Johnny Suede (1991)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 14, 1992 (USA)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Began as a one-man show by writer/director Tom Di Cillo, Johnny Suede is a charming stylized fable of an innocent would-be rock star, played convincingly by Brad Pitt. The fact that Di Cillo would later base the arrogant idiot leading man Chad Palomino in Living in Oblivion on this experience with Pitt makes Johnny's deadpan naïveté that more funny. With no talent and a pompadour hairstyle of cartoon proportions, Johnny prefers to linger in the illusion of the '50s teen idol rather than join the bleak modern world. As the cinematographer for Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise, Di Cillo similarly captures a desolate landscape in a seemingly barren city with empty streets and crumbling architecture. Attempting to help out the hapless Johnny is Freak Storm (played humorously by Australian rocker Nick Cave) and the rooted-in-reality Yvonne (Catherine Keener). Johnny's rock star dreams rise and fall as he steps into some surreal moments that could take the story in an interesting direction, but never quite do. Particularly annoying are the scenes in which it is obvious that Brad Pitt and his short-lived band are not actually playing their instruments. On the whole, Johnny Suede succeeds as an entertaining deconstruction of the myth of the macho teen idol by revealing a moron in holey underwear who knows nothing about sex, appropriately played by Brad Pitt at a point in his career prior to his own idol status.