughout the film give it an ugly-beauty sort of feel which is very accurate to Buffalo's charm.

    This movie doesn't spell out for the audience everything they should think and feel. You have to interpret and analyze not the words of the conversations, but what they're trying to convey about the dynamics between people. The characters, motivations, feelings, are not force-fed, and I prefer it that way. If you aren't able to digest deeper meanings in movie, and need direct dialog and formulaic characters, then you have no business snooping around in independent films in the first place. And the whole entire thing was contingent on the last few minutes. If you don't sit down a watch a whole movie, what are you doing rating and reviewing it?

    Anyway---the reason why this movie is so great is because it doesn't try to push the common delusions that romance is all fairy-tales and bunny tails, but instead examines what love really is. Love isn't being rescued by Edward Cullen, it's being kidnapped by Billy Brown.
  • "Buffalo '66" is a different kind of low budget film. It is the kind of film that most high budget films should attempt to emulate!

    Tons of congratulations to Vincent Gallo. He wrote the story and screen play, directed the film, and was the main star. People are always told to write what they know something about. It is true. Vincent wrote about Buffalo, New York, where he was born and raised. He even used the same house he grew up in as well as local places in Buffalo for his scenic backgrounds. I hear that the budget for this film was only $1.5 million dollars. It proves that a good story with good writing and actors who are intensely dedicated to their craft can surpass even the most expensive movie that is lacking in telling a meaningful story.

    I won't retell the story as enough has already been written about it. Vincent Gallo did a great job in his role as Billy Brown. Christina Ricci plays a wonderful low-keyed costarring role as Layla. I was pleasantly surprised to see Rosanna Arquette appear in a small role as Billy Brown's school heartthrob, Wendy Balsam. Look for her to appear in the scene at Denny's Restaurant. Anjelica Huston was wonderful as the disinterested mother, Jan Brown, who seems to have spent her life adoring the Buffalo Bills football team instead of being a loving mother. Ben Gazzara played his mean and overbearing father, Jimmy Brown.

    One actor who should have received film credit is Billy's only friend, Rocky the Goon played by Kevin Corrigan. Kevin was excellent in his role. Other notable surprises in this film are appearances by Mickey Rourke, Jan-Michael Vincent, Kevin Pollak, and Alex Karras. A number of small role performers seem to be local Buffalo citizens doing small one-liner parts as the film progresses around the City of Buffalo. A good move on director Vincent Gallo's part because using local citizens in speaking roles assures that the script is believable and natural.

    Regardless of the comments Vincent Gallo made about himself in his trivia section of his Internet Movie Database I think he deserves credit for bringing this film to the attention of the movie world. I would hope that Roger Ebert selects this film for one of his Overlooked Film Festival viewings. The film is that good.
  • I fell in love with this movie. Before I saw it, I didn't know much at all about Vincent Gallo. I saw the trailer that was attached to "Out of Sight" and was like "well, that looks interesting. Maybe I'll check it out sometime." It took me a long time to track it down, but it was so worth the wait. One thing I can honestly say, is that the trailer is NOT deceptive. It pretty much tells you EXACTLY what you're going to get. One thing I wasn't expecting thoug, was the humor. There were times in this movie that I had to rewind and watch over because I was laughing so hard from the previous scene that I missed what was going on. Despite the film's depressing tone and deliberately grainy look, there are a lot of laughs here. Most of them come from the character of Billy Brown.

    Never in my life, have I seen a more pathetic hero. The guy is almost totally unlikeable without ONE redeeming quality. In the opening frame, he's being released from Prison. He's been there for something like five years and it's obvious that he's coming out of there in the clothes that he was wearing when he went in. His wardrobe is hilarious and his red ankle boots are a laugh riot. As are his pants that appear to be about four inches too short. You can tell when you first see him that this guy is a real piece of work. The first ten minutes or so focus on our new friend trying to find a bathroom, without any luck. When he finally does find a restroom, he is harassed by an obese homosexual. This sets up a scene that is kinda sick but darkly funny.

