The mid-century setting, the pop songs, the rain that falls as steam rises at a noodle stand in Huwei: we’ve seen this before, but it’s possible to talk about the segment’s failures without comparing them to Wong Kar-wai.
Van Sant’s first hit was Drugstore Cowboy. It is a movie about drug culture, about Portland and the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s, and about the reliable marketability of pretty young actors playing outlaws.
The video store cult section buried John Carpenter. His hour-and-a-half revelations were always modest, and he got the movie he wanted every time. No talk of director’s cuts, no commentary except about paid bills.