Laws of Gravity (1992) Holds up better than Pulp Fiction (YEAH I SAID IT!!!!) Laws of Gravity (1992) Holds up better than Pulp Fiction (YEAH I SAID IT!!!!)
Laws of Gravity, the 1992 film directed by Nick Gomez, takes place in a decaying, pre-hipster Brooklyn. It follows the mundane lives of... Laws of Gravity (1992) Holds up better than Pulp Fiction (YEAH I SAID IT!!!!)

This motherfucking review first appeared on Talkbacker some years ago. I thought it was lost forever, but as I was digging through my hard drive trying to erase evidence before the cops knock on my door, I found this one languishing in neglect. This movie should not be neglected. 

Laws of Gravity, the 1992 film directed by Nick Gomez, takes place in a decaying, pre-hipster Brooklyn.  It follows the mundane lives of petty criminals and fringe dwellers. By day they steal goods out of cars, vans and five and dime stores. They then haggle about price points over the stolen property with the local Fence. After they receive their pittance, they retreat to one of their apartments and drink and talk and yell at each other. At night they shuffle off to their favorite dive bar, where everyone knows their shame. They drink some more and sometimes fight with the other tough guys. They brawl over money, respect and non-existent girlfriends.

Peter Greene (Clean, Shaven) plays Jimmy. He is married to Denise, played nicely by Edie Falco of The Sopranos fame. Compared to the rest of denizens of the neighborhood, they are two of the more responsible ones. Denise holds a job at the bar and at least Jimmy has the social skills to be offered a job taking out garbage at the Javitz Center by the hulking Sal. He is Jimmy’s friend and we also know that he does something that is not quite legal. Jimmy owes Sal money. Sal sounds like a disappointed father as he constantly reminds Jimmy of this throughout the movie.

Adam Trese (Palookaville) plays Johnny. If Christian Bale had any hoodlum cousins they would probably look like him. Johnny is short on brains and long on tough guy talk. He always seems to be up for slapping his pretty girlfriend, Celia, around. When other men slap Celia around, however, Johnny is driven into a furious rage to protect his property. It is good to see that the mean streets of Brooklyn do not scare chivalry away.

One day Frankie pulls up to Johnny and Jimmy as they wander the streets in search of stuff to steal. Frankie has just been released from prison down south and he comes back to the old stomping ground in a stolen car filled with a healthy assortment of handguns. The three men see their fortunes in the chrome and steel and magazines filled with bullets. Guns pay a lot more than a ghetto blaster, plucked from the backseat of an open car.

Paul Schulze (Nurse Jackie) is great in the role of Frankie. We all might have known someone like him. Frankie is the type of guy that you might have been afraid of him as your friend, but you were a lot more scared of him if he wasn’t someone that liked you. He is the type of guy that would start a barroom brawl and expect all his buddies to put down their drinks, kiss their dates goodbye, and jump into the fray with him. Frankie is the dude that always demands respect, never realizing that it has to be earned.

When Frankie smiles his eyes become like coin slots on a vending machine, never letting anyone see the darkness in his soul. There is a great scene between Schulze and Edie Falco when Frankie is crashed out on the couch and Denise comes home from work. We can tell there is history between the two and that it probably isn’t all pleasant. Their conversation is cordial but forced. Frankie begins to feel like he is being questioned. They punctuate their sentences with the other’s name. This is not done out of affection, but scorn. They are throwing down the gauntlet.

Watching this film the audience feels like it is watching a documentary. Conversations seem real. People talk over one another, words are repeated, thoughts can be cut off by someone else’s  more aggressive lingo. Words stumble and stutter as they exit angry mouths. The audience can not picture these actors rehearsing the dialogue on some soundstage prior to filming. It all seems too alarmingly real.

The handheld camera work is great. The audience is almost like one of these people hanging on the street corner, drinking from forty ounce beer bottles and using harsh language as they philosophically discuss their existence. Violence often happens in the corner of the camera’s eye, so we don’t get a clear view of what is happening. We learn what goes down from the second hand information of people screaming and reporting the situation to each other.

This is a low budget movie so it has a raw look to it. This adds to the gritty realism that Gomez was most likely shooting for. I also like the title, Laws of Gravity. It sounds sufficiently grandiose in that indie film, or album kind of way. I highly recommend it.

