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Excess Baggage

Emily is excess or not?

After all, this is my favourite film. At least, it’s sure that the film includes certain beautiful scenes. This is very 90s in a good or a bad sense. This "Easy-going" makes me choose "However" or "Let it go" in every moment. Just forget the logic and enjoy the atmosphere. Alicia Silverstone and Benicio Del Toro, they are definitely gorgeous.

Excess Baggage (1997) Marco Brambilla

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  • Director: Marco Brambilla
  • Story: Max D. Adams
  • Producers
    Bill Borden
    Casey Grant
    Carolyn Kessler
    Alicia Silverstone
  • Cinematography: Jean-Yves Escoffier
  • Music: John Lurie
  • Starring
    Alicia Silverstone … Emily
    Benicio Del Toro … Vincent
    Christopher Walken … Ray
  • Co-starring
    Jack Thompson … Alexander
    Harry Connick Jr. … Greg
    Nicholas Turturro … Stick
    Michael Bowen … Gus
  • Production: First Kiss
  • Date: 29 August 1997
  • Time: 98 mins
  • Japanese version
    エクセス・バゲッジ
    Sonny Pictures Entertainment 1999年04月02日 DVD

However or Let it go

Alicia Silverstone in Batman & Robin (1997)Alicia Silverstone in Batman & Robin (1997) – Cite: Pinterest

Enough people can remember the last scene. Emily and Vincent are in the car trunk. It’s a refrain of the beginning of the story. Emily was once alone, now is with her boyfriend. They close the trunk, then the closing credits start rolling. It’s cliched but certainly romantic.

Do you know what’s the best way to make a dream come true? It’s to wake up.

An impressive sentence of Vincent. On certain points, this film is definitely beautiful. This is my favourite film though I almost agree with the reception. It’s more to enjoy the atmosphere than the story. Taking it serious, I must choose "However" or "Let it go" in every moment.

The script is obviously a mess. A girl falls in love with her car thief. This is fundamentally impossible. However, the main audience was the 90s teenager. They might care more fantasy than reality. For such a teenage dream, 21 years old Alicia Silverstone and 30 years old Benicio Del Toro are probably an ideal couple in refer to Nikita.

From a conservative adult’s point of view, Emily is just 18 years old, she looks even younger due to her baby face. Vincent looks his age. Their age-gap relationship smells a little bit vicious. This is my first "However" against a good aspect of this film.

Coincidence

Emily has the similar characteristics with Barbara in Batman & Robin. Both are the rebellious coming-of-age girl from a wealthy family. Barbara knows Judo. Emily has a black belt in Karate. Barbara’s Judo was demonstrated effectively in the film. In contrast, Emily’s Karate doesn’t work at all. This director is taking the piss out of the martial arts.

Batman & Robin has everything that we expect. It’s slightly focusing to Alicia Silverstone’s hip at the first appearance of Barbara and the wearing of Batsuit. We must see Batman & Robin’s hip first while they are wearing Batsuit. These close-up shots could be the rationalization for Batgirl. On the other hand, Excess Baggage is prudish throughout.

Italian aspect

Traffic (2000) Steven Soderbergh
Traffic (2000) Steven Soderbergh

I don’t know if it’s due to an Italian origin director, but the film has some similarities in regards to Cinema Italiano. The car chase at the beginning reminds me of a Poliziesco. Especially, the appearance of Benicio Del Toro evokes Tomas Milian in the 70s such as in Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare. That’s to say, he definitely impressed me.

In fact, I didn’t know anything about him. I saw him for the first time in this film. Then, I purchased soon the DVD of Traffic. Unfortunately, this film is not released in Blu-ray format in Japan.

Christopher Walken is playing a character like a Bounty killer in Spaghetti Western. There was a curious scene. The location is maybe Britannia Beach in Canada. Three wild guys who looks like the truck drivers are eating in a coffee shop. Ray says "Look at this place, this is really a slice of Americana.".

Easy-going

Marco Brambilla is an installation artist. He is not especially a film director. Apparently, this is the essential problem. He seems to be interested in rather creating beautiful pictures than making a film. So, many easy-goings in the story.

Any problems in Emily’s life were not solved. She is still not in good relation with her father. Her boyfriend will be in jail soon or later. Her happiness is temporary, but the film ends up without the clear conclusion. It’s nevertheless irresponsible to the audience.

This film includes certain problematic descriptions. The worst is to drink alcohol. Emily is 18 years old, but she drinks. Vincent drinks before the driving. It can happen in real. However, the majority of people are considering the serious effects of the drink-driving. This fact is more realistic and I hope so.

Plot point

The film is promoting some fresh musicians of the time. One Headlight by The Wallflowers is impressive. The song comes at 61 minutes past. Here is the plot point. The scene where Emily steals a truck and runs away with Vincent. Vincent is a car thief, Emily is his victim. Now, the situation was somewhat reversed. Their sensitive relationship turns into positive since here. This driving scene is one of the great moments of this film. The filming location is probably Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.

At the same time, we see the irresponsibility of this film the most here. "Bad to be good" is a cheap attitude, but the scene is romantically achieved. That’ll badly influence especially to the teenager. Vincent is like a delinquent in a Poliziesco. He knows that he is wrong, but he can’t change his life. He is perhaps implying a slice of immigrant life. Emily demonstrated her sympathy to him by the worst way.

Songs in the film

The most of tunes are unidentifiable, seem like the legacy of mass production. However, and that’s why it creates the nostalgic scenery of the 90s daily life. I don’t know whether it’s fresh or boring to the younger age.

Song Artist Album
Crash into Me The Matthews Band Crash
Stop By Rahsaan Patterson Rahsaan Patterson
All Mixed Up Red House Painters Songs for a Blue Guitar
Old Devil Moon Carmen McRae Carmen McRae
(We were) Made for Each Other Bekka & Billy Bekka & Billy
Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd Second Helping
One Headlight The Wallflowers Bringing Down the Horse
Happiness Abra Moore Strangest Places
Earth Vs. Me Powerman 5000 Mega!! Kung Fu Radio

Japanese version DVD

Excess Baggage (1997) Japanese version DVD
Excess Baggage (1997) Japanese version DVD

The quality of the picture and sound is great. The best feature of this DVD is, we can select English subtitles. It’s very useful to me for learning the expressions. Alexander’s dialogs related to his company were very difficult to me. Sometimes, I couldn’t recognize what Vincent said due to his unique way of speaking. English subtitles helped me.

Japanese subtitles are almost useless. The translator often cuts the important words and changes the meaning of sentence. I never want such translator’s adapted story. Japanese must see this film in English only. By the way, Japanese subtitles of Batman & Robin are even worse.

There are two Japanese versions. One is in the CD size case released in 1999 that I own. Another is the reissue version in the regular DVD case released in 2016. I think that the contents will be exactly same. Unfortunately, there is no remastered version.

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