It's not a popular opinion, but one of my favorite Oliver Stone movies is U-Turn, his little-seen 1997 crime picture starring Sean Penn that begins with a classic "man-walks-into-a-small-town" scenario before spinning off into some pretty bizarre territory. While it's not as consistent -- or even as coherent -- a film as Stone's best work (a list that, for me, includes Platoon, Wall Street and Nixon) what I enjoy about the movie is the lack of pretension and self-seriousness that often dooms his more "respectable" (i.e. awards-baiting) efforts. Based on a book by author and screenwriter John Ridley, U-Turn is an enjoyably sleazy and sultry thriller packed with great actors (Billy Bob Thornton, Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe and Jennifer Lopez back when she actually seemed interested in playing a character and not J.Lo) and told with a showman's visual brio. One can see the reflection of U-Turn in Stone's latest movie Savages and that connection may be why this was the best time I've had at an Oliver Stone joint since Al Pacino ranted and raved his way through Any Given Sunday, one of the all-time great guilty pleasure pictures.
Meet the real housewives of Drug Cartel County.