The Fix

The reviews are in for Vince Gallo's notorious "The Brown Bunny"; Mike Wallace accepts TLC apology for handcuffing; and Maureen Dowd's huge book advance, revealed.

By Salon Staff
Published August 27, 2004 9:26AM (EDT)

Turn On:
Synchronized swimming at the Olympics (8 p.m. ET, NBC)? Possibly reason enough to stay home on a Friday night. And get out your puka-shell necklaces and Day-Glo lunchboxes, VH1 offers the special "When the Partridge Family Ruled the World," featuring commentary on the show's heyday by David Cassidy, Shirley Jones and Danny Bonaduce.

Morning Briefing:

Bunny's big day: The reviews are rolling in for Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny," which hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles today. Gallo -- the film's writer, director, producer, editor, director of photography and star -- has trimmed nearly half an hour from the film since audiences and critics in Cannes loudly derided it, but that real oral sex scene with Chloë Sevigny is still intact. And? While Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News gives the film only one star and says, " It is not the worst movie ever made, as some critics claim, but it does a passing imitation," and adds that "If Sevigny really wanted to do [Gallo's character] a kindness, she would have washed his hair," many of the other reviews were surprisingly positive. "Neither an atrocity nor a revelation, 'The Brown Bunny' is a very watchable, often beautiful-looking attempt by Mr. Gallo to reproduce the kind of loosely structured mood pieces that found American and select foreign-language cinemas of the 1960's and 70's often at their most adventurous," opines Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. The New York Post labels the film a "hare raiser" (har-har), but its reviewer V.A. Musetto says, "The graphic scene serves an artistic purpose, just as the film's other 90 or so minutes do ... there's a method to Gallo's seeming madness" and calls Gallo "talented ... an angry young man with a future." And though many critics did find Gallo's evident narcissism somewhat irksome, J. Hoberman, writing in the Village Voice, praised Gallo's honesty: "'The Brown Bunny' is not simply an exercise. It's genuinely elemental, embarrassingly sincere. You can't accuse Gallo of pandering to anyone but himself. Not just a one-man band, he is his own entourage -- and likely to remain so. And that anguished solipsism seems to be, at least in part, the movie's subject."

Justice for Mike: The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission has announced that it has dropped its battle with Mike Wallace after the 86-year-old newsman got into a scuffle on the Upper East Side with two of its inspectors a few weeks ago. The agency's top official, TLC commissioner Matthew Daus, called Wallace personally to tell him that its inspectors were out of line when they handcuffed him during a shouting match over his double-parked limo. "I'm grateful for Commissioner Daus, for a thorough investigation and the decision at which they arrived," Wallace told the press. "He couldn't have been nicer." (N.Y. Daily News)

Also: Maureen Dowd's advance for her new book "Bushworld: Enter at Your Own Risk," already No. 4 on the New York TImes nonfiction bestseller list? $675,000 (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry, concerned about ethics, called to personally cancel their RSVPs to the MTV Video Music Awards parties in Miami this weekend when they found out that celebrity attendees would be given freebies like massages, watches and designer clothes (Page Six).

-- Amy Reiter

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