Big Bad Love (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Big Bad Love (2001)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A boozy depiction of a struggling writer, Big Bad Love is too messy and self-indulgent.

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Movie Info

Actor Arliss Howard made his debut as a director with this emotional drama adapted from a handful of short stories by Larry Brown. Barlow (Arliss Howard) is a deeply troubled Vietnam veteran who has been chasing a career as a writer, with little success; when he isn't struggling with his typewriter, he's usually drinking, and his wild mood swings and alcoholic fits of rage have driven away his wife Marilyn (Debra Winger), who has taken their son Alan (Zach Moody) and daughter Alisha (Olivia Kersey) with her. Barlow would like to see his children, but Marilyn refuses to allow it until he catches up on his alimony and child support payments; one of Barlow's few loyal friends, Monroe (Paul LeMat), a buddy from his Army days, is able to get him work as a house painter. With steady paychecks, Barlow is finally able to clear his debts to Marilyn, but she refuses to acknowledge that he's made much progress in turning his life around, and he doesn't get much more emotional support from his ailing mother (Angie Dickinson) or his friend Velma (Rosanna Arquette). Big Bad Love marked the second screen pairing for husband-and-wife Arliss Howard and Debra Winger; it was also Winger's first screen appearance in six years. Acclaimed songwriter Tom Waits composed the film's original score. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Cast

Debra Winger
as Marilyn
Angie Dickinson
as Mrs. Barlow
Michael Parks
as Mr. Aaron
Alex Van
as Deputy
Jo-Ann Robinson
as One Night Stand
Kevin Mitchell
as Twin No. 1
Sigourney Weaver
as Betti Deloreo
Matt Mitchell
as Twin No. 2
Michael Williamson
as Young Barlow
Coleman Barks
as Minister
Gloria Winters
as Mrs. Shepard
Melody Wilson
as Young Mrs. Barlow
Jacob McNally
as Farmer's Son
Ian McAnally
as Farmer's Son
Bob Muse
as Lost Freezer Guy
Jo Ann Robinson
as One Night Stand
Cool Man
as Himself
Jacob McAnally
as Farmer's Son
Kenny Brown
as Boxcar Marine/R.L.'s Band
Christie Jackson
as Betti Deloreo
Reginald Wilson
as Boy Athlete
Ed Hicks
as Judge
Jaymee Vowel
as Rebuffing Woman
L. Jay Mckinney
as Geranium Drunk
Larry Brown
as Mr. Barlow
Cedric Burnside
as R.L.'s Band
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Critic Reviews for Big Bad Love

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (21)

A mess, but it's a sincere mess.

August 8, 2002 | Full Review…
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Though you couldn't call Love a complete success, it's packed with talent and intelligence, wayward poetry and bluesy longing.

July 20, 2002 | Rating: 3/4
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A movie that can't get sufficient distance from Leroy's delusions to escape their maudlin influence.

June 21, 2002 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Toronto Star
Top Critic

The movie is obviously a labour of love so Howard appears to have had free rein to be as pretentious as he wanted.

June 21, 2002 | Rating: 2/4
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A rough, uneven but admirably imaginative film.

May 3, 2002 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

While Howard's appreciation of Brown and his writing is clearly well-meaning and sincere, the movie would be impossible to sit through were it not for the supporting cast.

April 26, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Big Bad Love

½

[font=Century Gothic]In "Big Bad Love," Leon Barlow(Arliss Howard, who also directed and co-wrote) is an aspiring writer who tapes his rejection letters to his bathroom wall. His wealthy friend, Monroe(Paul Le Mat), gets him the occasional job housepainting, where they hang out together, followed by much drinking of beer. Due to his economic situation, Leon is often unable to come up with the child support for the two children he walked out on.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Big Bad Love" is a rambling stream of consciousness movie that stays one step ahead of total incomprehension. It is a tricky approach to take with a movie because the reality and the fantasy can be hard to tell apart at times but here it works due to Howard's keen visual eye which does a very good job of showing Leon's mental state.(And it is especially clear that Leon has not had sex in a good long while.) But a little of that goes a long way, and after a while, it does get tedious before a huge event shakes up the movie, shoving it into an entirely new direction. In the end, the movie might have worked had it been about 20-30 minutes shorter.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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