Battle of the Exes P. Smith vs. S. Shepard: “Nobody Gets the Money“

Battle of the Exes

In probably my most oxymoronic relationship of all time (think Dickens “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times”), my then boyfriend would cite an old Superman episode line by a chagrinned Jimmy Olsen, “Aw, nobody got the money,” when neither of us reached the summit (a coitus euphemism).

And now I must say in the tussle between two former exes who both were in movies I saw this weekend, that nobody got the money in film either. The ‘frigid’ films were Patty Smith’s “The Dream of Life” actually from 2008, but re-released to indie theaters, like my Little Theater in Rochester, New York , and in the other corner, Sam Shepard in “Cold in July” starring beside Sam, Don Johnson and Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame.

First, Patty Smith’s “Dream of Life” wins merely because disorganized non-fiction is better than crazy buffoonish fiction. I actually saw this documentary when it first came out, and think more was added to the mayhem since its first incarnation. So, it’s a mess, but a pretty mess, with singing, poetry and a lot about Patty looking at her own mortality due to the death’s surrounding her (spouse and a former lover to name two). But I swear the former doc I saw ended with her and Flea on the beach, where this devolved further into more poetry and grave sites. Let’s just say her railing against George W. didn’t stand up to the test of time. But I really do love Patty Smith and feel guilty criticizing her film, yet less bad that it’s 9 years old and therefore, past the statute of limitation perhaps to be judged.

Second, “Cold in July”, which as the credits rolled looked at my dad (his Father’s Day outing) and said, “there’s a screenwriter who has got some dough to burn, because anyone with half a brain, would have questioned the hell out of the screenplay. Like, why didn’t the police ever care about Sam Shepard’s body being missing after it disappeared of the railroad tracks (the old Snidely Whiplash trick) or why did Michael C. Hall’s character quit caring about the scapegoat he killed? Or why is MC Hall’s town suddenly safe with rotten cops still in charge at the film’s end? And probably the largest question….why did critics give this a fairly high rating (a 92% early at last check on Rotten Tomatoes)?

I know vaguely the last answer because though I try not to read reviews before forming my own original opinion, I did see the critics mooning over Don Johnson’s southern charm of a role. Hopefully Melanie Griffith saw it, too, and the pair can go for marriage number 3, because while he’s certainly a handsome devil and a comic relief, he certainly could not turn the temperature up on this freezer burnt hot dog of a film.

As Jimmy said, “Aw nobody got the money”.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at


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