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One bad motherf*cker

By doug levy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 15, 1999
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Photo courtesy of Stratosphere Entertainment

Fear the reaper: Arnie Finklestein (Adrien Brody) stares down death with a whimper.

"Six Ways To Sunday" tells the endearing story of a young man's metamorphosis into adulthood. Harry Odum discovers his true calling in life, gains the respect of both his friends and enemies, and even finds love.

He also beats the shit out of people, brutally murders a bunch of folks, suffers from a violent multiple personality disorder and has sex with his mom.

Okay, so maybe it's not that endearing. Actually, "twisted" is probably the best way to describe "Six Ways To Sunday," but it's delightfully twisted.

The quirkily attractive Norman Reedus stars as Harry -╩you might have seen him before in "The Mimic." If you did, I'm sorry. He was also in "8MM," but only for about a minute.

Harry's friend Arnie (Adrien Brody) is a low-level employee of the big men in town ("town" being Youngsville, Ohio). He's basically an errand boy who gets entrusted with tasks like punching people if they owe money. But, when he takes Harry along on a job, it becomes obvious that Harry is much better at punching people than Arnie is. Abie Pinkwise, Arnie's employer, is very impressed.

Pretty soon, he's moving up the ranks, getting in with Louis, the head of the infamous Youngsville Jewish mafia. Everyone makes fun of Harry for being a gentile, but it's all just friendly ribbing. They love him and he loves them. So what if he's a goy?

If only it wasn't for Harry's mom, (Debbie Harry of Blondie fame), everything might have worked out differently.

Harry's mom has some serious issues with sex, since her husband left her for a man, and she had to whore herself around to support her son. So, basically she keeps him cut off from sex, except for this whole Oedipal thing that's going on. Your mom really shouldn't still be giving you baths when you're eighteen.

So, when Harry meets Iris (Elina Lowens-hn), he's faced with some intimacy problems. Sure, he loves her, but mom isn't making it easy. And his lack of experience with women means that the only way he can really be comfortable sexually is to call in Madden, his alter ego, played by Holter Graham. The whole idea of having two actors play different personalities of the same person is an interesting one.

Harry's demeanor, especially in psychotic "here comes Madden" mode is often reminiscent of "A Clockwork Orange," in its cold delight in relishing in other's pain, and Reedus seems to have lifted more than a bit of Malcolm MacDowell for his role.

Oh, and Isaac Hayes is in "Six Ways To Sunday" as well, as a brutally charming police officer. For those of you who are too enclosed in your own little bubble to realize who Hayes is, let's not bother explaining about his long, renowned career as a musician.

He's the guy who does the voice of "chef" on "South Park" - that should be enough to make him relevant in your average college student's sphere of existence.

Anyway, in case you haven't figured it out yet, "Six Ways To Sunday" is a really twisted film. But it's funny and it makes you cringe and you won't forget it anytime soon.