Style icons: 200 Cigarettes

Without wanting to speak too soon, I think an overdose of Superdrug Max Strength Cold & Flu, a good night’s sleep and a litre of orange squash may have set me on the road to recovery. One thing’s for sure; a day of catching up on other people’s blogs has me itching to put my brain back to good use, so let’s run with it.

Iso wrote this morning about Times Sqaure, a film set in New York in the 80s, but as far as I’m concerned there’s only one winner in the 80s NY party genre and that is, of course, 200 Cigarettes. I’m aware that if you know me you’ll have heard me talk about this film on an almost daily basis and I’m also aware that most people think it’s a pile of shit but frankly they’re wrong. Oh, I also wrote about 200 Cigs about two years ago to the day, but that’s not gonna stop me dredging it up again. It’s New Year thus it’s relevant. Over the past 12 months this blog has grown exponentially which means that there could well be folk out there that haven’t seen this piece of cinematic gold and I’m the one holding them back. For their benefit, then, here we go. 200 Cigarettes is a 1999 film set in 1981 following a vaguely associated bunch of losers around New York as they head to a party for New Years. You can, I’m sure, imagine the japery that they encounter as they make out/get gradually drunker/fight/listen to Feliz Navidad. I’ve never really understood why it’s so widely panned, but then I know fuck all about films. All I know is that features Ben Affleck and Courtney Love in their only good roles, has a stellar soundtrack curated by Devo and an even more astounding range of costumes. Click on the links in the text for more (better) pics!

Val (Christina Ricci) and Stephie (Gaby Hoffman) have escaped Ronkonkoma, NJ for a night in the big city. They’ve told their parents (as all good teenagers do) that they’re staying at each other’s place but ho ho, this is indeed a lie. They’re heading to Val’s cousin Monica’s party but en route bump into Tom (Casey Affleck!! In a tiger-print shirt!!) and Dave, a pair of vaguely seedy punks. Val and Stephie arguably have the best outfits of the entire movie; ridiculous fur coat, bright yellow Timberland-style boot heel things and accessories to die for. Costuming aside, their storyline is vaguely average apart from the line about crossing onto Avenue B.

It will come as no surprise to you that Janeane Garofalo is annoying in this film. She used to date Paul Rudd, who we see here in a state of undress after a toilet escapade with Courtney Love. Annoying as she may be, she does get to utter the immortal line, ‘I’ve dated enough narcissistically neurotic men to know that you are all just a pack of roving babies in search of a giant teat from which to suck the lifeblood out of me until I am a hollow shell’ which earns her a round of applause. Her wardrobe is as boring as she is. Next!

Martha Plimpton, Catherine Kellner, Brian McCardie in their respective roles of Monica, Hilary and Eric are possibly the greatest people in the entire film; wardrobe, one-liners and storyline inclusive. Eric is an artist who paints vaginas (flowers, whatever) and is terrible in bed, Hilary is sort of a non-entity who has an exceptional party dress with lace collar and cuffs and Monica, dear Monica is the host of the party to which the entire cast are headed. She has typical host issues that no-one is coming, has trouble with relationships and gets supremely drunk and passes out before any of her actual guests arrive. She also does a brilliant dance to Feliz Navidad and shouts the immortal, “I hate you motherfuckers” at Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal in Love Story.

Disco Cabbie as played by Dave Chappelle holds the story together as narrator and the coincidental one cab driver that everyone seems to come across at some point. Man he’s wise. And he has tiger-print seats, an all-denim wardrobe and a soundtrack of Kool and the Gang, thus making him the taxi driver we have all dreamed of. Caitlyn is played by the marvellous Angela Featherstone and she basically gives her number out to a lot of guys. She has incredible hair. Forgive my shortness, but it’s just become apparent that there is no mention of Nicole Parker as Caitlyn’s partner in crime/BFF Bridget; basically Grace Jones in a pill box hat. Here she is. Swoon!

Right so back to Courtney Love. She is brilliant in this film and just a little unhinged, which is the way she’s supposed to be, right? She has an amazing animal print swing coat and this insanely perfect amber coloured hair. Her and Paul Rudd are meant to be together, both in the film and in life. Seriously, I think he’d have a good effect on her.

And last but not least, we have Kate Hudson (Cindy) in a role that I think is better than most other things she’s done and Jay Mohr as horrible jock man ass hat Jack. Look at his face. Punchable. Although I just read he voiced Joe Pesci in Family Guy so maybe I’ll turn down the hate. Anyway Kate and Jack are on a blind date and she’s some kind of princess in a ludicrous amazing pink coat with dog shit all over it. She ends up with (shh look away now for a spoiler) with Dave the punk, which tells you everything you need to know about how her date with Jack goes.

So that’s pretty much everything you need to know. The film never made it out in the UK but you can get it on Amazin obviously. If you’re my friend or trying to be, you should get it because it’s one of my main topics of conversation when I’m drunk and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Great clothes, amazing soundtrack, funny film. What’s not to love, Rotten Tomatoes? Why the piss poor reviews? I guess I’ll never know, but fuck it, I love it.


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