Mala Noche (Bad Night)
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Mala Noche (Bad Night)
The debut film of director Gus Van Sant, this independent, low-budget comedy-drama based on an autobiographical novel by Walt Curtis was produced on black-and-white 16 mm film for only $25,000. Tim Streeter stars as Walt, the manager of a seedy liquor store in Portland, OR. Walt, who is gay, has fallen desperately in love with Johnny (Doug Cooeyate), a teenage illegal Mexican immigrant who doesn't speak English. Although Johnny is utterly unaffected by Walt's attentions, the boy does agree to sleep with his suitor for $25, but Walt can't come up with the cash. Introduced to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Even at the start of his career, Van Sant has always been an artist who has savored the bittersweet pleasure of sadness and pain."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"Underseen but not exactly neglected, Mala Noche isn't in the same league as the recent smash IFC revival of Killer of Sheep. But this small, sensitive, wondrously likable debut occupies a nearby nook in the DIY pantheon."
‑ Nathan Lee, Village Voice
"About open homosexual lust."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The film is a study in infatuation and rejection, euphoria and frustration, and Van Sant observes their dance of desire and dismissal and wary coexistence without judgment."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"Shot on a cutrate stock with meager budget, Van Sant's debut, about a doomed romance between a store clerk and a sMexican immigrant, shows an iconoclast with nihilistic sensibility and fresh POV."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Of all Van Sant's movies, Mala Noche is the rawest, most personal, and least freighted. It's the one fans should see for the simplest inkling into Van Sant's complex artistic roots."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Offbeat, offhand, and at times off-the-wall."
‑ Mark Salisbury, Time Out
"White and other critics have accused the director of "race and class indifference," but Van Sant's approach has always been personal and deeply confessional, if not outwardly political."
‑ Paul Schrodt, House Next Door
"Gritty, dirty, lyrical, altogether sensual."
‑ Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
"Van Sant's frequently astonishing script is funny and passionate, his editing savvy, and his choice of music perfect as he freely and unapologetically celebrates Walt's love of Mexican boys."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Van Sant would later refine some of the blunter stylistic turns into a wondrous visual poetry; his ability to capture the addictive pull of desire, however, remains compelling even in its crudest state."
‑ Melissa Anderson, Time Out New York
"A very well-made movie, terse and to the point, nicely photographed by John Campbell and written and directed by Mr. Van Sant with sardonic humor."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Too artsy for its own good."
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"It serves as Milepost 1 on Van Sant's highway to success."
‑ Marc Mohan, Oregonian
"If witnessing raw talent at work excites you, then see this diamond-in-the-rough in its return engagement."
‑ Steve Davis, Austin Chronicle
More reviews for Mala Noche (Bad Night) on Rotten Tomatoes