The early 1990s were a great time for independent film. The 70s brought us the midnight movie and underground film movements. The 80s brought us the home video revolution, direct-to-video microdistribution, and technological advances that made filmmaking a lot cheaper. Thus was the perfect storm that brought us the little gem called RUBIN AND ED (1991).
RUBIN AND ED was the second time director Trent Harris and actor Crispin Glover worked together. The first was six years prior for THE ORKLY KID (1985), which would go on to be the third part of THE BEAVER TRILOGY. Between those two films, Glover was developing a character for himself. This persona was strangely clad in striped bell bottom pants and platform shoes, and was completely clueless in social mores. Our first glimpse of this character was in the infamous 1987 David Letterman appearance where he almost kicked Letterman in the head, driving him from his own set.
For whatever reason, Harris and Glover thought this was a perfect character for a buddy movie. Who better to play opposite Glover than Howard Hessman?
It turns out the two of them have a fantastic chemistry. Glover plays the aforementioned unsocial weirdo. He’s living with his mom who confiscates his stereo until he goes out and makes a friend. Enter Hessman’s Ed, a recruit from a Trump University-type real estate scam who has to recruit just one person–any person. Both have something they need from the other. Sounds like the start to a great buddy picture, except there’s one thing missing–a reason to hit the road. The reason for Rubin and Ed to take off driving is to find the perfect place to bury the frozen corpse of Rubin’s dead cat.
A plot synopsis can’t do justice to this movie. It’s an odd one, but in a good natured sort of way. While Rubin and Ed could have easily been unlikable characters, Hessman and Glover bring a strange humanity to their roles. Combine that with some crazy camera work, odd situations, and a script that celebrates the unique and unusual, and you have a fun little indie movie that should have gotten a bigger audience than it did.
Question of the night–do any of your pets have some strange habits or tricks?