Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincent Gallo|
|Produced by||Chris Hanley (credit only)|
|Story by||Vincent Gallo|
|Music by||Vincent Gallo|
|Edited by||Curtiss Clayton|
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Films|
|Box office||$2.4 million|
Buffalo '66 is a 1998 crime comedy-drama film written and directed by Vincent Gallo, starring Gallo, Christina Ricci, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette, Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Huston. The plot revolves around Billy Brown (Gallo), a man who kidnaps a young tapdancer (Ricci) and forces her to pretend to be his wife to impress his parents (Gazzara and Huston) after he gets released from prison.
The title refers to the Buffalo Bills American football team, who had not won a championship since the 1965 American Football League Championship Game (which was actually played on December 28, 1965, four days before 1966 began). The plot involves indirect references to the Bills' narrow loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV, which was decided by a missed field goal.
Having just served five years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Billy Brown is forced to meet with his parents, who were unaware about him being in prison. He kidnaps Layla, a tap dancer, and forces her to pretend to be his wife to his parents.
When they meet with Billy's parents, Layla sees that the relationship between them is very dysfunctional, and sees Billy's own mother forgetting he has a chocolate allergy and his father miming along to a song after claiming he used to be a singer. She finds out that Billy's mother has never missed a Buffalo game, except for in 1966, on the day which Billy was born.
After visiting his parents, Billy scolds Layla for telling an obvious lie to his father about him working with the CIA and decides to go bowling. Here Billy shows off his expertise at the sport, and Layla gives a bizarre tap dance routine to King Crimson's 'Moonchild'. The two use a photo booth but Billy becomes annoyed when Layla seems to enjoy making silly faces during the photos, in contrast to Billy's straight face.
After bowling, Billy and Layla visit a diner, where Billy encounters Wendy, a girl he used to have a crush on back in his school days. Earlier he had asked Layla to pretend to be Wendy to his parents, who is now happily in a relationship with another man. This annoys Billy leading to him and Layla checking into a motel, where Billy and Layla have a deep conversation, and eventually admit that they have fallen in love with each other, and they both go to sleep.
It's revealed that Billy was in prison because he was unable to pay the money that he had placed a bet on Buffalo winning the Super Bowl, and now he seeks revenge on the man who lost the game. In the morning, he begins to leave to exact his revenge when Layla awakens. Despite Layla's doubts that he'll return and proclamation of her love for him, he leaves, lying to her that he'll return in a few minutes with hot chocolate for her.
Shortly after leaving Layla at the motel, Billy finds the man responsible, Scott Wood (a reference to a former Buffalo Bills kicker, Scott Norwood, who missed the potential game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants in 1991.), and enters the topless bar he's at. Once inside, he walks over to Wood's table and shoots him in the head, before shooting himself. His parents are then shown sitting by his grave with his mother showing more interest in a Bills game than her own son's death. However, this is all shown to be inside of Billy's mind, as he decides to not kill Wood, realizing he's finally found a person who truly loves him. The film ends with Billy elatedly buying Layla her hot chocolate and a heart-shaped cookie, and buying another for a man sitting nearby who tells him he has a wife that he loves very much, before returning to Layla at the motel.
- Vincent Gallo as Billy Brown
- John Sansone as young Billy Brown
- Christina Ricci as Layla
- Anjelica Huston as Jan Brown
- Ben Gazzara as Jimmy Brown
- Kevin Corrigan as Goon/Rocky
- Mickey Rourke as The Bookie
- Rosanna Arquette as Wendy Balsam
- Jan-Michael Vincent as Sonny
- Kevin Pollak and Alex Karras as TV sportcasters
- John Rummel as Don Shanks
- Bob Wahl as Scott Wood
- Penny Wolfgang as The Judge
- Carl Marchi as Cafe Owner
- Michael Maciejewski as Guy in Bathroom
Gallo had difficulties working with his cast and crew, and reportedly did not get along with Ricci on set. Gallo called Ricci, whom he did not mention in the film's credits, a "puppet" who did what she was told. Ricci vowed to never work with Gallo again. She also resented comments Gallo made about her weight three or four years after filming. Anjelica Huston also had issues with Gallo, and Gallo claimed Huston caused the film to be turned down by the Cannes Film Festival. After Gallo fired original cinematographer Dick Pope, director Stéphane Sednaoui suggested Lance Acord, who was widely credited with the film's distinct visual style, though Gallo has claimed credit for designing most of the film's cinematography. Gallo also publicly disparaged Acord, saying "This guy had no ideas, no conceptual ideas, no aesthetic point of view." Kevin Corrigan chose to opt out of the credits because he did not want to be associated with the film at the time.
Gallo was unable to use real NFL logos or to refer to the team as the "Buffalo Bills", just "Buffalo" or "the Bills", as NFL Properties was uncooperative. Kicker Scott Norwood was invited to participate in the film but declined, meaning Gallo had to change the character's name to Scott Wood.
Most of the film's score was composed and performed by Gallo himself, however, it also makes use of several other songs, including "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)" by Nelson Riddle, "Moonchild" by King Crimson, "I Remember When" by Stan Getz, and "Heart of the Sunrise" and "Sweetness" by Yes.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 76% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 59 reviews with an average rating of 7.15/10. The critical consensus reads, "Self-indulgent yet intriguing, Buffalo '66 marks an auspicious feature debut for writer-director-star Vincent Gallo while showcasing a terrific performance from Christina Ricci". At Metacritic it has a rating score of 68/100 based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". In Time Out New York, Andrew Johnston noted: "Ricci and Huston give poignant depth to characters that could have been cartoons, and Gallo makes Billy both annoying and sympathetic with seeming effortlessness. But the film's most potent ingredient is its visual style. The film's washed-out colors and the flashbacks that explode from Billy's head like comic-book thought balloons make Buffalo feel less like a movie than a dream given form."
In popular culture
- Dialogue from the film is sampled in reverse during the song "I'm Getting Closer" on M83 by the band M83.
- Smith, Andrew (2001-09-29). "Buffalo boy". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-31.
- Buffalo '66 at Box Office Mojo
- "50 Greatest Independent Films From Empire". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Buffalo '66 (trailer)
- "It's Super Bowl loser borwood's unlucky number. Here's why...", Gary Imlach, The Guardian, January 7, 2007.
- Tiffany Lee-Youngren (2005-01-18). "Truth or consequences". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- "Ricci's Traumatic Gallo Memories". Contactmusic.com. 2004-07-13. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- Dave Calhoun. "Christina Ricci interview". Time Out. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- "Gallo's Humor: FFC Interviews Vincent Gallo". Film Freak Central. 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "Workshopping History: Mike Leigh on Mr. Turner". The Public. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
- "Capone Takes A Shot In The Mouth From THE BROWN BUNNY'S Vincent Gallo!! - Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- "article". GreenCine. Archived from the original on 2014-04-17. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
- Rabin, Nathan (Feb 2, 2010). "Kevin Corrigan". The A.V. Club.
- "From the Vaults: Vincent Gallo on Buffalo and Buffalo 66". The Public. 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
- "Buffalo '66 (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- "Buffalo '66 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- Johnston, Andrew (June 25, 1998). "Buffalo '66". Time Out New York: 84.
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