U Turn, Review
1997, ***, Suspense
There are some real "characters" in "U Turn"-from a grungy, slowed-down, but conniving Billy Bob Thornton ("Pushing Tin," "Bad Santa") as a mechanic (he always plays goofy roles anyway), to Jon Voight ("Pearl Harbor," "Midnight Cowboy") as a "blind" homeless war veteran.
Then you've got Nick Nolte ("Hulk," "48 Hours,") as a seedy real estate agent and incestuous wacko with his daughter, Jennifer Lopez, as messed up hot tamale. "You never know what you're gonna get" in Superior, AZ.
Bobby Cooper (Sean Penn) is a greasy, disheveled, lowlife mobster who is in dire need of a change of clothes, due to the sweat seeping through his suit. He is on his way to Vegas in his classic mustang and a bag full of cash to pay a large debt to a mob boss. Then he has car trouble and finds himself near "no mans land"-Superior, AZ on a scorcher of a summer day.
All he wants to do is make this payment and get on with his apparently pathetic life. But it's never that easy. It's a bad detour for Bobby Cooper.
This film is unique, entertaining, maybe even "cult film" material. You'll shake your head at the end of the movie and say, "unbelievable." It's a ridiculously whacked-out, left field movie, but I think you will enjoy it. You just have to keep watching it. It is an enticing film. After this one you will find out your life isn't so bad after all.
It provides at least a few good lessons for the viewer: (1), never get involved with the dregs of society (unless you already are one) including mobsters; (2), keep your car in good repair when you're driving through the desert, and (3), don't go to Superior, AZ.
"U Turn," as noted, has some great actors in it. Everyone has either a great or very interesting role and you will enjoy seeing them do their craft. If anything, you'll watch it out of sheer curiosity to see how things progress and who does what. It is a B-grade movie, but definitely worthy of a first viewing if you missed it in 1997.
When Joaquin Phoenix makes his entrance in the film, he is decked out in his country gear, hairdo and all, and a Cash tune is playing in the background. A strange coincidence-since he plays Johnny Cash in 20th Century Fox's "Walk the Line" (2005).
Director Oliver Stone ("Alexander," "JFK") is "gonna wow ya" with this one.