Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obscure Movie Of The Week: Sleep With Me (1994)

This is the movie that is mainly remembered for Quentin Tarantino's cameo in which he explains how Top Gun is actually the biggest homosexual movie ever, detailing all of it's homoerotic subtext to Todd Field's character at a party. It's also the first film where Parker Posey shows us her tits.

Sleep with Me is a bizarre love triangle of a movie with a simple premise. Joseph (Eric Stoltz) marries Sarah (Meg Tilly, in what looks like one of her final roles), oblivious to the fact that his best friend Frank (Craig Sheffer) has been in love with her his entire life. And from the beginning, it seems that Sarah's a lot more interest in Frank than she is Joseph. Well, that's because she is.

Joseph and Sarah are too young to get married. Joseph seems to think his engagement is nothing but an excuse to throw a big party. Both are happy with all of the friends in their lives, including Athena (Parker Posey), who seduces Joseph, and Pamela (the late Adrienne Shelly, who steals every scene in the film). But Sarah is really happy to have her true soul mate Frank around. She even privately confesses her feelings to him at her rehearsal dinner, while Joseph is busy trying to find new ways to get smashed out of his mind. In fact, we never see Joseph (Stoltz in perfect form as he always is) show anything resembling loving feelings towards his life. And really how can he with the likes of Parker Posey and Joey Lauren Adams crashing his poker party? Frank comes off as sympathetic, even though he covets his best friend's wife, because it's implied he'd be the better husband.

Six different writers wrote different parts of the movie. Tilly, Smoltz and Sheffer do most of the heavy lifting, but it helps to have Posey and company as strong support. All of the characters seem extremely real. And then we get to the final scene and finally meet a guy named Sid, who you'd never expect to hang out with this group.

Sid would be the film geek played by Tarantino. Even the people who write "Sleep With Me" off remember Tarantino's scene. It's his only scene, and he's there to dissect the homosexual movie that is "Top Gun." Yes, his monologue has become the stuff of legend, but Tarantino paid a big price for it. Turns out the "Gay Top Gun" scene was written by QT's old friend and writing partner Roger Avary. No matter what story you choose to believe, Avary did actually co-write "Pulp Fiction" with Quentin, and was even on stage with him at the 1995 Oscars to accept his Best Original Screenplay award (where, in a moment that was funny and also a jab at awards favorite Forrest Gump, Avary told the world he really had to go pee). Roger Avary intended to use the "Top Gun" monologue in one of his own movies. Tarantino barked it out in "Sleep With Me" without Avary's permission or even knowledge. Stoltz, who around the same time starred in Avary's Killing Zoe, told Roger about the incident before the film was released. So began the fall out between the two writers, which is a shame because Tarantino and Avary seem to work better together than they do alone.

"Sleep With Me" also marks the final theatrical release of Meg Tilly's career, which is a shame because she's miles ahead of her crazy sister Jennifer in terms of talent. While we're saddled with Jennifer ruining movies, Meg has officially retired from acting. This may not be the equivalent of Ted Williams homering in his final at bat. More like John Kruk getting a base hit in his last trip to the plate, only to retire a few years too early. At least she can still go to sleep nights with the knowledge that she isn't JENNIFER Tilly.

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