“Invitation to the Blues” – Tom Waits

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Another legendary song from Tom Waits’ essential 1976 album “Small Change.”

Memorably used over the opening credits of Nicolas Roeg’s 1980 bad date-film classic “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession,” one of the most graphic and despairing looks at a toxic relationship ever put on film. Trust me when I say “Bad Timing” makes “Fatal Attraction” look like “When Harry Met Sally.”  An executive for Rank Films, the UK studio that financed “Bad Timing,” called the film “a sick film made by sick people for sick people.”  And it’s available to watch on Netlifx Instant to view with your honey … that is, if you and your honey are mentally unstable and/or are pill / booze addicts.  Thanks champagne!

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“Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession” (1980) dir. Nicolas Roeg

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I can’t imagine a worse “date movie” than Nicolas Roeg’s psychotic 1980 masterpiece “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession.”  OK, maybe “Cruising,” “A Serbian Film,” or “Irreversible” would be worse … WAAAY worse.   But seriously, I don’t want you to underestimate how seriously f–ked up “Bad Timing” is.  Art Garfunkel and Theresa Russell probably deliver their best-ever acting performances as a mutually destructive couple from hell.  Russell’s character is the stereotypical slutty “crazy woman,” and Russell does play the part very well.  Garfunkel plays an unctuous, controlling, co-dependent psychiatrist scumbag who, we later learn, may actually be more deranged than Russell.  And, of course, there’s Harvey Keitel (the patron saint of f–ked-up cinema) playing a Viennese detective interrogating Garfunkel’s character about Russell’s suicide attempt, trying to play mind games with someone who is a master of the art.  A complex, well-acted, well-written, and well-directed journey into relationship hell.   It also has a great use of music, from Tom Waits to Billie Holiday to Keith Jarrett to the Who.

Here’s Roeg’s effective use of the Who’s “Who Are You” during a couple of crucial scenes:

It was released with an X-rating in the United States, due to nudity, sex, language, and extremely disturbing subject matter.  The Criterion Collection had the good taste to release it on DVD in the U.S. and you can watch it for free on Netflix streaming.  See it with someone you love.