Saints and Sinners

Kids was a world of sexual nihilism in the skateboard Sodom of a Christian Coalition nightmare, the Los Olvidados of the libido, as well as a visceral AIDS allegory. Clark's follow-up, Another Day in Paradise, is a lot more conventional and a lot less shocking—even if its particular milieu is closer to Clark's own notoriously drug-dependent past. A pair of veteran thieves, Mel (James Woods) and Sid (Melanie Griffith), team up with a couple of delinquent kids, Bobbie (Vincent Kartheiser) and Rose (Natasha Gregson Wagner), for a giddy ride toward oblivion.

Another Day in Paradise presents itself as a corrective of sorts to Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy, a movie Clark feels—with good reason—to have been inspired by, if not ripped off from, his photographs. Clark may know this world better than Van Sant but he lacks the filmmaking chops to reclaim it. Another Day is slackly directed and badly acted. Nor does Clark show any particular flair for mayhem. Despite a well-orchestrated deal gone wrong, the ensuing carnage is too clumsily staged and awkwardly contrived to carry any emotional weight. Barely enlivened by the presence of bluesman Clarence Carter or Lou Diamond Phillips's cameo as the meanest queen in East L.A., Another Day lurches in and out of credibility, slouching from contrived situations of horror to fake revelations of synthetic soul.

Uneasy rider: Nadine Nortier in Mouchette
Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art
Uneasy rider: Nadine Nortier in Mouchette

Details

'Robert Bresson'
At the Museum of Modern Art
January 22 through February 7

Another Day in Paradise
Directed by Larry Clark
Written by Scott Shiffman and Christopher Landon from the novel by Eddie Little
A Trimark release
Opens January 22

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Four actors, four movies. The typically wired Woods is acting solo. Kartheiser manages to survive a lot of punishment and still look minty fresh. The only thing more embarrassing than Melanie Griffith's blowzy mother-hen is stoned kewpie doll Wagner's valley-girl whine of junkie need. Kids asked to be read as a cautionary movie about AIDS. Another Day in Paradise illustrates a lesser social problem—the danger that, for a photographer, everything is a pose.

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