Author Image

Tarmac492

Imprisoned on the overtaxed, overpopulated and overpriced fortress of Long Island, Tarmac492 seeks refuge in the pop junkyard of his brain. He enjoys books, film, television, music and a good drink, or seven every now and again. Beautiful women love being "friends" with him and they find his useless knowledge mildly diverting. Tarmac492 hopes to move to Tierra del Fuego where he can waste away--blissfully drunk and anonymous--at the end of the world.

  • Stalkeye

    “Holds up better than Pulp Fiction”??

    Oh, noes you didn’t!!!

    http://media0.giphy.com/media/PdX8JgqWrHE7m/giphy.gif

  • Abe

    Better than Pulp Fiction? I quit.

  • First time i’ve even heard of this. Intrigued now. You make a pretty bold statement there

  • Infinite Zissou

    An elaborate ruse to get VL cancelled. I see it!

  • VL is still on?

  • That sounds pretty damn good. I love the grit of early 90 indie movies. The story about Butch was the best part about Pulp Fiction anyway.

  • Stalkeye

    Featured quote! XD XD

  • Abe

    2 am on the Hallmark Network.

  • Stalkeye

    It is a solid indy film from back in the Day. (Saw it on HBO awhile ago.) But better than Pulp Fiction? I’m not even going there. Tarmac is me Boyo and I respect his opinions even if i think he’s wrong. 😛

  • Abe

    You can always see through me.

  • Stalkeye

    I’m going with Vincent and Jules because of the chemistry and banter between the two. They served as excellent Bookends for the Film and Jule’s big speech at the Diner was some deep shit. “I’m Buying your Life”.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Nothing holds up better than Pulp Fiction. Nothing. Fucking Aliens will be quoting that film eons from now.

    http://www.troll.me/images/angry-samuel-l-jackson/what-aint-no-country-i-ever-heard-of-they-speak-english-in-what.jpg

  • Infinite Zissou

    We just need 450 more episodes to get to the end of the story.

  • Spinkles

    I’m so glad you wrote this article. “Laws of Gravity” is intense, real, and the ending literally kept me up that night it was so raw and disturbing. Pulp.Fiction is just that…Pulp. It’s cheesy and overextended. Laws of Gravity has that grainy feel of a documentary. Edie Falco rocks in this movie as well. One of the most underrated flicks of ALL TIME!
    Nice job.
    ????

  • Tarmac492.1

    I think jackie brown holds up better, as well. Just my opinion.

  • I haven’t seen this but Pulp Fiction sucks so I have no problem with the article’s title.

  • Tarmac492.1

    PF is an expertly shot, stylized flick that is a work of art. It is also kind of bloated sometimes. Besides Butch, I really didnt give a shit about any of the characters. I loved it the first time and still recognize its importance, but I just dont think it holds up as well as some other flicks.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Ahh, that explains it. Definitely a matter of preference.
    I saw Jackie Brown about 1 1/2 times. It’s one of the few Tarantino films I simply couldn’t get into…till this day I’m not sure why. I think I’ll throw it on again this weekend…with a pen & notepad in hand.

  • Tarmac492.1

    You could sense something building through the 2nd half of the movie. It was like watching one of your buddies throwing their life down the drain.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Fucking crazy found it. I think I had just mentioned it to you a few hours before. SInce that worked, I will try another one. “I took Jessica Alba out once and she really dug me. She said she was going to one day blow me and give me a million dollars.”

  • Tarmac492.1

    And just so you dont think I am totally nuts–Aliens is just as good today as it was 30 years ago. Actually better after the shit that has come down the pike in the last three decades.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I would gather Tarantino himself must have seen Laws of Gravity or Clean, Shaven(another found review) as he hired Peter Greene to play Zed in Pulp Fiction.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Can’t argue with that. Love that flick.

  • Stalkeye

    We have agree to disagree on this, Brother.
    To me, PF still holds up extremely well thanks to clever dialog, unpredictable scenarios, (Who saw Vinnie’s death coming during the middle of the flick?) and Hilarious moments in the vein of Black Comedy.
    (Marvin getting popped accidentally.) I admire its boldness even if some felt offended. It’s both gritty and glamour and they’ll never be another Film of it’s caliber.

