[Film Review] Thursday (1998)

Thursday poster

Title: Thursday
Year: 1998
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Action, Comedy
Director/Writer: Skip Woods
Music: Luna
Cinematography: Denis Lenoir
Thomas Jane
Aaron Eckhart
Paulina Porizkova
James Le Gros
Paula Marshall
Michael Jester
Mickey Rourke
Glenn Plummer
Gary Jourdan
Rating: 6.1/10

Thursday 1998

Before succumbing to a regular studio hack in cranking out scripts for standard action fares, Skip Woods dabbles in the director chair with his indie debut THURSDAY, and to this day, he has never directed again.

Woods has no compunction to be politically incorrect with the gloves off right in the opening sequences, an Indian supermarket cashier and a black cop are merciless gunned down by a trio of baddies, Nick (Eckhart), Dallas (Porizkova, a towering Czech-born model-turned-actress) and Billy Hill (Le Gros, would soon wallow in his sadistic perversity), yet the joke is bluntly on the inflexible supermarket policy, which spells Woods’ intention to tear down the social norm in this blood-spattered action-comedy.

Casey (Jane, in his blond prime) is a man who adheres to the norm, he is an architect who has a beautiful but patronizing wife Christine (Marshall) and they are planning to adopt a child to consummate a nuclear family. Only his concealed past will soon catch up with him which completely wrong-foots his endeavor to keep up his urbanite appearances, all on an ordinary Thursday in his own house.

After Christine conveniently leaves out of the picture in the early morning, she has to catch a plane for a meeting, Nick comes to visit, and the plot unravels that Casey used to be a drug dealer in L.A. and Nick is his partner (flashy flashback would ensue), it is a heartily sincere reunion but Nick also has his own plan, organizes a grand double-cross deal which inevitably lures a concatenation of insidious characters popping up on Casey’s doorstep, including a rapper-wannabe-pusher (Plummer), Dallas, Billy Hill, and a corrupt cop (Rourke), save Dr. Jarvis (Jeter), a representative of the adoption agency, who is the only visitor has the luck of leaving unscathed at the end of that day.

The typical male-gazing and misogynous tropes permeates a big chunk of Woods’ genre swank, with occasional violence to accent his pulp taste. A jaw-dropping set piece prompts Dallas, seductively rapes an unwilling but duct-taped Casey, it is such an overly gratifying conception germinating from a heterosexual man’s wishful-thinking fantasy, a model-figured beauty (who, by the way, is multi-orgasmic) forces herself on a man who loathes her but cannot resist being aroused, a case of body-over-mind complex, which unfortunately pinpoints straight man’s intuitive oscillation between objectifying woman for their sex appeal only and a latent aversion to the incomprehensible second sex, and Woods’ execution cannot help but leaving a bitter taste in viewers’ minds.

The two female characters Dallas and Christine is deadly pigeonholed in their one-noted caricature, what Woods contends to present is a true bromance between Nick and Casey, in a period where the said word hasn’t been associated with homoerotic undertone, it unexpectedly brings round the largely unsavory tonality, and the story swerves to a different lane when Nick bequeaths all his stolen fortune to Casey with his last breath, that fraternal love becomes rather weirdly touching, only at that belated stage, it would eventually seem quite incongruous with an awkwardly slapdash finale hurrying an ever-improbable diegesis to its finish line, supposedly a happy ending for Casey while a clean slate eventually comes as his reward, that betrays lame film-making and storytelling. THURSDAY has steadily established its cult reputation since its inception, in a time where PULP FICTION (1994) has set in motion of the pulpy aesthetics to the fore. Nevertheless, there must be a reason why Skip Woods stops making movie afterward, the fluke of inspiration runs dry quickly, and we will never know what happens to Casey after that life-changing Thursday.

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