Run time: 110 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 18th February 1999
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Production compaines: Hollywood Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 34
IMDB: 4.6 / 10
Director: Alan Rudolph
Screenwriter: Alan Rudolph
Starring: Bruce Willis as Dwayne Hoover, Albert Finney as Kilgore Trout, Nick Nolte as Harry Le Sabre, Barbara Hershey as Celia Hoover, Glenne Headly as Francine Pefko, Lukas Haas as George 'Bunny' Hoover
Witness The English Patient, which turned out to be filmable after all. And then there was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which wasn't. But maybe unfilmable is the wrong word. Breakfast of Champions might have proved filmable, but it sure isn't watchable.
This, of course, saddens me greatly. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author ever, and Breakfast of Champions was his first book that I read. It made enough of an impression for me to track down his entire oeuvre, which I have devoured. This film just shouldn't have been made, sadly. Take Cat's Cradle (his second-best work after Slaugherhouse-Five) next time - that ought to make a great film.
Why is this Breakfast so bad? Because the book is about craziness. Dwayne Hoover (Willis) is a crazy auto salesman, married to a crazy wife (Hershey), and he becomes obsessed with a crazy sci-fi writer named Kilgore Trout (Finney). Trout's sales manager (Nolte) is also a crazy guy that likes to dress in women's lingerie, and his secretary (Headley) isn't all together. Oh, and Trout's son (Haas) wants to be a lounge singer named Bunny.
What made the book so good is that you can go inside these characters, heads, plus Vonnegut's writing style is so nutty that it all actually works. Director Rudolph tries to do this, too, with wacky camera angles, digital effects, and other tricks, but none of this works. In fact, it's just annoying and is barely entertaining for even a minute. A couple of wisecracks aside, this Breakfast is unedible.
Sorry, Vonnegut fans. Just let it go this time. Goodbye, Blue Monday!