Archive for October 2, 1991

The Dark Backward

October 2, 1991

A seriously weird, seriously cool surreal black comedy from director Adam Rifkin, who sadly never really followed up on its promise. Judd Nelson is Marty Malt, a nerdy, greasy, miserably bad stand-up comic who grows a lump on his back. The lump turns into an arm. Bill Paxton, in one of his patented gonzo performances, is Marty’s buddy Gus, who eats rancid garbage and likes to lick nude corpses. Lara Flynn Boyle is Marty’s sweetheart Rosarita (“What’s a podiatrist?”). James Caan is great as Dr. Scurvy, who tells Marty to ignore the arm (“I’m tired of wimps like you comin’ in here all the time, complaining about contusions or hands growing out your back”). Wayne Newton adds to his repertoire of sleazy roles as talent agent Jackie Chrome. Disfigured by a fake nose and glued-back ears, Rob Lowe puts in a flamboyant cameo as Hollywood shark Dirk Delta. It’s essentially a John Waters movie, only more deadpan and without Waters’ mitigating affection. It’s one of those films you might catch late at night and not quite believe you’re seeing what you’re seeing.