Southland Tales Synopsis
Los Angeles, 2008;
The city stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. SOUTHLAND TALES is an epic story set over the course of three days that culminate in a massive 4th of July celebration.
A large ensemble cast of characters includes Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson), an action star stricken with amnesia, Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an adult film star developing her own reality television project, and Roland Taverner (Seann William Scott), a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy.
Southland Tales worries me, and it’s not because the few who saw an early print seemed to hate it. I’m worried because of Donnie Darko. No, not the good version that ended up in theaters. I’m talking about the modified directors cut, which Richard Kelly wasted a bunch of money on and re-released after his nearly perfect film had already become a massive cult hit.
Here’s why that worries me: Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko Director’s Cut made his movie worse. It didn’t ruin it, Donnie Darko is too good a film for some flashy, unnecessary effects to destroy it. But it lessened it, and it lessened it because, frankly it seemed as if Richard Kelly had no idea what it was about his movie that made it so good. His Directors Cut made him seem clueless, and that makes me wonder whether Donnie Darko was so good because he’s an amazing talent or if maybe, just maybe, the film was nothing but a fluke.
Kelly has a chance to prove he’s more than just a happy accident with his second film Southland Tales, but most of the news out of the production hasn’t been good. It’s been nothing but delays, recuts, reshoots, and in some cases utter panic. Kelly and the cast put on a happy face whenever they’re asked about it, but Southland Tales may well be a tremendous mess.
The thing is, Donnie Darko is so genius that any concerns anyone might have don’t change the fact that this is one of the real must see movies of the year… assuming of course it actually gets released. Darko is just that kind of movie. The irony is that when Donnie showed up in theaters, no one bought a ticket to see it. Now Southland Tales is coming and the seats will be filled with fans… even if, unlike Darko, it doesn’t deserve it.