In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Even with the hindsight of the rest of Alexander Payne’s, Citizen Ruth has a fresh, unique feel to it.”
“I slept in a few dumpsters. Maybe I slept on some babies.”
Besides directing segments in a couple of soft core pornos for Playboy, director Alexander Payne is definitely on the prestigious side. He’s made six features, five of which have all scored Oscar nominations of some description. None of which take place in America’s usual movie locations like New York, LA and Chicago. Alexander Payne tells stories about middle America, or in the case of The Descendants, Hawaiian America. These unusual, uncommon settings are always filled with unusual, uncommon characters. Is he making fun of these places and their inhabitants? Is he celebrating them? It’s a fine line that Payne walks expertly. And he’s done so since the very beginning, as evidenced by his feature debut, Citizen Ruth.
Unmoving and with a look of complete boredom and detachment, Ruth (Laura Dern) lays under a filthy man in a filthy apartment as he pumps away. When it’s done, Ruth doesn’t even get the one thing she wanted from it, a bed for the night. The man kicks her out, sending Ruth to her brother Tony, (Jim Kalal) looking for a place to stay. Instead she gets his disgust and $15. Enough to buy a can of spray paint from the local hardware store to get high and OD. Taken to the emergency room, Ruth recovers to the news that she is, in fact, pregnant. With four kids already taken away from her by the state, the fed up Judge Richter (David Graf) imprisons Ruth for endangering her unborn child. (more…)