Rubin and Ed

RUBIN AND ED (1991)

D: Trent Harris; with Crispin Glover, Karen Black, Howard Hesseman, Michael Green, Brittney Lewis. You may have a hard time tracking down Rubin and Ed. Calls to several local video stores revealed that the video for the Trent Harris-directed movie had been lost or stolen -- the consensus being most likely stolen. Perhaps the reason for this phenomenon is that Crispin Glover's performance as Rubin Farr -- an autistic, four-eyed, hairstyling victim with a near-lethal pair of platform shoes -- is considered to be the essential Glover performance by hard-core Glover aficionados. Yet, however much the film is centered on Glover, it manages to work as a mechanism for the expansion of his unique talents instead of contracting them into a one-man shtick. As a result, Rubin and Ed functions as a quest story, a road movie, a buddy film, and a study in abnormal psychology all rolled into one. Rubin, traumatized over the death of his cat (which he keeps in a refrigerator), spends his days alone in his room squeaking a toy mouse in synch with a Mahler symphony. Ed (Hesseman) is a ne'er-do-well involved with a motivational cult called the Power of Positive Real Estate who mindlessly listens to a tape recording of the cult mantra: "I am a powerful real estate professional moving higher and higher on the path to success." Rubin bamboozles Ed into accompanying him on a desert trek in order to find the metaphysically right place to bury his dead cat. Along the way we are shown how much these two men are out of touch with the female gender, in spite of how much they yearn for their presence. In Rubin's case, it is in the form of a swimsuit model from a watery part of his unconscious who also functions as an angel watching over him. In Ed's case, it's his ex-wife, the seemingly ageless Karen Black, who has dumped him for not bringing home enough bacon. Rubin and Ed end up on top of a desert mountain (the film bulges with symbolism) where they each discover something important about themselves before heading back to civilization. If you are up to making the search for this hard-to-find gem, it will be well worth your effort.

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