13 Moons is another dud from indie director Alexandre Rockwell (he was the one director in Four Rooms who you'd never even heard of; his 1992 film In the Soup remains his sole worthwhile credit). Rockwell is probably better known for his ex-wife (Jennifer Beals, to whom he was married from 1986 to 1996) than for his directing. Perhaps the most curious thing about Moons is that he got Beals to cameo in it six years after their divorce and still found time to romance his leading lady, Karyn Parsons (Hilary on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Parsons and Rockwell married in 2003.
I dredge up all this backstory about Rockwell because I have so little to say about his latest movie. It's another one of those Night on Earth experiences, following a group of unrelated stories through a single night in Los Angeles, all loosely held together by the bail bondsman (David Proval) who encounters them all. There's the just-fired Bananas the Clown (Steve Buscemi in the most pathetic role of his career), a crazed wig-wearing Peter Stormare, strippers, three priests who walk into the strip club (oh, the irony!), and many more of life's losers.
According to the press notes, they're all going to learn an important life lesson on this night of the 13th full moon: "by helping someone in need we help ourselves far more." If that doesn't sound like the vaguest, most tired setup in the history of film, I don't know what does. It doesn't help that Rockwell's direction is uncommonly poor, with an erratic camera that never quite frames his subjects right and overuses lame tricks like slow motion, oversaturated lighting, and extreme close-ups, all in a vain attempt to disguise a fact that's obvious from the start: 13 Moons has nothing at all to say (they're gonna save a dying kid, oh how cute), but Rockwell's going to be taking his time in making sure we know about it.
Run time: 93 mins
In Theaters: Tuesday 1st January 2002
Distributed by: Lot 47 Films
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
IMDB: 5.8 / 10
Director: Alexandre Rockwell
Also starring: Karyn Parsons, Peter Dinklage, David Proval, Austin Wolff, Daryl Mitchell, Peter Stormare, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gareth Williams, Francesco Messina, Elizabeth Bracco, Sam Rockwell, Brandon Cole, Michael Din, David Kronemeyer, Alexandre Rockwell