I once wrote an article called ‘Boys Hate Vincent Gallo Because They Are Jealous of Him’. This was for my own erstwhile fanzine ‘The Shocking Blues and Mean Reds’; as it had a circulation of around 50, you will be forgiven if you missed it.
Like so many of us, I was first introduced to the ways of the Gallo by his 1998 film ‘Buffalo 66’, which is still one of my favourite films of all time (in fact, probably the favourite). He wrote, directed, starred in and scored the whole thing. I love the fact that it’s one man’s vision, total clarity of intent. And what a vision it is – if you haven’t I suggest you watch it immediately. It’s beautiful, funny and gut-wrenching. And, in keeping with the topic of this little missive, Billy Brown in his red shoes and tight trousers and ‘hold me/don’t touch me!’ dichotomies is perfection.
Gallo’s next one-man-show film was ‘The Brown Bunny’. This is probably where I start to differ from the casual Gallo fan – everyone loved ‘Buffalo 66’; it felt like no-one but me liked ‘The Brown Bunny’. I think it’s beautiful; it’s a work of art that should be hanging in a museum. OK, if you watch it expecting a conventional film, you may be confused – but I genuinely believe that one day people will understand it’s a great piece of cinema. Vincent Gallo rides a motorcycle, drives a car, cries, stares, has a shower, meets a few random women – I could literally watch this for years.
I love Gallo’s attitude in his film work. This is summed up thus: ‘you can give me complete creative control or you can pay me up the wazoo’. Although this has actually resulted in some really good films (such as ‘Tetro’ and ‘Palookaville’), some have been frankly weird (‘Trouble Every Day’, which I actually love) and, um, a bit crap (‘Moscow Zero’, ‘Hide and Seek’, ‘Get Well Soon’). However, the thing they all have in common is that he is absolutely mesmerising to watch. Whatever he turns up in, you cannot take your eyes off him, in a way that reminds you how little charisma most film stars have these days. Plus, I think it’s a pretty cool and honest way to conduct one’s career.
His career is not only in film; I may start gushing now, but his multimedia exploits indicate that he is such a genius he can basically turn his hand to anything he fancies and excel in a way that makes other human beings look decidedly inferior. I mean, as well as writer, director and film star, he’s been a model, an artist (he only quit his acclaimed painting career ‘out of spite’), a champion motorcyclist, rapper, indie musician (his solo album ‘When’ is stunning), and allegedly rent boy. As if that’s not enough, his website is a work of art in itself. I suggest you have a look, and marvel.