Let’s Get Excited For: KILLER JOE

Every summer I get overly excited for the summer blockbusters and mark up my calendar with the hope that I will go see every single one. Like any kid on Christmas, I won’t get everything I want, but I tend to make a significant dent. So far, this summer has seen some pretty original features; not that talking toys and strippers haven’t been done before (hello Striptease and Toy Story) but the topics were completely re-tooled for brand new audiences. We’ve also had our more traditional releases such as hot girls blowing stuff up (Battleship), a Disney flick (Brave), and Wes Anderson even popped up (Moonrise Kingdom). It’s been a good summer so far and promises to continue to be but nothing has quite captured my imagination like William Friedkin’s Killer Joe.
The basic plot line is this: Chris Smith (Hirsch) owes a lot of money to the kind of people you don’t want to owe money to. He decides he’s going to put a hit out on his nasty mother and collect her insurance policy. The hit man? A detective by the name of Killer Joe Cooper (McConaughey). Things appear to go south, however, when Smith can’t pay Joe’s retainer and Joe suggests he “take” Smith’s sister Dottie, played by Juno Temple.
To start, the cast is absolutely impeccable. It combines a palette of stars from all walks of life and movies. I have always disliked Matthew McConaughey and I long ago not only chalked him up to be a horrible rom-com actor (Fool’s Gold, anyone?), but also a baby oil-covered sleaze. I stored him away in my Do Not Disturb section and never thought I’d be dusting him off. Well, it turns out that Mr. Matthew is suddenly making some interesting choices when it comes to his roles and is actually embracing his squat-thrusting, bare-chested, Southern persona and I couldn’t be any more excited. I always enjoy these turns in an actor’s career and I suddenly find myself a fan and nervous to see where this new leap of faith takes him. I guess I am the kind of woman who appreciates risk taking.
That brings us to the rest of the cast. Emile Hirsch?! Where has he been since Milk? According to IMDB he was in something called The Darkest Hour but I am just going to go ahead and pretend that didn’t happen and maintain that this is his first movie in four years. A gritty film like this suits him much better (think: Into the Wild) than say, an alien flick set in Moscow (no joke). I have admittedly only seen Juno Temple in Year One and I doubt being Michael Cera’s love interest offered her much reach as an actor, but I think she is just absolutely beautiful. And as the apple of Killer Joe’s eye, I think she is perfect. On top of that we have Thomas Haden Church who always drives me absolutely up a wall– in the best way of course. It may be a combination of the fact that he reminds me of Ernest and the fact that I haven’t been able to fully disconnect him from his character in Sideways.
While I love everything about the casting, the rumors about this thing also have me chomping at the bit to see it. I’ve been told I’ll never want to eat fried chicken again. Of course, that means I’ve spent the last two months conjuring up my own sick things to do with fried chicken. I want to believe I am not alone in this and that everyone else anticipating this movie is doing the same thing.  Part of my desire to see this movie also stems from my need to know how sick I am in comparison. I am hoping afterwards I can put myself in the category “not that sick.” No one wants to be sicker than an NC-17 picture.
Oh yeah, did I mention its rating? NC-17. My eyes have already been pretty violated by McConaughey’s bent over scene in Magic Mike and that was an only an R. Damn, that must be some crazy fried chicken. This will be my first NC-17 in theaters and that’s a big marker for me at 24 years old. I want to enter and leave the theatre feeling slightly dirty and getting sidelong glances. I realize this is a weird goal in life, but so be it.
Dark, twisted, with a daring cast, Friedkin at the helm and a dangerous rating; this is not your average summer flick. Except, of course, for the fried chicken.
Amanda Kusek writes for Pop Focal, ReAlto (gorealto.com), and her own site amandakusek.com. She pays the bills with a job as an assistant and lives in New York City. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z told her once that if she could make it here she could make it anywhere...she's working on this.

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