A list of best films-you-didn’t see from the seventies and eighties could not be complete without a host of John Cassavetes films: THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE (1976 – given thumbs down on release, lauded as a classic now), and LOVE STREAMS (1984) are just two overlooked gems. Likewise, the only reason you can make for anybody not seeing MIKEY AND NICKY (Cassavetes starred, but didn’t write/direct) is that nobody heard of it.I assume you have one of two reasons for reading this review. Either (a) you love the film and are looking for like-minded opinion; or (b) you stumbled upon it accidentally, in which case I shall put it as simple as possible: you gotta see it.Mikey (John Cassavetes) sits in a shoebox hotel room, a price now on his head, scared stiff. In desperation he calls his gangster childhood pal Nicky (Peter Falk) to help him get out of town.A synopsis doesn’t cover the density of the film. Two fragile male egos rebound off each other as the leads recall just why they lov…
Viewers familiar with John Cassavetes' directing style will see his influence in this film, but Elaine May wrote and directed it. It is an engaging, highly unusual drama about two childhood pals mixed up with the mob. Don't expect Martin Scorsese or Francis Coppola glitz here—this movie is different. There is a real, uncinematic edge to it. It almost plays like a documentary, or a "reality movie." And the actors–Falk and Cassevetes were good friends and frequently worked together–allow for unique male-bonding (and a dissection of the male sex) that rarely occurs in modern film (another characteristic of a Cassavetes-directed film). Women are basically throwaway characters in many of his films, and that is the case here. This movie will either be an endurance test for audiences, or a fascinating experience. It was the latter for me.
Elaine May and Cassavetes together. What a piece of work. It's rough, it's deep. These goes beyond experimenting with genre. This a human piece on two friends and their selfishness, their bond. When Cassavetes goes to his mother's grave, in the dark, and yells: Mum, where the f*** are you? (because he can not find her grave) – he laughs. Falk is apologizing to the dead, but can not give a straight answer to his friend. So what's sacred? And John, off course – he laughs. Nuff said. Cassavetes knew more about life than all the dead combine together. Brilliant. It's just like one of films made by Cassavetes himself. I even heard that much of the creative input (credited by May) is by the master himself.