*** Review of “Falling Down” (1993)

by GooberCranky

ONCE…in a sweltering West Coast world.. ONE MAN.. stuck in traffic…with a tie and a pocket protector.. flipped his flattop lid and took it all back. COMING IN SUMMER 1993… MICHAEL DOUGLAS IS…ROBO-DILBERT!  

  We really liked this movie when we were younger and more knuckleheaded. When it came up as an instant watch on Netflix, we looked forward to seeing it again, but much of our enthusiasm waned as we realized how simple-minded it looks now. We must have been some kind of xenophobic jerks in 1993.

There are still a lot of funny lines in it, and it feels like it wants to say something important about society, but it mostly boils down to a series of populist and often wrong-headed complaints. Foreigners, Neo-Nazis, gang-bangers, inflation, you name it. Even golfers send Douglas into a tizzy. Truth is, this movie doesn’t really KNOW what it’s mad about. Often the audience is invited to identify with Douglas as some kind of folk hero – his rant in a fast food joint is both identifiable and very funny – but at other times it panders to the audiences baser anxieties. Those scenes are reactionary, if not outright racist, and are played with the same fist-pumping tone. We’re sure the filmmakers would bristle at that charge, Douglas’ character is eventually revealed to have a troubling past which let`s them off the hook, we suppose, but “Falling Down” has at least a little twinge of fascism to it.

We’re giving it three stars because Michael Douglas’ line readings are often hilarious – it’s a crackerjack performance, played perfectly deadpan, and the movie is not cookie cutter – but we’ll chalk it up as a guilty pleasure. Quite guilty, actually. We don’t think a person should like this movie TOO much.

(This movie is currently an Instant Watch on Netflix.)

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