“I’m just a victim of the circumstances.”
The Search for One-Eye Jimmy follows Les (Holt McAllany), a Brooklyn-raised filmmaker who returns home to shoot a documentary about the rundown neighborhood. After running into Joe Head (Michael Badalucco), he quickly learns that One-Eye Jimmy (Sam Rockwell) is missing. Turning away from the basic neighborhood documentary, Les thinks he might have struck gold with a missing persons documentary and starts to interview individuals to help find Jimmy. Along the way, Joe introduces him to a variety of characters to help find Jimmy Hoyt who inadvertently tell the story of the messed up environment they all live in.
The Search for One-Eye Jimmy is funny, possibly funnier than it intended to be. The movie plays out like an over-the-top comedy that has a documentary style feel to it. Although there’s no real front man in the movie (the argument could be that it’s McAllany’s character) the cast is deep enough to move from one moment to the next and one group of characters to the next without missing a beat.
The comedy style of The Search for One-Eye Jimmy actually seems more like a spoof than a traditional comedy. There’s moments of insane dialogue, a never ending circle of stealing acquaintance's cars, and a cast that's perfect for the story being told.
The movie really does depend on the deep cast to keep it moving. And the large group of well-known supporting actors do a great job supporting each other. Badalucco with Steve Buscemi, Nick Turturro, Ray Mancini, and Tony Sirico all do quite well. Nick Turturro’s constant tactics play nicely around the awkwardness Badalucco shows, and McAllany’s annoyance with the morons he all of a sudden has in tow. Buscemi’s efforts to sell photo-ops with a cardboard cutout reminds me of the days before he became the big shot in an HBO series. The constant drizzle of familiar faces adds to the nostalgia you'll feel when you watch this show.
Two of the biggest names peppered in, Samuel L. Jackson and John Turturro, deliver the most hilarious performances in the movie. Turturro plays a disco dancing “Straight Man” and Jackson portrays the “Neighborhood Nut Job” who offers an interview on the whereabouts of Jimmy that's memorable. Jackson’s short role is crazy and entertaining enough that it would have been beneficial to see him in a more prominent role.
The Search for One-Eye Jimmy is a fun movie that really doesn’t try too hard to tell a serious story. From scene to scene there’s something going on that isn’t quite right. Sam Henry Kross threw together an idea about a random attempt at a documentary in Brooklyn, put it into an independent film and ended up with some rather solid results. The movie wasn’t (and isn’t) a game-changer, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
The Search for One-Eye Jimmy arrives on Blu-ray via a 1080p AVC encode with both positives and negatives. The movie has a very dirty source, with grain going back and forth from heavy to extra heavy. The image has a large amount of dirt and dust, with the print seeming to have a hard life up till now. The image has a constant set of burn marks that are noticeable for the first three quarters of the movie. The projectionist cue marks are even prominent enough to distract from the movie, making me very curious about the source material.
But, relax. Fans of the movie shouldn’t be too afraid because The Search for One-Eye Jimmy isn’t all bad. The movie boasts a very bright and detailed image behind all the issues mentioned above. Colors are true to source, as blues and reds leap from the screen. Detail is solid, with backgrounds looking good and characters boasting plenty of life. Hair is lively and detailed, flesh tones are natural, and aspects of scenes are clear enough that those familiar with the VHS might have not noticed them before. Judging from Kino’s track record, as well as the film quality from low-budget movies in the early nineties being mostly disastrous, it is easy to assume that The Search for One-Eye Jimmy is a disaster of a print that has been cleaned up and looks the best it can with this Blu-ray release.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track on The Search for One-Eye Jimmy is a mixed bag as well. For the most part, the two channel track is crystal clear. Most conversations are completely audible, with sound effects being loud but not overtaking the conversations. Occasionally the dialogue drops out with the best example being the beginning of the conversation with Samuel L. Jackson, where his words are nearly inaudible. A few moments, in the movie also seem to have some issues with lip syncing but quickly corrects itself. Overall, the audio is clear enough that it's obvious that this movie never sounded this good.
The Search for One-Eye Jimmy has a small amount of extra features on board the Blu-ray release. There’s a Photo Gallery of the movie and Trailers (HD) for other Kino Lorber releases.
The early nineties independent movie, The Search for One-Eye Jimmy is an interesting view of a close-knit, slum of a neighborhood. The movie is original with a nice dose of quirky comedy that keeps the entertainment value high from beginning to end. The Blu-ray video and audio are mixed bags of good and bad. The movie though, has probably never looked this good. Fans of the film shouldn’t hesitate, others looking for a trip back to the early nineties might want to check this out.