Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981)

“Ever heard the sound of one mouth screaming? I had, for years — my own.”

An alcoholic poet (Ben Gazarra) in Los Angeles hooks up with a random woman (Susan Tyrrell) on the bus, then falls for a beautiful but self-harming and suicidal prostitute (Ornella Muti).


Marco Ferreri’s cinematic rendering of Charles Bukowski’s short story “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town” offers a rambling, self-indulgent look at a few days in the life of a hipster alcoholic who concludes that the only true existence (that is, one worth writing about) lies amongst society’s castaways. Gorgeous Muti definitely fits the title role of the source story, but she’s badly exploited like every other character Gazarra encounters. Those with a fondness for Bukowski may enjoy hearing a script littered with lines like these:

“I’ve always had a love affair with the streets.”
“Cass had that special look that got to me — like she’d been blown away by the winds of eternity and was swimming back against the current.”
“Now give it to me — take my soul with your c**k!”
“Cass, you bitch — I love you! You’re the most alive woman I ever met.”

However, all others can feel free to skip this one.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • At-times ethereal cinematography

Must See?
No. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


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