    Next thing, we learn the plan (part of it anyway) that Billy has up his sleeve. We meet his lunatic parents through a phone conversation and learn that they are clueless that Billy has been in lockup for the last five years. Apparently, they are stupid enough to believe that their son has been working in a foreign country as a government agent. They also believe that he is married. So he has to find a girl to pose as his wife. This sets up even more hilarious scenes as he kidnaps a young tap-dancer. I'm not going to go much farther. But the movie does get even funnier. Not only is it funny but it covers a lot of emotions. Here's a guy who's clearly been a loser his whole life, trying desperately to impress his parents who could care less about him. It sounds really depressing, but it's actually inspiring and, because it ends on a high note, it's uplifting.

    While it may not be for everyone, it's still a very entertaining and rewarding film. It's been a few years since Gallo has done anything, but I'm really looking forward to his next project.

    If anything, I'd say that this is a black-comedy/character study. It's probably the most original film of 1998 and it did take a lot of chances with its unique style. I have no complaints about this movie whatsoever and I'm giving it the highest score possible. It's a 10+.
  • germanmedna4 February 2020
    Vincent Gallos directorial debut film. Billy Brown who is just released out of prison abruptly kidnaps Layla, an amenable tap dancer to pose as his wife while he visits his parents for the first time in 5 years. The raw cinematography and unconventional editing makes this movie unique. Billy's resilient persona and Layla's willingness keeps you intrigued. With performances by the characters that you never see coming, this blossoming romance between two complete strangers becomes relatable and captivating.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • It's films like this one - and the astonishingly mixed reviews it's garnered - that remind me how completely subjective this business is. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a film as little as Buffalo 66; I found it a perpetual struggle to watch, and only stayed to the end out of stubbornness, and a hope that there might be some sort of moment of revelation somewhere along the line. Yet I can't really say that this is a BAD film, much as I loathed it: it's well directed, has a terrific cast, Billy's dialogue has a certain compelling, desperate rhythm to it at times, and its grimy, downtrodden locations are extremely well chosen. My dislike of it was, I think, dislike of Vincent Gallo himself in an oddly personal way: here is a protagonist who is not just without a redeeming feature (that I can cope with) but without a single interesting feature, and Gallo seems convinced that he's a full-blown hero of romantic alienation. Perhaps the film is more ironic than I think - but I don't think so, it seems completely self-absorbed and solipsistic, yet the self into which it's absorbed simply isn't one with whom I want to spent five minutes.

    It doesn't surprise me that Gallo originally completed a screenplay for this film a full decade before he made it, because this strikes me as fundamentally adolescent posturing, which is going to be appreciated primarily by young men who are in the adolescent-posturing stage themselves - aged eighteen it's possible I'd have found this a thrilling exercise in self-justification. Now I'm a few years past that (reader, condolences are welcome) I simply found myself infuriated by his self-importance. In particular, the way the film exploits its meaningless, nugatory fantasy woman, Layla, is pretty revolting. I can sort of see why Christina Ricci was tempted to play it, because the sheer absence of a character in the character she was playing is both a challenge and a sort of liberation for an actor, but it's still an absolute dog's breakfast of a role. Ricci herself is always worth watching, and there are flashes of brilliance from her and the rest of the cast. But the mind-numbingly unsubtle, egotistical, banal, clichéd, uninvolving and fundamentally stupid nature of Billy's progress puts this film absolutely beyond redemption for me.
  • I have to say Vincent Gallo played one of the sleaziest low-life guys I have ever seen in a film, at least in the first 30-some minutes. He was in every scene and was so scuzzy and so unappealing, it ruined the story for me. I was interested, too, because this is based in Buffalo, New York, and I live not far from the city. The are numerous references about the Buffalo Bills, too, so I wanted to enjoy that....even if it meant suffering again recalling all those Super Bowl losses, mainly Scott Norwood's missed field goal in their first Super Bowl.

    Listen, I know this is supposed to be a "black comedy," and many times I love that sort of humor, but this was just so sordid it provided more winces and frowns than laughs. I just wanted to take a shower after watching and listening for 45 minutes to Gallo and this sordid story.

