Rubin and Ed

Rubin and Ed

D: Trent Harris (1991); with Crispin Glover, Howard Hesseman, Karen Black

It's odd that writer/director Trent Harris has maintained a low profile since making this film. This early-Nineties nugget was somewhat ahead of its time in terms of eccentricity and style. It's a buddy movie of sorts about two guys who head off to the desert to bury a dead cat. The cat's owner is Rubin (Glover). He listens to Moeller records and marches around in platform shoes. The buddy is actually an oily salesman named Ed (Hesseman). He's recruiting people to attend seminars on the Power of Positive Real Estate. He can't land a customer to save his life, but Rubin might be the sucker he needs. The catch is, if Ed helps Rubin bury his departed cat, Rubin will attend the seminar. The two hit the road in search of a burial site and embark on a number of misadventures, which include a wrecked car, pursuit by the police, and hallucinations. There's no rocket science behind the screenplay, but the unlikely team of Glover and Hesseman (who's quite impressive as the loud, suit-wearing, toupeed sales lout) are very funny. Each character can't seem to let go of the past. For Rubin, it's his dead, frozen kitty. For Ed, it's his abusive ex-wife Rula (Black). Glover does his usual stuttering yet explosive weirdo performance (fine for this role), but Hesseman's desperation, helplessness, and tacky duds are far more endearing. Stylistically, the whole thing reeks of Tim Burton with its crazed wardrobe, weird music, and psychedelic fantasy sequences. But there's no superheros or fairy tales to be found here. Just an awkward tale of two guys looking for a new future, be it by divorce or a feline's funeral.

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