    Definitely on the list of Stalks top 30 Films.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Never heard of this, but that’s a very bold claim indeed! I’m sure this qualifies as an underrated gem, but it’s a bit like doing a retro-review of Battle Beyond the Stars or Star Crash and claiming they’re better than Star Wars.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Oh yes, he did!

  • Stalkeye

    Say, whhhhaaaatt?!?

    Don’t make me fly to Newfoundland, Meng!! (0:<

    http://38.media.tumblr.com/8c2e0fae3b9cbbf0f59abe53b5f2c680/tumblr_mut57zHJFv1s3rlr2o1_400.gif

  • Stalkeye

    “I saw Jackie Brown about 1 1/2 times. It’s one of the few Tarantino films I simply couldn’t get into..”

    Same here and I love me some Pam Grier!!

    Jackie Brown is almost like a mere shadow of Pulp Fiction.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I’d say the opposite: the Butch segment holds up least well of the three segments now – apart from the gimp stuff, of course. There’s a little too much drawn-out, cutesy crap between Willis and his French fancy.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Oh, you iconoclast, you!

    That said, Tarantino has become an insufferable cunt these days.

  • Stalkeye

    Get in Line! My favorite Cameron Flick and among my top 10 Films of alllll tiiimmmeee!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Yes, the pot belly stuff was nauseating, but more palatable than the Travolta/Thurman Date–save for the shot to the heart. Pulp is a work of art which I loved on first viewing. For me, it just does not hold up as well. The only fat in that should be Travolta’s love handles.

  • Stalkeye

    Too bad Greene was somewhat wasted in Under Siege 2.

  • Tarmac492.1

    word.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    You bet your ass it is. I’ve no time at all for the revisionist “purist” assholes that try to downplay the movie in light of the original. Thankfully, the excrement that was Prometheus shut them up somewhat.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Agreed on the disagreement. Shave off 20-30 minutes on this and I might think differently.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I agree; Jackie Brown is Tarantino’s best movie.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I still get light headed with delight every time I hear Vazquez roar “Let’s rock” and she proceeds to unload on those squealing beasties. I loved Horner’s pulse pounding score, as well. I always thought this was one of Ebert’s most interesting reviews.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    LOL. But, hey, the man’s never looked better, except for his legendary turn in Battlefield Earth.

  • Stalkeye

    “Pulp. It’s cheesy and overextended.”

    Yes, but good Cheese I can’t say that it was overextended like say, Death Proof. LOL There was enough story and content to contain the viewer throughout the film and nary a sign of boredom. Although Uma Thurman’s arc was the weakest part of the film.

    Besides, I can’t say if LoG would contain memorable dialog like “If you see him hiding in Indochina with a Bowl of Noodles, bus a Cap in his Ass”.

  • Fair enough, it did not bother me that much. But I bet with you having a French girlfriend was a secret dream of the young Tarantino.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Siskel gave the movie a “thumbs down” purely because it put a child in danger. He also thought the characters in Terminator came from another planet, instead of the future. What an idiot. Ebert was always the better, and less snobbish, of the two.

  • Stalkeye

    Cunt or no, My Arse wil be seeing Hateful Eight this X-Mas!

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Yes, it’s definitely a case of Tarantino writing his fantasies into the script. He’s said the same about the Patricia Arquette character in True Romance.

  • Spinkles

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love Pulp Fiction! But I guess, in my opinion, when compared to LOG, the characters are just a little cartoonish and hip. The players in LOG resonate as real and conflicted. There’s nothing “romantic” or fun about LOG. It’s a well defined narrative of a certain east coast epoch. I still catch shit for my opinion that Reservoir Dogs is better than PF. But your point(s) are well taken.
    ????

  • Tarmac492.1

    “I like horror movies.” I am pretty sure I can quote Ebert on that. I remember that in one of his reviews. I thought he was crazy sometimes, his biggest problem with Aliens was that it was executed too well and too tense??? Umm,,, But he was a one of a kind, a dude I am sure would have talked to you for an hour about film if you were both stuck in the airport.

  • Stalkeye

    Well, at least he gave Escape from New York a thumbs up while Ebert said it was “Too Comicbooky”.

    Say, wuuuuut???

