Arizona Dream (1993)
November 28, 2022 1:53 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Axel (Johnny Depp) gets caught up into the family car business when his cousin, Paul (Vincent Gallo), coaxes him to come to Arizona to attend the wedding of their Uncle Leo (Jerry Lewis). As Axel makes the decision to try selling Cadillacs with his family, he meets an eccentric woman named Elaine (Faye Dunaway) and her equally quirky stepdaughter, Grace (Lili Taylor). Their lives become inextricably intertwined through romance, dreams -- and death.

Also starring Paulina Porizkova, Michael J. Pollard.

Directed and co-written by Emir Kusturica. The soundtrack is by Goran Bregović, with vocals by Iggy Pop on four tracks, including the single In the Death Car. In the film, apart from the music from the soundtrack, there are also three songs by Django Reinhardt.

In popular culture

The original edit, titled American Dreams was reportedly roughly four hours long. The film was but trimmed down to 2 hours 22, minutes for theatrical release and retitled Arizona Dream. Some of the cut scenes are included as bonus material on the Universal Pictures France worldwide Blu-ray. Filming took a year due to the Kusturica suffering a nervous breakdown during filming. There are resulting continuity issues with Johnny Depp's hair length as a result. Although filmed in 1991 and released throughout Europe in 1993, the film was not theatrically released in the U.S. until 1994.

87% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Kanopy. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.

Today, I'm going to post six movies that are problematic and/or made by/starring problematic people, but also either: have merit/are acclaimed; won some awards; are very popular; have a certain amount of cultural cachet. I'll be tagging these #problematicmovies.

The film is weird and indulgent, inscrutable and inspired. It also stars Johnny Depp.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total)
Goran Bregović and Emir Kusturica easily top my list of Artists MeFi Would Be Obsessed with If Anyone Here Knew Who They Were.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:17 PM on November 28, 2022 [1 favorite]

Kusturica is pretty problematic himself - a longtime Putin booster who cheered the annexation of Crimea and whose points of view on Ukraine seem to echo the Russian 'denazification' myth.
posted by remembrancer at 2:58 PM on November 28, 2022

He's a mess, yeah. He is a gifted filmmaker, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:02 PM on November 28, 2022

Vincent Gallo is also on my list of dudes I paid attention to in my early 20s who repulse me now.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:54 AM on November 29, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wow - thank you for reminding me about this movie. I vaguely recall reading Ebert's review of it about 20 years ago, and I was intrigued - Jerry Lewis? Faye Dunaway? Johnny Depp? Paulina Porizkova?


So I just watched the trailer, and...well, "surreal" and "bizarre" seem to be appropriate descriptions. I look forward to actually watching it now.
posted by davidmsc at 9:41 AM on November 29, 2022

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