Catching up with Cassavetes: #6 – “Minnie and Moskowitz” (1971)

Screen+shot+2012-03-26+at+2.09.47+PMI still find it strange that when talks of Cassavetes arises that seldom does this one get mentioned right away as being one of his best. Heck, it’s not even featured in his Criterion Collection box set. If you own this box set and have not seen this yet, go see it right God damn now! It is one hell of a wacky date movie, that’s for sure.

“Oh Minnie, you’re so fine. You’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Minnie! Hey Minnie!”

“Oh Moskowitz, you’re so… uhhh… you’re so… bonkers. You’re also obsessive, manic, and just the right amount of crazy to make me want to spend the rest of my life with you, regardless of what our mothers think of our relationship. Hey, let’s tell our moms that after knowing each other for just a week that we’re getting married. Let’s tell them over a very awkward dinner. So what if you love me so much you could hit me. It doesn’t matter because you sweep me off of my feet. You are my knight in shining mustache, Moskowitz.”

That right there pretty much sums it up. This is a love story, but it’s a love story given the Cassavetes treatment, which means its energy, rhythm, and unfiltered emotional characters chomp away at the scenery like Pac-man would if thrusted into an uninvited level of Frogger (Pac-man being the film’s script, acting style, and overall aesthetics, Frogger being the traditional love story). Okay, not the best analogy, but hopefully good enough to make my point. My point is this, the idea of happily-ever-after doesn’t seem to be a notion Cassavetes has much interest in entertaining, yet here he does – even if it comes tied to a closing montage that would suggest a fate of suburban dread awaits these two similar to that of his previous two films Husbands and Faces.

A review of this film, as short as this one is, would not feel complete without at least some mention of the actors, who, like in almost all of Cassavetes’ films up until this point, are fantastic to the point of feeling way too real at times. Oh sure, both Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel turn in nothing less than their expected exceptional performances but the real scene stealer comes from the great character actor Val Avery as one of Minnie’s failed dates in a scene that gives scary new meaning to the words socially awkward (see clip below).


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Categories: Director Spotlight, Reviews


  1. Catching up with Cassavetes: #8 – “The Killing of a Chinese Bookie” (1976) | - November 28, 2014

    […] up with Cassavetes: #5 – “Husbands” (1970) Catching up with Cassavetes: #6 – “Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) Catching up with Cassavetes: #7 – “A Woman Under the Influence” […]

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    […] Catching up with Cassavetes: #5 – “Husbands” (1970) Catching up with Cassavetes: #6 – “Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) Catching up with Cassavetes: #7 – “A Woman Under the Influence” (1974) Catching up with […]

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