  • Tarmac492.1

    Loved her.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    He’s still one of the few that can consistently get me to the theater no matter what movie he makes. But he’s way too full of himself and his own legacy in interviews these days. I also didn’t care for his opinion of Craven’s direction of Scream, either, although admittedly that was shortly before the man died. I’m sure Tarantino thinks some post-modern hipster asshole like his buddy Edgar Wright would do a better job. As if…

  • Stalkeye

    Cameron kicked Alien franchise into overdrive while Fincher crashed it into a brick wall.

  • Stalkeye

    I can see why you would choose Reservoir Dogs over PF. That’s another damn good film I can watch whenever its on TV (Uncensored of course.)

  • Tarmac492.1

    Agreed. PF had beautiful dialogue of the best of the crime novelists. I like LOG for it’s honest portrayal of losers who stole shampoo until their moron buddy drove up with a sack full of guns.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Amen. And now Ridley and Blomkamp will bludgeon the corpse while shitting on it repeatedly.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Agreed on the theater going. I have seen all his films, except Death proof, in the theater. PTA I always try to get to the theater as well.

  • Stalkeye

    Not holding my breath on the “sequoot” to be a hit.

  • Spinkles

    Well put.
    The lead character tries to keep his homie from going down a path that he knows will end badly,he’s a mentor of sorts. I really sympathized with his failure at the end.
    ????

  • Spinkles

    Dude…LOG, is a totally different vibe.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Some might forget the indie powerhouse Edie Falco was before The Sopranos. A great actress. I hated Carmela. What a cunt. Tony should have murdered that thankless bitch, Man, was she great in that role!!!

  • Spinkles

    Yes! I mentioned that in an above post. She’s fantastic in FOG. I love the scene she has with the thief back from Florida whose sleeping on her couch.
    ????

  • Mine, too.

  • XD

  • Bop

    Never heard of this movie, Thanks for the introduction, Tarmac.

    And I have no doubt that it is better than Pulp Fiction, because I really don’t like Pulp Fiction except for “English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?”

  • Bop

    I agree. Pulp Fiction sucks.

  • Phillyflopper

    “Okay, Mr. Porter, you got balls, man.”xD

  • KilliK

    but Ebert thought the Terminator was a Dirty Harry/Chuck Norris movie..

    fuck all “professional” film critics, if you ask me..

  • KilliK

    EFNY has a comicbook feel, but that is not a reason to disregard the movie.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I think Jackie Brown has one of DeNiro;s last great performances. And it is a role when he isnt being “DeNiro”.

  • Tarmac492.1

    What about Sam’s riff on ‘The Killer” a nice Tarantino touch added to the Elmore Leonard vibe. I believe Leonard was a great influence on QT, if I am not mistaken? I think JB disappointed at the box office. Everyone was expecting PF II and he went in a completely different direction which I loved.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Do you get sick of us asking you to write articles, Turd? Would love to hear you expand on the revisionist “purist” BS.

  • Tarmac492.1

    would like to see that hyperactive chatterbox direct a proper horror flick, too. Not that nonsensical Death proof shit that is only watchable because of how cool it looks and the inherent awesomeness of one Kurt Russell. A cameo by the too little seen Nicky Katt helped too. But man listening to those broads squawk like Penguins was tough to take. I’m not being anti-women I am being anti-stupid conversation.

  • Stalkeye

    Unfortunately, the longwinded dialog between the Female protagonists, really pissed on what could have been the stronger out of the two Grindhouse films. (You know you have a very disappointing Movie when the mock trailers were more exciting than the feature.)

    QT can’t top himself it seems. (;’

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  • Tarmac492.1

    I hope you die at home, too.

  • I’ve been banging the RD > PF drum for over a decade now and I stand by my old theory from AICN that the majority of those who prefer PF and consider is amazing saw it before RD, whereas if you saw RD first you prefer it and don’t see the big deal with PF.

  • Spinkles

    That’s a pretty sound theory. I fit in with it’s formula, having seen RD, first. ????

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Best gun EVER. I also remember how much of a revelation it was to me to see a sci-fi film that had projectile weapons as opposed to the “pew! pew!” Laser guns we had seen in Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. I was done with lasers in my sci-fi after that.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Oh god, I remember that. The infamous “thumbs down for Aliens because it’s too scary” review.

  • Sagamanus

    I don’t know if it’s better than Pulp Fiction as I have not seen this film. But your review had made me want to. It goes down on my list of films to watch this week.