22 December 2009


Noise: Uh, well, I liked this film. But it’s not for, uh, all tastes. But I could watch it almost as many times as I have watched The Exorcist and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Of course, those are great films. . .two of the All-Time Greats, in fact. Noise is not one of the All-Time Greats. Truthfully, as a movie, Noise is mediocre, and that’s being charitable. And I’m only being charitable because of the movie’s two *stars,* who shine brightly in my personal night sky.

Most people, I suspect, would watch this thing and then say, man, that sucked. Well, yes. . .but I sure do love this movie. I sure do. A treasure to my eyes, I found it in the dumpster of Netflix *Watch Instantly.*

I was sifting through the Instant movie trash, looking for an Ally Sheedy movie—Ally being one of my favorites—and I found this reject from 2004. And I was startled to discover Sheedy’s co-star in this low-budget indie *psycho-drama* is Trish Goff! Yes, Trish Goff, who, in my studied opinion, is the second greatest Supermodel of All-Time (second, of course, to the one-and-only Kate Moss).

(Actually, Goff is the *star* of Noise, while Sheedy has the supporting role—not that it matters to any but the most dedicated of the Cults of Second and Third Tier Female Celebrity).

Imagine! A movie with Ally Sheedy and Trish Goff!! It is as if it were cast with only an audience of men like me in mind. A small audience, no doubt. For how many of the few who count Ally Sheedy as a screen legend are also admirers of the unbearable lightness of waif-being that is Trish Goff? There can’t be many, there can’t be many. But for us few, Noise is celluloid grail.

The story, the familiar story of a troubled individual moving into a new apartment and then being disturbed by a crazy neighbor, vaguely reminds one of all the better-made movies in the *weirdo upstairs* genre, from Polanski’s The Tenant all the way down to Sigaw/The Echo.

In Noise, Trish Goff plays Joyce, an insecure recent divorcee battling a drinking problem (a gorgeous insecure recent divorcee battling a drinking problem). Joyce’s insecurity, stemming from a difficult childhood, manifests an aloofness and a perfectionism that make her appear stuck-up. Joyce is not a very likable character—is the character supposed to seem unsympathetic because of her damaged ‘inner child,’ or is the character off-putting because of Goff’s SuperMannikin acting?

Part of the problem is the Pittsburgh, PA-born Goff’s voice, which exhibits traces of several different European accents—an annoying affectation, or an unconscious result of her many years in the cosmopolitan fashion industry? Well, it doesn’t really matter, for whatever reason, Goff’s character is rather cold and distant. . .but Goff always looks great (and that’s the main thing, isn’t it?), even in the scenes when she hits the bottle and is supposed to be on a downward spiral. Believe me, you’ve never seen a hotter barfly than Noise’s Trish Goff. . .I mean, Barfly’s Faye Dunaway barfly looks like a genuine barfly compared to Noise’s Goff barfly.
But anyway, stuck-up Joyce moves into a new apartment and discovers, much to her dismay (as they say), the woman in the room above, Charlotte, is very NOISY (blaring TV all night long, dragging heavy objects across the floor, and, after a plot twist I won’t reveal, furiously engaging in loud anonymous sex). Charlotte is also very kOOky and very unkempt (even her apartment is unkempt—in one of the film’s few clever touches, Charlotte’s dirty flat features dangling strips of flypaper). The great-but-sadly-aging Ally Sheedy is the noisy, kOOky, unkempt Charlotte, and Ms. Sheedy plays her like a forty-five-year-old version of her Breakfast Club character, Allison Reynolds. Just imagine the Breakfast Club freak girl thirty years later, poisoned with decades of anti-depressants and battered by life’s hard knocks, and you have Sheedy’s Charlotte. Anyway, and predictably, Joyce confronts Charlotte about the noise, and, also predictably, a battle of wills (as they say) ensues.

There’s no point in further belaboring plot details, as this movie, as indicated earlier, will appeal only to a very narrow segment of cinephiles, but I will mention there is a strange *twist* at the end of Noise. The characters essentially reverse, with Charlotte now competent, clean and orderly, while Joyce becomes incompetent, unkempt and chaotic. While one can reasonably forecast Joyce’s demise, there is no logical explanation for the sudden reversal in Charlotte. Now, sometimes these kinds of movies end with the cheap cop-out *it was all in her mind*. . .but because of certain plot developments, one cannot say Charlotte was always ‘normal,’ and that Joyce had only been projecting her own *disorder* onto Charlotte. . .so this leaves one with only a supernatural alternative, which sends off the movie with a rather shabby Twilight Zone feel. Most, of course, wouldn’t even bother to be puzzled by the movie’s ending, as the film is not worth the effort to try to decipher. . .yet even those of us who will constitute Noise’s small core of fans and who will no doubt engage in repeated viewings, will, I imagine, never be able to successfully reconcile the film’s odd dénouement (to use a term far above the film’s station).

There are two other points—one not worth mentioning, one worth mentioning.

Not worth mentioning:

Adam Ferrara has a small role as a police officer, which he plays exactly the same way as he does his Rescue Me firefighter character.

Worth mentioning:

While Noise can be watched over and over by all who enjoy staring at Goff, and who have fond memories of a younger, fresher Sheedy, it must be admitted that a Goff-Sheedy pillow fight would be more dramatic than Noise, and provide more of the thrills their fanatics seek.


  1. Do you remember a movie called "Bad Boys" with Sean Penn.An Ally Sheedy classic.

  2. Oh, yeah, I remember that one. I saw that in the theater when it came out. . .saw it with some girl, but I can't remember who. I remember the movie, but not the girl I took.

    Sean Penn as a *bad boy* has always been a little hard for me to believe. I remember reading a book Bukowski wrote, and he was giving some trivia about the movie *Barfly* and how Sean Penn wanted the role Mickey Rourke got. . .Bukowski had a meeting with Penn, and he started teasing Penn about Madonna, and Penn got mad and acted like he wanted to fight, and Bukowski tells him something like, 'settle down, punk, you know I can take you,' and Penn backed down immediately. Bukowski was 65 yrs old. . .so Sean Penn, you're no *bad boy.*

  3. Sean Penn, to me, has always been much better as an actor when he plays a weasel, like he did in *Carlito's Way,* or some doormat, like he did in *The Assassination of Richard Nixon.*

    He's more believable as a loser or a dimwit. . .I mean, you ever read this guy's interviews, when he tries to talk about some serious issue, he's incomprehensible. . .the guy's heart is in the right place, but he don't make much sense.

    Also, the older he gets, the more Jewish-looking he gets.

  4. ha ha ha, it's funny how so many Jews look more Jewish as they get older. Neal Diamond, David Lee Roth, Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Joel, etc. Jews take on a more Jewish appearance sometime in their 30's.

    This is why I know Elvis was not Jewish as so many Jews want to believe.

    Thinking over Billy Joel a lil more and he's always looked Jewish in that stomped-on-bullfrog way.

  5. My favorite Sean Penn movie was that one where Jeff Spicoli flew to Iraq and prepared Saddam Hussein for the "Shock and Awe!!!"

  6. Anudder Anonnymus User20 April, 2010 17:23

    I really liked this movie "Noise" and I want to see it again.

    I was poking around the web trying to find more info on it (like the title, for instance) and I found your commentary here.

    I kinda like your style.

    Well bye.

  7. Thank you for the kind comments--much appreciated.