    To have a kidnap victim (Christina Ricci, also seems to play a lot of scummy roles in films) fall in love with this scumbag made the story all the more ludicrous. Only in the wonderful world of films do we constantly see good equals bad and vice/versa. This is a nonsensical, pretentious and gratuitously-profane piece of garbage with, as one fellow reviewer puts it in his headline, "no redeeming values":...and another black eye to the poor folks in Buffalo.

    Recommended only for severely disturbed people.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers herein.

    Vincent Gallo's acting doesn't impress: he has a herky-jerky intensity and little else. But as a writer-director, he's so full of intelligent ideas we end up with a project that overflows.

    And that's a good thing in this case. Gallo obviously thinks of himself as beginning a career as one of the greats of film, so has modeled this effort on `Breathless.'

    The basic idea isn't fresh: exploring the notion of fantasy by folding how an on-screen character bends reality with how we do as viewers, viewing the very same thing.

    Here, the dialog is monologue. Here, instead of the direct reference to films, it is to football. Because the notion of self-referential films-about-films has been so well trod, this snaps it back to the original crispness. Huston absorbs that kind of football that goes past obsession to form a complete framework for life. As with the film notion dealt within `Breathless,' it penetrates fate, and colors everything we see.

    Here, the girl is a dancer. Ricci has never exploited her Cupiedoll allure more directly than in this project. I'm thinking of watching `Rollercoaster to Hell' just to get a glimpse of the costume designer. Ricci's makeup and dress is so close to edge it shows real skill.

    In `Breathless' we were treated to a few cinematic devices that underscored the fact that it was a film we were watching. Those seem tepid now, and have to be pointed out as fresh for the time. Gallo has to work with a newer, bolder vocabulary, one in which it is now nearly impossible to exaggerate. But he does succeed with the table at `dinner.' This must have been numerous physical tables. And the bowling alley tap dance is the center of the fantasy. Couldn't help equating it to a very similar bowling alley dance routine by the Coens in `Lebowski' that was identically intended: Truffault-annotation on the sexuality of the target. In that case it was the ever more nuanced Julianne Moore.

    But that was outrageous and silly, and this is gentle, poignant. Similar intentions but the sweetness of this pudgy icon obviously moving to a recorded tap is one that stays -- one that sticks in the mind.

    Another attempt at cinematic self-reference is less successful. At the end Billy `sees' his intended action. Some of this is `bullet-time,' some slow-motion, some freezeframe, some `flashforward' after the manner of previously established flashbacks. Together with Gallo's own music this would have worked better if we hadn't been so coddled in letting us know it was imagined. If `Taxi Driver' could get away with an imagined ending, why not `Buffalo?'

    If Gallo can escape the Woody syndrome and not insist on putting himself and his life on screen, he might turn out to be one of our talented writer/directors. This takes too many shortcuts for us to be sure there is talent here or whether we are watching a singular, well-formed scream therapy. But its a gem. I compare it to `American History X` and `Slingblade' which were wholly actorvisions. This starts with the eye, and has the actor subservient. As it should be.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
  • An absolute waste of time. No character exhibits anything that caused me to have a shred of sympathy nor interest in them. Characters' motivation nonexistent. Terrible sense of pace. Long boring sequences that are supposed to be offbeat. A complete waste of time. Wish Blockbuster issued refunds. This film is in my top ten most hated movies. I never actively hate a movie, but I actively hate this one.
  • I am a non-fan of ex-con movies; I find Dustin Hoffman's critically acclaimed STRAIGHT TIME especially odious, for instance. Accordingly, I was about to stop watching BUFFALO '66 during the first scene. Thankfully, I kept the tape rolling to be ultimately rewarded by one of the best indie films I have ever seen. Vincent Gallo has put together an excellent character study set against the grimy, subfusc background of his home town.

