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The Search for One-Eyed Jimmy

As scripter and helmer, Kass reaffirms the belief that young filmmakers should avoid at all costs making movies about movies -- unless they have a new angle or fresh story to tell. Set in Brooklyn, tale centers on Les (Holt McCallany), a young director right out of film school who returns to his old neighborhood to make a documentary. In the process, he discovers that the community is painfully obsessed with the mysterious disappearance of Jimmy (Sam Rockwell), son of Holly and Harold Hoyt (Anne Meara and Pat McNamara) and brother of Ed (Buscemi) and Tommy (Wayne Maugans).

With:
Junior ... Nick Turturro Ed Hoyt ... Steve Buscemi Joe Head ... Michael Baldalucco Lefty ... Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini Les ... Holt McCallany Holly Hoyt ... Anne Meara Disco Bean ... John Turturro Col. Ron ... Samuel N. Jackson One-Eyed Jimmy ... Sam Rockwell Tommy Hoyt ... Wayne Maugans Harold Hoyt ... Pat McNamara

As scripter and helmer, Kass reaffirms the belief that young filmmakers should avoid at all costs making movies about movies — unless they have a new angle or fresh story to tell. Set in Brooklyn, tale centers on Les (Holt McCallany), a young director right out of film school who returns to his old neighborhood to make a documentary. In the process, he discovers that the community is painfully obsessed with the mysterious disappearance of Jimmy (Sam Rockwell), son of Holly and Harold Hoyt (Anne Meara and Pat McNamara) and brother of Ed (Buscemi) and Tommy (Wayne Maugans).

TX: TX:A Northern Arts release in association with Cabin Fever Entertainment. Produced by Lisa Bruce, Robert Nickson. TX:Directed, written by Sam Henry Kass. New info changes the focus of Les’ film to madcap comedy, driven by wild goose chases and colorful, wacky characters. But what unfolds onscreen is a tedious comedy, consisting of encounters with inept representatives of the FBI, the Catholic Church and the mob, as well as various individuals who are eccentric without being truly funny. John Turturro plays a 1970s disco king who now dances solo in the local schoolyard, his real-life brother Nick Turturro portrays a sharp-tongued car thief who betrays his best friends, Jackson is a deranged Vietnam vet who engages in profane monologues while fishing sneakers out of the river, and so on.

Revelations of the circumstances under which Jimmy vanished — and earlier had lost his eye — are neither witty nor diverting enough to be entertaining, and pic’s cynical ending a la “The Player” rings false. Kass has aspired to make a fast-moving slapstick comedy, but his dialoge and direction are so pedestrian that, with the possible exception of Buscemi, no member of his talented ensemble registers strongly; some, like Meara, McNamara and Jennifer Beals, are totally wasted.

Tech credits, particularly Robert Nickson and Chuck Levey’s lensing and Mark Juergens’ editing, are on the raw side in what seems an extremely low-budget effort.

The Search for One-Eyed Jimmy

Production: The Search for One-Eyed Jimmy (Comedy -- Color)

Crew: Camera (color), Robert Nickson, Chuck Levey; editor, Mark Juergens; music editor, James Flatto; production design, Ray Recht; art direction, Mario R. Ventenilla; costume design, Joan Fedyszyn; sound, Rob Taz; assistant director, Richard Rosser; casting, Marcia Shulman. Reviewed at the Aidikoff screening room, Beverly Hills, June 10, 1996. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 82 min.

With: Junior ... Nick Turturro Ed Hoyt ... Steve Buscemi Joe Head ... Michael Baldalucco Lefty ... Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini Les ... Holt McCallany Holly Hoyt ... Anne Meara Disco Bean ... John Turturro Col. Ron ... Samuel N. Jackson One-Eyed Jimmy ... Sam Rockwell Tommy Hoyt ... Wayne Maugans Harold Hoyt ... Pat McNamaraWith: Jennifer Beals, Tony Sirico, Aida Turturro, Joe Siravo, Adam Lefevre. The real mystery in "The Search for One-Eyed Jimmy," Sam Henry Kass' disappointing feature debut, is not the missing son of the title, but the appearance of terrifically gifted actors Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro and Steve Buscemi, among others, in such a flat comedy. This puzzle is partly resolved in the end credits, which reveal that pic was shot in 1993, before some of these actors established themselves as icons of indie cinema. Friends and fans of the high-spirited cast may keep this lugubrious movie in the theaters for a week or so; after that, it's straight to video.

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