“People try to make me sound a lot… weird… and just, strong, you know, I’m strong!”–Crispin Glover on “Late Night with David Letterman”
“Talk about el weirdo.”–Ed, on Rubin
FEATURING: Howard Hessman, ,
PLOT: Ed is a recently-separated loser who joins “the Organization,” a cult-like real estate pyramid scheme. Rubin is a shut-in nerd whose mother takes away his boom box and refuses to return it until he makes a single friend. When Ed tries to recruit Rubin to attend an Organization seminar, Rubin agrees to go, on the condition that Ed helps him find a place to bury his dead pet cat.
- Rubin & Ed was Utah-based director Trent Harris’ first feature film after making the three documentary/narrative hybrid shorts known as “The Beaver Trilogy” (the first installment is a documentary featuring an oddball kid who performs in drag as Olivia Newton-John, while the next two recreate the first using actors and Crispin Glover, respectively).
- Glover created Rubin Farr for another role that never materialized. He convinced Harris, who was looking for a project for his feature film debut, to write a script around the character.
- In 1987, three years before Rubin & Ed began filming, a stuttering, awkward Crispin Glover appeared in character as Rubin on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Letterman thought Glover was there to promote River’s Edge, and walked off his own set when Glover almost kicked him in the head while wearing Rubin’s giant platform shoes. The segment only lasted a little over four minutes. Many Americans who saw it live assumed Glover was wasted on psychedelic drugs.
- Although it had a reasonable degree of star power and was produced by major independent Working Title Films (who released the Palme d’Or winning Barton Fink the same year), Rubin & Ed initially received terrible reviews made a mere $15,000 in its original theatrical run. The film flopped so badly that the studio pulled funding for another Trent Harris project that had already been greenlit. Rubin & Ed later found a small cult following on VHS.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Rubin’s happy hallucination, which features his previously-dead cat alive and waterskiing while its owner relaxes in a floating inner-tube wearing shoes with two foot heels, on which the bikini babe motoring the speedboat compliments him.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Weaponized platform shoes; waterskiing cat; insole slurping
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Though structured as a quirky comedy, not too different from the usual outing of the period, Rubin and Ed has a gaggle of weird points in its favor, including a hallucination scene with a water skiing cat and a lunatic Crispin Glover playing something very near the Crispin Glover-iest character ever written. Its sense of humor is so eccentric that it’s been forced off-road to become strictly a cult curiosity.
Trailer for Rubin & Ed
COMMENTS: “It’s going to get weird now, isn’t it?,” frets Ed, after Continue reading 255. RUBIN & ED (1991)