Mojave Moon (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Recently, I wrote about Lisa Bonet's fall in the 90s. While Lisa was losing her career from 1992-1999, Angelina Jolie was gaining one at about the same rate.

In 1992-1994 Jolie was in the struggling actress stage, attracting little attention except the occasional note that she was Jon Voight's daughter. 1995 and 1996 were her transition years, during which she was not a star, but was starting to be noticed with major roles in interesting little films. In 1997-1999, she shot through the roof, climbing through the levels of stardom as easily as a game geek climbing through the levels in The Legend of Zelda: she beat one level, went to the next, beat that.

1997: a Cable Ace award winning role in Wallace.

1998: an Emmy winning role in Gia

1999: an Oscar winning role in Girl, Interrupted.

That Oscar put her on the A-list, where she has stayed, as you well know.

Along with Hackers and Foxfire, Mojave Moon was from her "major role in quirky little movie" period when people were starting to notice her. All three of those films are rated in the mid fives at IMDb, all are watchable for one reason or another. To me, Mojave Moon is the worst of that trilogy, not because of Angelina, who did fine, but because her character is oddly scripted and the movie in general is cheesy.

Danny Aiello plays a car salesman who is picked up by Angelina Jolie one morning in a breakfast restaurant in L.A. There's a middle aged fantasy for you, eh? Danny is well aware that he is not as young or as attractive or as buff as Brad Pitt, so he is understandably suspicious of Jolie's motivations, but she keeps coming on to him to get him interested, so  ... well, would you resist? Neither does he. He sort of lets himself be tugged along, although she always pulls away when he gets too interested. She asks him for a ride out to her trailer in the desert, and he figures, "So that's what this is about. Oh, well, why not?", so he drags her out there in his "old guy" sedan. Upon their arrival, she promptly abandons him with her mother (Anne Archer) and mom's psycho boyfriend, while Jolie herself leaves to elope with her boyfriend. All sorts of bizarre behavior ensues.

It seems that Jolie was really luring Aiello out to the desert as a "gift" for her mom, but Aiello is totally and understandably uncomfortable with that situation, especially given that mom is currently attached to a violent, possessive nutbag.

That first act was sorta strange, but not exceedingly strange. The rest of the film more than took up the slack. The film stops being an offbeat domestic romance about coping with the middle age crazies, and shifts gears completely to become a crime comedy. The boyfriend turns up dead in Aiello's trunk in the desert. Then Aiello has a flat tire and a cop happens by to help out while the body is still in the trunk. Eventually, Aiello's car is stolen, corpse and all. Then the car shows up, but the corpse disappears. Then the corpse isn't even dead.

Meanwhile Mom's psycho boyfriend wants to kill Aiello. Through a friend of a friend, Aiello enlists the help of some mob guys, and it turns out that there are bars in L.A. where various highly specialized mobsters hang out waiting for people to come to them. Various black market corpse traders argue over the business when they think Aiello wants a corpse. The quibbling mobsters prove to be little help, so Aiello hires his actor friend (Alfred Molina, the funniest thing in the film) to dress up in Soldier of Fortune garb to scare the psycho boyfriend (with a paintball gun.)

The good guys keep failing miserably.

Mom, daughter, Aiello and Molina eventually end up inside a car balanced precariously on the edge of a cliff, where ...

Well, now you know what the film is about and you have enough info to determine whether you'd like it. I reckon, you can watch the movie if you really care to know what happens. I don't think you'll find any edgy, electrifying surprises in the resolution.

Overall, it's a surreal comedy, or maybe a dark comedy without much darkness. Jolie is lively and sexy and offbeat, and steals her scenes, but does not dominate the film at all. It's really Danny Aiello's movie, and it's just so-so, as you might imagine of a film with Danny Aiello in the romantic lead.


DVD Info

  • No widescreen

  • No features



  • Angelina Jolie takes off her clothes to shower in Aiello's apartment, and we see her from the waist up.

  • Anne Archer may or may not show a nipple in a dark kissing scene.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews on file

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Erratic movie is all over the place, is often irritating, but can have its compelling moments. Best of all, Jolie has a youthful topless scene in clear light.

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