    Christina Ricci deserves the near-unanimous praise she has received for her eminently appealing, understated portrayal of a cooperative kidnaping victim. The spectrum of expressions that chase across her lovely heart-shaped face in the photo booth is especially memorable. This is not to take anything away from Gallo's acting though. His rhythmic, repetitious remonstrations are quite addictive, and I have since found it difficult to keep from imitating his verbal style while dealing with people at work. Ben Gazzara and Angelica Huston are also outstanding as parents in a family so dysfunctional it makes the subjects of AMERICAN BEAUTY look like something out of the Donna Reid Show. A nearly unrecognizable Mickey Rourke shows up in a great cameo as a bookie.

    Fans of local color will also like BUFFALO '66. Gallo has a similar eye for his old stomping grounds that the Coen brothers did for theirs in FARGO, but Gallo's execution is more subtle and at least as rewarding.

    Bottom line: just stick with it through the opening scene, and you'll find gold here.
  • Buffalo '66 is classic just for the sequence where Billy goes to his mom's house (and they only have ONE picture of him). Vincent provides the script, the directing, the music, and the acting alongside a young Christina Ricci (has she ever been in a bad movie?) all at which he is quite good at. The music helps create the dark, lonely feel of the film and Billy's personality. Another thing I love about the movie is how you slowly learn more about the Billy's history through the flashbacks and yet Ricci's character (Layla) remains an enigma. Nice ending too....check it out!
  • The story of Buffalo 66 is one of a man who is released from prison and the plot of the movie stems from the fact that he lied to his parents about this and created a fiction of his life where he has a wife and is a successful business man. The thing I appreciated the most about this movie was the effort behind it. This is a movie where you can tell that thought actually went into it, as well as passion. There is an endeavor to create something original and artful and for that I commend the writer/director/main actor, Vincent Gallo. Christina Ricci also gives a swell performance, even though she does not have a great deal of dialogue. Our main character is an angry loner, which is something that I took immense pleasure in watching because I could relate to him wholly. I enjoyed that when I watched this movie I never felt as if I was wasting my time, which is the worst feeling for me when I watch something that's not good. 7/10 because it was not extraordinary but it was good.
  • This is the story of Billy, played by the writer/director Vincent Gallo, who having just been released from prison, decides he needs a woman to accompany him to visit his parents. He scrambles around the bleak streets of Buffalo looking for somewhere to take a leak, eventually finding a dance class building where, after avoiding a homosexual guy in the men's room, he meets Layla (competently played by Christina Ricci) and abducts her to take to his parents (Ben Gazzera and Anjelica Huston), who turn out to be a tad eccentric and avid Buffalo Bills fans. Billy is also on a mission to kill Scott Wood, a former kicker for the Bills football team, who missed a game-winning field goal (remember Superbowl XXV, only it was Scott Norwood, nice delicate change there) which cost Billy his freedom in a wager with a shady betting shark (brief cameo from Mickey Rourke). Billy then takes us to his local haunts, in the bowling alley where we meet the seldom seen nowadays Jan Michael Vincent in a small role, and also to a diner where he comes across an old college friend, Rosanna Arquette, who reveals some secrets about Billy. This is a strange, offbeat and funny film, the central theme being the redemption of Billy and the relationship between him and Layla, which at first is spiteful, then develops into respect and love. It is an entertaining independent film.
  • Coventry7 November 2004
    Just released after a five-year term in prison as a consequence of gambling felonies, the introvert and emotionally frustrated Billy Brown (Gallo) returns to hometown Buffalo to meet up with his parents and to take vengeance on the person that indirectly caused him to do time. This being a former football player who made Billy loses a 10.000 dollar bet. He kidnaps a young girl named Layla (Ricci) and forces her to pretend she's his wife so that he looks good in his parents' eyes. Buffalo '66 would be a standard, unspectacular social portrait of American suburbia if it weren't for the vision of Gallo and the more than respectable cast. Gallo presents his first independent film as a director like a cruel autobiographic comedy, congested with egocentric characters (except for the cherubic Layla) and a hopelessly depressing tone. The casting in this production is downright excellent. Gallo himself is an obvious 'enfant terrible' but, to me, it was Billy's parents who impressed the most. Anjelica Huston is stunning as the indifferent football fan that prefers watching the game over her new daughter-in-law explaining how she and Billy met. And Ben Gazzara is even more impressive as the father who's still frustrated over his missed musical career. There are terrific supportive roles for Rosanna Arquette, Jan-Michael Vincent and Mickey Rourke (as the corrupt bookmaker).

