Film review: Destiny Turns on the Radio

Published: Wednesday, May 3 1995 12:00 a.m. MDT

Quentin Tarantino, who won an Oscar for co-writing "Pulp Fiction," turns up as an actor-for-hire in "Destiny Turns On the Radio" playing the title character — Mr. Destiny.

He is an enigmatic character who comes in and out of the lives of several Las Vegas residents in this quirky effort, which bills itself as a "metaphysical comedy."

Those metaphysical aspects belong to Mr. Destiny, who — in a flashback — rises phoenix-like from a Vegas motel swimming pool. But does he have a message of some kind for mortals? No. Instead, he simply takes a cache of stolen loot and a 1969 Plymouth — and disappears.

As the film opens, Mr. Destiny is driving back to Las Vegas when he picks up escaped bank robber Julian (Dylan McDermott) and gives him a lift. After he's dropped off, Julian is informed by his partner Thoreau (James LeGros) that their money and his car were stolen three years earlier. But it takes them awhile to connect Mr. Destiny with the missing loot.

Thoreau runs the Marilyn Motel, with rooms named after Marilyn Monroe's movies — "The Misfits," "Some Like It Hot," etc. And he's been waiting for the return of both Julian and Mr. Destiny.

The money is only half of Julian's motivation for returning, however. He also wants to find his girl Lucille (Nancy Travis), a lounge singer who has taken up with nasty casino-owner Tuerto (James Belushi).

Other characters who pop up for extended cameos are Bobcat Goldthwait as an undercover cop, Allen Garfield as a music mogul and Tracey Walter as Julian's goofy father. (Walter fares best here.)

"Destiny Turns On the Radio" is an idea that doesn't seem to have been thought out. As it moves along, the whimsy becomes less amusing, the dialogue less clever, and in the end there are too many questions left unanswered.

In fact, in just a few years I suspect this movie will be little more than a footnote in trivia books: Name two movies in which James Belushi played opposite a character named "Mr. Destiny." (Does anyone remember that Belushi starred in "Mr. Destiny," in which the title character was played by Michael Caine?)

"Destiny Turns On the Radio" is rated R for violence, profanity, vulgarity and marijuana smoking.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS