Sleep with Me (1994)
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After several viewings on DVD (I wish I had seen it in the theater), I realized that many details, at first insignificant, contribute to its impact. The film begins broadly, simply and beautifully -- Stolz, Tilly, and Scheffer are on the highway coming home from a road trip. The open western landscape is practically a metaphor for their friendship. However, the film slowly narrows in, and as the love triangle develops,the view gets less broad. A beautifully conceived and shot example of this is the poolside party scene that begins as a B&W camcorder viewfinder "point of view", then cuts to full color at a particular point of introspection. It sent chills up my spine.
The visual details in the location designs and cinematography are rich and revealing, and seem more considered and professional than one finds in most low budget independent films. However, this strong consistency in production values neither spotlights nor hides the writing dissimilarities.
I strongly recommend this film.
If you're looking for a solidly brilliant film on relationships, this is probably not what you need (try Manhattan or Annie Hall). But if you're in mood for the following qualifications in a rainy day rental, check it out: 1. A typically scene-stealing turn from Parker Posey. 2. The presence of attractive male leads Eric Stoltz and Craig Scheffer. 3. A storyline involving a sensitive male in love with his best friend's girlfriend. 4. An extremely amusing cameo and monologue from Quentin Tarantino.
It's fun, it's light and there are moments of truly clever writing. You may take a few valuable one-liners away from the experience.
Stoltz, Tilly, and Sheffer are excellent, as well as the strong cast of supporting actors. Adrienne Shelly is hilarious (and right on) in a small role as a party guest.
Two scenes in particular are brilliant: Parker Posey and Joey Lauren Adams invade the traditional all-guy poker game, and the final scene, which combines comedy, slapstick, and serious conflict and self-reflection.
If there is one script weakness, it is that the catalyst for the affair between Sheffer and Tilly is never successfully explained.
It's just a bit too real. Personally, I'm all about films that allow me to escape the grit and drama of daily life. I prefer movies about space marines battling acid-bleeding aliens. I even enjoy movies about an ordinary life or ordinary person confronted with an outrageous set of circumstances along the lines of Shallow Hal, The Family Man or Click. If I wanted to watch this kind of drama, I'd just set up a lawn chair in the front yard and watch the goings-on in my own neighborhood. If you're looking for escapism, then this movie isn't it. If you want a slice of life as portrayed by an extraordinary cast, then this is the film for you. Again, the cast is terrific. Their performances are so believable that I could be convinced that there was no script, no rehearsal and they weren't even aware that there were cameras present. It seemed more real than most 'reality shows'. It's just not for me. I go to the movies to see what I CAN'T see day to day.
A well written film, with sharp acidic dialogue that studies the relationships between friends and lovers, and the lines that we cross. Eric Stoltz and Craig Sheffer are the main players here, and are well supported, by a cast of friends and family, that have real conversations about real issues like Love, Friendship,Commitment and Betrayal. The script is better than most big budget films and the funniest lines are delivered with excellent comic timing. Meg Tilly is very well cast, and gives a strong performance. Todd Field and Thomas Gibson turn in good work in supporting roles, and an excellent cameo by Quentin Tarantino is one of the many pleasant surprises in this film. Sleep With Me, is well worth watching, an underrated film by my account, I give it three stars out of a possible four.***.
The movie is also painful because it shows how weak and pathetic we are. We love hiding our failures, choosing our comfort instead of facing the root of our problems. We like the numbness, the created explanations for our bad relationships, we comfort ourself with the fact that all of our friends are in the same shoes.
Another plus is of the directing is the really refreshing, original conversations. Intelligent writing with very good sense of humor and perfect acting -this is a rarely seen combination.
I would recommend this movie to everyone who is fed up with fake, romantic choices of many directors, who are hungry for artistic reality and ready to take a heavy message.
Written by about six different writers, each doing a different section. It all plays like the opposite of Friends. The group of friends are less polished and in some respects seem more realistic, however in other scenes their activities seem very far fetched and outlandish to be real. However at the end of the day the central strand of the story around Joe, Sarah and Frank is good and interesting. The only problem with this strand is that more time is spent watching Joe and Sarah experience problems rather than falling in love - this makes their relationship hard to support or believe in. Whereas in contrast Frank's longing for Sarah is shown to be developing and it makes it easier to support this.
The film's main weakness is that the supporting characters are little more than fonts for witty banter and never convince as real people. Stoltz is actually quite good, however Sheffer is allowed more audience sympathy and comes off better. Tilly is excellent (and is very beautiful) she brings the torn wife to life. Of the rest of the cast there are plenty of indie faces, but the real stealer is Tarantino in a short cameo as a party guest talking animatedly about Top Gun's homoerotic sub text.
Overall it is very rough around the edges and at times feels a little bitty, however it is refreshingly free of mushy sentiment and is quite funny.
In my opinion this really is modern movie making at it's best. Watching films like this I feel like I'm seeing Man Bites Dog again for the first time. Like in one sequence, similar to another sequence in the movie Boogie Nights, there's a scene which lasts for many minutes and which is shot in only a few shots through the eye of an old black and white camcorder made the hairs on my arm stand up in awe. This is a key scene in the movie and I wont spoil it for you but if you've ever had a relationship and been in these sort of awkward social situations before then you will feel the pain of these characters and be totally in the movie the whole time you see it from beginning to end. Or like another scene where they are all at a very formal and "boring" party and Frank shows up and it all blows up in everyone's face. This, I think, was my favorite scene in the movie because of what happens in it, how it happens and what happens because of it.
There is of course also the Quentin Tarantino cameo which didn't escape my eye either. The movie is worth seeing just for that but the whole film still meant so much more to me than that.
I'll wrap this up now with a few things I wanna say about the whole set up of these people's lives. Some are in the movie writing business and some are in the landscaping business but what I found deeply interesting was that we never actually see them at work. It's all just worked into the dialogue of the film which I really liked because that is not the conventional way. Usually you'll have a few scenes of them at work to establish this but in stead this movie focuses completely and utterly on the characters... And what a wonderful set of characters they were.
i hope more film makers take note of this film and emulate its style!!
The first act can be quite a bore to most people, but I warmed up to the characters, mainly because the acting looked extremely natural. The succeeding scenes slowly became hilarious and effective particularly due to the sharp dialog. The film exhibits vignettes of typical social situations with untypical wit; no earth-shattering conflicts nor out-of- this-world what-if's. It's life, but a bit more amusing.
If you like Slacker, Kicking and Screaming, Before Sunrise, and Funny Ha Ha, you'll like Sleep with Me.
Also, Tarantino's Top Gun speech he stole from Roger Avary. Roger Avary wrote it for a script for a different movie and Tarantino used it without asking permission for his role in Sleep with Me.
I don't have anything more to say but the rules require 10 lines of text so I can go on to say that I found the movie to be fairly pointless with immature humor, and nothing really to communicate on any level.
So it seems to have received a much higher rating that it deserves due to the fanboys of Tarantino giving high ratings just because Tarantino is in it.
The film is about a man who is in love with the wife of his best friend. The story unfolds through real-to-life scenes and dialog which gradually reveal more and more about the characters and their motivations. The plot meanders but never strays; we never feel lost. The film feels like real life and it is full of fun and memorable scenes and conversations which feel totally real to the point that you almost feel as if you are there in the room observing, rather than merely watching a film.
The scenes are cut together with intertitles—similar to many old silent films—and it's done a charming way that I didn't feel was at all tacky or distracting. Perhaps their use was an afterthought by the filmmakers as a way to jump from one scene to the next, but it never feels as if we're being cheated out of anything. That's actually something that I wish was done more frequently, but it seems like films these days like to use other methods to transition between scenes instead. It's probably just as well, because the intertitles here made Sleep with Me feel more unique and original and helped me really get into each scene and enjoy the film.
One of my favorite parts of the film is a brief appearance by Quentin Tarantino in what I consider to be his finest acting role. His performance here has often been called a cameo, but it lasts for several minutes and includes at least a few dozen lines of hilarious yet totally believable dialog, although the character is not essential to the plot of the film. While I love Tarantino as a director, I'm not normally a big fan of his acting work, but in this role he nailed it. Although brief, it's a part he was born to play.
However, two of the things that I loved the most about this film were also the main things that I felt detracted from it overall and kept me from giving it a higher score. Those two things were the acting and the dialog. Although both of these aspects were typically great throughout the film and made it enjoyable, there were several instances in which they failed. Several pieces of dialog—including the very last lines of the film—felt wildly out of place and several bits of acting felt like they should have been scrapped or redone.
I got the feeling that this movie was put together quickly and that very few takes were done for certain scenes, so perhaps that is why the acting and dialog were not always spot-on. Perhaps this was for budgetary reasons or perhaps the director felt the scenes we more spontaneous that way. Or perhaps the reason for these shortcomings was that the film had six different writers who, from my understanding, each worked independently to a degree to write their own individual scenes. In any case, these flaws don't ruin the film. It's not a perfect film, but none are, and this one is definitely worth watching.
Stoltz and Scheffer have been friends for quite some time and it is only recently that they've experienced a bit of tension because one likes the others girlfriend. This is a good film that possesses smart insight into dating, friendship and other relationships. Each character has their faults and their positive attributes but I have to admit that by the end of the film I did not like Tilley's character. Maybe that is the way you are supposed to feel, I'm not sure, but she wasn't even sure how she was feeling and maybe that is one of the reasons the film is as good as it is. Because it is honest. But you know what? I'm going to finish off this short critique of the film by saying that it is good. You would enjoy this film even if Quentin wasn't in it, but my gosh, when he enters the picture at the end at the little get together, all hysterics breaks loose.
Quentin plays Sid, and he ends up striking a conversation with one of the party goers and in his short time he manages to completely attack the film Top Gun by saying that it was a movie about homosexuals. And he does it in a way that isn't meant to offensive towards homosexuals. It's just that in his opinion, the film was more about that than it was about fighter pilots trying to save the world and get the girl. Now if this sounds confusing and bazaare, fine, but trust me and many other reviews ( including the likes of Roger Ebert ) when we say that his monologue will have your stomach hurting with laughter. He is a manic obsessed guy in this film that tells this poor unsuspecting guy something that he nor us ever thought we could possibly hear. Think about all the testosterone that was Top Gun and you will start to inderstand why it has so much potential for humour. This part of the film makes it worth the rental itself. That is not to say the rest of the movie can't stand on it's own, it's just that this added element makes it more worth your time. Sleep With Me is a film that you should give a chance, I think you will be quite pleased. And Quentin...... well you'll just have to see it for yourself. " You can ride my wing anytime! No! YOU CAN RIDE MINE!!!!" This is hilarious stuff.