Cast: Raymond Turturro, Ashleigh Holeman, Duane Whitaker, Joe Estevez and Toby Radloff.
Directed by: Andrew Campbell and Lucas Campbell
Scores: Technical:85 , Story:95 , Acting:90 , Overall Score: 90
I always get super excited when I hear the Campbell brothers have put out a new movie. You want independent film at its finest? They’ll give it to you. Notorious for working with a low/no budget, the Campbell brothers really show you how far the dollar goes and provide you with some righteous entertainment.
Cordoba Nights, the latest film from the brothers, follows Finn (Raymond Turturro), a pizza delivery guy, on his route one night in the city of Bronston. All seems to be going according to plan until he meets Allie (Ashleigh Holeman), a sweet tart who’s sitting outside his first delivery’s apartment smoking. She makes friendly conversation and eventually asks him for a ride which, in turn, becomes one hell of a ride. As it turns out, Allie has a mobster thug boyfriend, Darren (Chuck Cieslik), who sends his chronies Shit-eye (Andrew Mercer) and Old Dad (Paul Bender) to bring Allie back to him. During the chase, the delivery duo comes across stoner surfers, car thieves, crazy kids and the head boss of the mob himself, Sal (Joe Estevez). Together, Finn and Allie have one crazy night in Finn’s Cordoba.
TESSA’S TWO CENTS
Now, you have to realize how much I really love these guys’ work. Not only are they from my alma mater, Kent State University, but they’re really great filmmakers. In the past, they’ve done a handful of horror flicks (Midnight Skater, Demon Summer and The Red Skulls), so at first I was skeptical when I heard the new movie wasn’t in the same vein. However, I want pleasantly surprised. In fact, I think this is their best movie to date.
Instead of going the normal route of indie films these days and making some crapshoot about love and pain and so on, this film is literally about having a crazy night delivering pizzas. There’s no horrible father-son relationship or a crazy sex scene, it’s just full-on fun and action…but GOOD fun and action. The film is broken up into different parts based on the person/group’s pizza order, which just adds to the already creative storyline.
Now this is where I start cooing. The movie was shot on film. I am a total sucker for that and dammit, they won my heart again. It’s beautiful, hands down. The grain is perfect for the tone they were going for: it gives the film a real vintage feel in the vein of 70s and 80s B-movies. It even sounds like old B-movies (all of their films do) but it really works with Cordoba Nights. The shots are really creative as well and in the featurette on the DVD you find out they shot a lot of it lying on the hood of the car. The big fight scene towards the end of the movie is shot from the point-of-view of the car’s hood ornament, which made my nerdy ass grin from ear-to-ear.
The special effects, done by Ricky Lee Leonard (who also plays a role in the film), are great. Between the bloody faces and the gouged eyeball, there was just enough blood to make it insanely realistic. The guy really knows what he’s doing. Plus, that fish tank scene is priceless.
Music also plays a huge part in the film, focusing a lot on Finn’s portable record player that he keeps in his car (which I totally want). It’s also mentioned that Finn used to play in a band called The Killer Dudes. The actual music in the film definitely has a rockabilly/Elvis-esque ring to it which adds a nice touch to the overall tone of the film. And in true Campbell brothers fashion, music from Kill the Hippies, a great Ohio band, makes an appearance.
Of course, this movie would be harder to love if it wasn’t for the actors in it. The leading man, Raymond Turturro, gave an excellent performance. His character was intended to be awkward and by Job he made ME feel awkward. I loved it. As the film progresses, he lightens up and starts to hit trashcans with his car while smoking a bunch of cigarettes, which we all know is a sure sign of awesomeness. I was totally floored to see Martin Sheen’s brother, Joe Estevez (who looks almost exactly like Martin), playing the mob boss. Much like Clint Howard, the brother of Ron Howard, Joe Estevez has created quite a reputation for himself in various cult films. He’s truly amazing and it tickled me to see him in this movie. Speaking of cult icons, Duane Whitaker, who has been in various movies such as Pulp Fiction, The Devil’s Rejects and Feast, makes a fantastic appearance as Finn’s boss, Mickey. What better way to assure your movie has cult status than to have huge cult icons co-star in it?
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
It’s very old skool. No Mr. Moviefone here.
Super interesting stuff here. There’s cast interviews with Raymond Turturro, Joe Estevez and Duane Whitaker along with a little “Making of” action. Turturro’s audition tape’s in there as well and it’s sort of amusing. It also talks up the Campbell boys, Andy and Luke.
One scene is a left out delivery featuring a lot of great artwork. The other is a deleted scene with two stoners rowing to shore to pick up their pizza at the beach.
IN THE END…
I love the shit out of this movie. As much as I love their other stuff, Cordoba Nights was just incredible. I really, really, really hope they make more movies like this because they really know what they’re doing.
To buy Cordoba Nights, click here to visit the Campbell brothers’ website. You can watch their other movies, Midnight Skater, Demon Summer and The Red Skulls on Netflix’s instant watch…but you should really just buy those ones too.
By Tessa Petrocco