Out of limits
Starring Michael Anthony Hall, Jenny Wright, Jeff Kober, Glynn Turman
Directed by Richard Tuggle
Written by Tony Kayden
Teen movie is Hollywood’s black hole. It swallows up rising actors and directors alike. It draws the young and old beyond its inescapable event horizon, always hungry for fresh blood. The death toll is staggering.
Think of Francis Ford Coppola. After planning such irrefutable classics as The conversation, Apocalypse now, and the Godfather sagas, boldly tackled the teen genre with The outsiders – and with the same courage fell face down. Standing back on his own two feet, he summarily brushed the dust off his pants and proceeded to stumble Rumbling fish (also know as The godson). Although his second trip to the world of teenage angst was a dangerously moody piece with moments of heartbreaking beauty, it lacked the consistent genius of his earlier works.
But where Coppola, for the most part, has survived his fall from grace, lesser mortals have been far less fortunate.
Think of Richard Tuggle. After appearing out of nowhere to write the script for Clint Eastwood Escape from Alcatraz – his first film, mind you – he quickly moved on to writing and directing Tightrope, one of the best Eastwood movies.
Word is spreading through Hollywood faster than desert brush fire, and word spread: Richard Tuggle is hot.
But “hot” is a relative term. In an industry where the financial statements are long and the memories short, you are as hot as your last movie. After Out of limits, Richard Tuggle is as horny as a political prisoner in a Siberian gulag.
Your problems start with the choice of material. After writing his first two feature films himself, he works here from a script by Tony Kayden, a veteran writer of TV Movie of the Week with credits like Runaway family and Ambush Kills. The story concerns a redneck from the Midwest (Anthony Michael Hall of Sixteen candles and The breakfast club) who arrives in the big city (Los Angeles) and ends up on the run after being accused of a crime he did not commit (the murder of his brother). It’s packed with legacy plots and stupid dialogue meant to convince us that Hall really is a Midwestern hick and his co-star Jenny Wright (Fire of San Telmo) is truly an urban punk rocker.
Not having written this nonsense himself, Tuggle fights on foreign soil. Steering is loose at all times, like it doesn’t care less.
The ending of the movie is downright sloppy. One sequence is particularly incongruous: After spending most of the film tracking Hall on suspicion of murder, Police Lieutenant Delgado (Glynn Turman) takes a sudden turn by claiming that Hall is now “out there alone” and needs his help. . But it’s not until the next scene that Delgado gets the evidence proving Hall’s innocence.
Looks like someone fell asleep in the editing room.
Out of limits It is a neglected cinema at its worst. Watching Tuggle fall into the teen movie miasma, after showing great promise with Tightrope – not a pleasant experience.
Although Hollywood film directors are not known for their asceticism (there is no San Francisco de Azusa), one certainly wishes Tuggle had striven for art and left his pocketbook behind. You can pay the bills with this one, no doubt, but you forget to pay attention, to your audience or your craft.
Bottom line: if you’re in the mood for smart entertainment, Out of limits is out of the question.