As a longtime fan of Bertrand Blier‘s Going Places (Les Valseuses), I’ve been hoping that someone would attempt an American remake. A tricky task, for sure, as the 1974 original, a French road flick about random lawlessness and impulsive debauchery, had a curiously disarming chemistry. As it turns out John Turturro has directed a Going Places remake with the same title, and one that has the “same spirit” as the Blier filmm at least according to an Indiewire interview that Turturro gave earlier this year.
Turturro’s Going Places costars himself, Bobby Cannavale and Audrey Tatou as “sexually depraved misfits,” according to the Indiewire description. The interesting part is that Turturro’s character is Jesus Quintana, the perverse, purple-suited bowling enthusiast from The Big Lebowski (’98).
“Blier’s [film] is like a sex comedy about how stupid men are, basically,” Turturro said. “His movie was more edgy, but this is [about] a different time. Audrey Tautou is more empowered. [Plus] it’s more sexual, and you find out that Jesus was framed as a pedophile.” Susan Sarandon plays a woman just released from prison, or the part that the late Jeanne Moreau played in the original. Sonia Braga also costars.
Can I say something? You have to be younger and fresh-faced and full of beans and hormones to play a sexually depraved misfit. Gerard Depardieu and Patrick Deware were 25 and 26, respectively, when they made the original French-language version. Turturro will always own “the Jesus,” but he was born in February 1957. Cannavale is 47, and Tatou, born in ’76, is no spring chicken either.
But I want to see Turturro’s Going Places anyway.
From “Going Places Forever,” posted on 9.22.11:
Bertrand Blier‘s Going Places (’74) is one of the most curiously seductive films ever made about loutish, anarchic swagger. Gerard Depardieu and the late Patrick Dewaere are a pair of easygoing counter-culture brutes who fall into a series of sloppy impulsive adventures, and yet never act in what you’d call an especially harsh or cruel manner. They’re dopey animals in a sense, and in another a couple of social adventurers looking to see what they can get away with.
Let’s steal this or fuck that…anything we want. We’re young and brash and can always get it up, etc. What else matters? We’re bulletproof. What does her underwear smell like? Aaahh…she’s very young!
They steal scooters or cars or food or money, and are constantly on the hunt for poon. They’re careless cads and improvisational jerkoffs, kicking around to kick around and see where whim takes them. And yet they’re boyishly innocent on some level, and are nowhere near smart or mean or ambitious enough to become serious criminals. They’re just playing it by ear. They love sex and chasing after women, but they don’t have the first clue what women are really about or what they want. And, being boobs, everything these guys get into either backfires or turns out unexpectedly or delivers some kind or fake-out surprise.
The film itself is like Depardieu and Dewaere, ambling along without seeming to have any particular plan, and in so doing it gradually charms you into taking their side or least not wanting to see them get caught. It gives you an idea of what a hooligan high can feel like, to break the law and laugh and not give a damn. It’s quite a trick. I don’t think any American film about small-time bad guys has ever managed the same kind of mood or chemistry.