In a 1.21.14 Sundance Film Festival review, I confessed to bailing on Jim Mickle‘s Cold in July and that much of my inability to stay with it was due to a hair-styling decision by Mickle and his star, Michael C. Hall. “The part I saw felt like a Jim Thompson melodrama mixed with the kind of low-rent VOD film that throws in a totally unexpected third-act plot twist because viewers won’t expect it. I’d read the reviews, I knew what was coming…later. But the main issue (and I’m not saying this just to sound eccentric or obstinate) is Mickle’s decision to have his lead actor, Michael C. Hall, wear a mullet.
“My heart sank when I saw it. A brick wall. I tried to get past it but I couldn’t. I should have just walked out when I saw the damn thing but I stupidly hung in there.
“Cold in July is set in rural Texas in 1989, and I realize that low-rent guys who lived in backwaters were still wearing mullets back then but I don’t care — I really can’t roll with a lead character who wears one. And Mickle knows there are thousands (perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands) who feel the same way. He’s not stupid– he knows that mullets are just as much of a blocking mechanism as having a lead character with (excuse the vulgar imagery) phlegm running out of his nose. Something like this stops the movie in its tracks.
“Imagine if Humphrey Bogart had a gross runny nose all through The Maltese Falcon — do you think that might have affected its popularity to some degree? Same thing with Hall’s mullet, and Mickle knows this. I have no patience with directors who pull this shit, and so I quit. I’m sorry but stuff like this kills me.”