    Buffalo '66 unquestionably is the best film Vincent Gallo ever was involved in. Normally, he just tries too hard to be controversial but this is real sentiment for a change! This film is simple but honest and it has feeling!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The characters are so much like real people I have seen so often, all the outrageous behavior and insanity. Finding love in the times of moral depravation is a constant theme and it is fairly established that Billy has had a tormented childhood. He has grown up to become a very sentimental and emotional person in spite of his parents being uninterested and disconnected up to the point that the family seems severely dysfunctional. Contributing much to the introvert and overtly acidic nature of Billy. It is quite understandable. As to why Layla(Ricci) seems so jaded and emotionally unaffected, is not explained but it could be due to her bleak and isolated environment. The way she never tries to run away or raise an alarm when she has a chance, even though she is being abducted makes me feel that she somewhat needed to be rescued herself from the boring life she was in. In a way she wanted it to happen or she just started enjoying it. The Camera work is just brilliant, the perspective angles of view while Billy, his parents and Layla are having lunch is something I would forever remember. The memories and flashback are something that makes this movie go forward but in a very distinctive way. A benevolent but pushed down friend(Goon) and that he is always sleeping in his briefs whenever Billy calls him, Houston's performance of Billy's football fanatic mom and his foolish desperate act that landed him in jail at the first place are all hilarious and seem commonplace enough to be convincing. The heart shaped cookie and hot chocolate scene makes the movie almost cute. Ricci is one of my favourite actresses and she is one of those rare actors who can tell it all through their eyes. The movie never fails to satisfy my imagination. At the end the sudden reversal of Billy is just coming of age. There may be a few proponents of an alternate ending where Billy kills wood and himself out of years old hatred. That would have made the movie shocking but it would have had no hope. So the ending couldn't have been better. Vincent Gallo's performance is amazingly erratic and a good study for theatrical purposes. It's all about a man struggling to stay sane in an insane world.
  • Everything in this film is ugly (except Christina Ricci), but it is meant to be like that, so in that sense, there is something to be said about the skillful writing and directing of the film. The acting is also very impressive, at least the majority of it. Vincent Gallo is sickeningly convincing as the ugly, disgusting man portrayed in the film, who is bent on seeking revenge on the man who he blames for his unjust stint in prison. Oddly enough, even though his performance provides a deep feeling of discomfort at times, it was an incredible performance. It is difficult to imagine Gallo as anything other than the kind of person that he played in this movie.

    Christina Ricci was just as beautiful as she alway is in her movies, but even though she was a very relieving character to watch while being bombarded with the misanthropic Billy Brown (Gallo), she also played the most unrealistic and unconvincing part in the film. Let's think about the logic here. A dirty and scruffy man is released from prison, he kidnaps this girl who would be attractive even if she wasn't a movie star, his communication with her is limited to impatient demands and insults intended to harm, and she freakin' falls in love with him. He never said a single nice word to her, with the exception of his forced and slight apology after he is finally able to relieve himself at the beginning of the film. Their entire relationship is so ridiculously unrealistic that it almost overshadows every other thing that the film accomplishes.

    Besides that, some of the scenes were downright boring. A good majority of the scenes that took place when they went to Billy's parents' house comes to mind. The editing was botched with the point of view shots at the dinner table, as well. Buffalo '66 is not a pretty film, but it is meant to be ugly. It would have been a great film had it not been for the unlikely relationship between Layla (Ricci) and Billy Brown, as well as the slightly messed editing and an overly abrupt transformation of Brown's mentality at the end of the film. The message of the film, despite the film's appearance, is actually pretty healthy. It has a lot to say about the pointlessness of revenge, but even that as well as some fascinating camera work in the strip club at the end of the movie are not enough to save this film from cinematic obscurity. This is the type of film that you watch to study different writing and directing styles, you don't watch something like this to enjoy it.
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