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January 16, 2009

Naked Lunch (Classic Film Pick)

Naked_lunch David Cronenberg brings William S. Burroughs' notoriously "unpublishable" and "unfilmable" novel of heroin-induced hallucination fantasy to zesty cinematic life with an outrageous film that very nearly accomplishes the book's goal of "extinguishing all rational thought."

With clinical precision Peter Weller plays Burroughs' alter ego Bill Lee, who works as an exterminator--read as undercover-typewriter-wielding-junkie-satirist--who finds that his wife Joan (Judy Davis) is copping his "insecticide" powder to get high. Bill answers to a corporate "controller" for the CIA-styled "Interzone" that sends him on a mission to kill his wife--something that Burroughs accomplished in real life during a deadly game of William Tell. Cronenberg pulls out all the stops with alien-head talking typewriters that give orders to Bill as played by Weller with more sardonic irony than two Hunter S. Thompsons put together.

Easily the trippiest film to come out of the '90s, "Naked Lunch" is a flawless balm to all of the Tarantino-inspired gun fests unleashed after "Naked Lunch" made cinema screens drip with a surreal syrup that sticks to your eyeballs and intestines like literary goop. "Lunch is always naked," and so is Cronenberg's fantastic interpretation of Burroughs' twisted genius.  

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