Taking place in an imaginary slum that could be on the outskirts of any east coast metropolis (pic was actually shot in New York), Tom DiCillo's gently ironic fantasy focuses on a dreamy young man who rejects reality and, after a pair of suede shoes is literally dropped on his head, adopts the name Johnny Suede and sets out to be a pop star, using the late Ricky Nelson as his model.

Taking place in an imaginary slum that could be on the outskirts of any east coast metropolis (pic was actually shot in New York), Tom DiCillo’s gently ironic fantasy focuses on a dreamy young man who rejects reality and, after a pair of suede shoes is literally dropped on his head, adopts the name Johnny Suede and sets out to be a pop star, using the late Ricky Nelson as his model.

Johnny starts a tentative affair with pretty young Alison Moir, who lives nearby with an older, abusive photographer. His dream fades once she decides she prefers rough treatment. On the rebound, he reluctantly picks up a tutor of retarded children (Catherine Keener), and under her guidance he starts on the journey that will land him with both feet on the ground.

One-time cameraman (Stranger Than Paradise, Variety), DiCillo exploits pastel colors to advantage in order to flesh out Johnny’s fantasy world. Brad Pitt, fresh from stealing scenes in Thelma & Louise, gives Johnny the right kind of innocent appeal, and the rest of the cast surround him with loving care.

Johnny Suede

Production

Vega. Director Tom DiCillo; Producer Yoram Mandel, Ruth Waldburger; Screenplay Tom DiCillo; Camera Joe DeSalvo; Editor Geraldine Peroni; Music Jim Farmer, Link Wray; Art Director Patricia Woodbridge

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Brad Pitt Calvin Levels Alison Moir Catherine Keener Tina Louise Nick Cave
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