Insomnia File No. 3: Love is a Gun (dir by David Hartwell)

What’s an Insomnia File? You know how some times you just can’t get any sleep and, at about three in the morning, you’ll find yourself watching whatever you can find on cable? This feature is all about those insomnia-inspired discoveries!

Love is a GunIf you were suffering from insomnia last night, at around 2 in the morning, you could have turned on Showtime and watched Love is a Gun, an odd little thriller from 1994.

How odd is Love Is a Gun?  It’s so odd that it stars Eric Roberts.  Roberts plays Jack, a photographer with problems.  His longtime girlfriend, Isabelle (Eliza Roberts), refuses to forgive him for cheating on her in the past and demands that he put a ring on her finger.  (Jack, for his part, has bought a ring but he keeps losing it.)  Jack is haunted by a reoccurring dream, in which he sees himself with a gun pointed at his head.  Isabelle says that the dream means that Jack needs to give her a ring.  Jack says it’s all about deja vu.

Jack gets a job working as a crime scene investigator.  He meets a detective who is so crazy that he’s played by R. Lee Ermey.  Jack takes pictures of dead bodies.  His colleagues make macabre jokes.  A local reporter offers to pay Jack for insider information.  Ermey asks Jacks to help cover up a crime.  Jack has visions of a line of well-dressed detectives shooting at him, firing squad style.  Eventually, Jack ends up sitting in a living room, an anonymous body at his feet, and watching a soap opera.  The actors on TV repeat dialogue that we’ve heard Jack and Isabelle say earlier in the film.  Jack starts to giggle and is soon laughing like a maniac.  A detective steps into the living room and asks Jack if he remembered to take a picture of the body in the bathroom.  “Oh yeah,” Jack says, “I forgot about that…”

Jack meets a model named Jean (Kelly Preston).  He takes pictures of her wearing a bridal gown and occasionally playing dead.  He realizes that he’s already seen the exact same pictures that he’s just taken.  Somebody left them in his locker at work but the images of Jean faded to black as soon as he looked at them.  He asks Jean if this is all an elaborate joke.  “Take the shot, Jack,” Jean replies.

Soon, Jean and Jack are having an affair.  Jean tells Jack that she has a strange rash.  Jack imagines that there’s a hole in Jean’s forehead.  A man claiming to be Jean’s husband shows up and wishes Jack luck because his wife is crazy.

Jack goes back to Isabelle.  Isabelle demands the ring.  Jack freaks out and returns to Jean.  Jean says she’s pregnant but then says she isn’t.  Jack giggles and then cries.  He goes back and forth between the two women, constantly begging for forgiveness as beads of sweat collect on his forehead.

Jack’s watch stops.  He tries to get it repaired.  An old man yells at him that his watch is cursed and cannot be repaired because it might infect all of the other watches in the man’s shop.

And, after all of that, the movie starts to get really weird…

Love Is A Gun does eventually offer up an explanation as to what’s going on.  It doesn’t make a bit of sense but somehow, the total incoherence of it all adds to this low-budget film’s charm.  Full of surreal images and intentionally odd dialogue, Love Is A Gun is compulsively watchable.

It also features a genuinely strange performance from Eric Roberts.  Roberts goes through the film with this goofy smile on his face, except for the scenes when Jack gets upset.  When Jack is upset, Roberts stomps his feet, jumps up and down, yells out every other line of dialogue, and contorts his body in some truly weird ways.  When he gets really angry, he grabs can after can of beer and furiously shakes them before opening, causing the beer to drench his face.  Eric Roberts’s lead performance is literally one of the oddest things that I have ever seen and it’s worth watching Love Is A Gun just to experience it.

Previous Insomnia Files:

  1. The Story of Mankind
  2. Stag

54 responses to “Insomnia File No. 3: Love is a Gun (dir by David Hartwell)

  1. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 4: Nina Takes A Lover (dir by Alan Jacobs) | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 5: Black Ice (dir by Neill Fearnley) | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 6: Frogs For Snakes (dir by Amos Poe) | Through the Shattered Lens

  4. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 7: Fair Game (dir by Andrew Sipes) | Through the Shattered Lens

  5. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 8: From the Hip (dir by Bob Clark) | Through the Shattered Lens

  6. Pingback: Insomnia File #9: Born Killers (dir by Morgan J. Freeman) | Through the Shattered Lens

  7. Pingback: Insomnia File #10: Eye For An Eye (dir by John Schlesinger) | Through the Shattered Lens

  8. Pingback: Insomnia File #11: Summer Catch (dir by Mike Tollin) | Through the Shattered Lens

  9. Pingback: Insomnia File #12: Beyond The Law (dir by Larry Ferguson) | Through the Shattered Lens

  10. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 14: Promise (dir by Glenn Jordan) | Through the Shattered Lens

  11. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 15: George Wallace (dir by John Frankenheimer) | Through the Shattered Lens

  12. Pingback: Insomina File No. 16: Kill The Messenger (dir by Michael Cuesta) | Through the Shattered Lens

  13. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 17: The Suburbans (dir by Donal Lardner Ward) | Through the Shattered Lens

  14. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 18: Only The Strong (dir by Sheldon Lettich) | Through the Shattered Lens

  15. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 19: Great Expectations (dir by Alfonso Cuaron) | Through the Shattered Lens

  16. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 20: Casual Sex? (dir by Geneviève Robert) | Through the Shattered Lens

  17. Pingback: Insomnia File #21: Truth (dir by James Vanderbilt) | Through the Shattered Lens

  18. Pingback: Insomnia File #22: Insomnia (dir by Christopher Nolan) | Through the Shattered Lens

  19. Pingback: Insomnia File #23: Death Do Us Part (dir by Nicholas Humphries) | Through the Shattered Lens

  20. Pingback: Insomnia File #24: A Star is Born (dir by Frank Pierson) | Through the Shattered Lens

  21. Pingback: Insomnia File #25: The Winning Season (dir by James C. Strouse) | Through the Shattered Lens

  22. Pingback: Insomnia File #26: Rabbit Run (dir by Jack Smight) | Through the Shattered Lens

  23. Pingback: Insomnia File #27: Remember My Name (dir by Alan Rudolph) | Through the Shattered Lens

  24. Pingback: Insomina File #28: The Arrangement (dir by Elia Kazan) | Through the Shattered Lens

  25. Pingback: A Horror Insomnia File #29: Day of the Animals (dir by William Girdler) | Through the Shattered Lens

  26. Pingback: A Suspenseful Insomnia File #30: Still Of The Night (dir by Robert Benton) | Through the Shattered Lens

  27. Pingback: Insomnia File #31: Arsenal (dir by Steve C. Miller) | Through the Shattered Lens

  28. Pingback: Insomnia File #32: Smooth Talk (dir by Joyce Chopra) | Through the Shattered Lens

  29. Pingback: Insomnia File #33: The Comedian (dir by Taylor Hackford) | Through the Shattered Lens

  30. Pingback: Insomnia File #34: The Minus Man (dir by Hampton Fancher) | Through the Shattered Lens

  31. Pingback: Insomnia File #35: Donnie Brasco (dir by Mike Newell) | Through the Shattered Lens

  32. Pingback: Insomnia File #36: Punchline (dir by David Seltzer) | Through the Shattered Lens

  33. Pingback: Insomnia File #37: Evita (dir by Alan Parker) | Through the Shattered Lens

  34. Pingback: Insomnia File #38: Six: The Mark Unleashed (dir by Kevin Downes) | Through the Shattered Lens

  35. Pingback: Insomnia File #39: Disclosure (dir by Barry Levinson) | Through the Shattered Lens

  36. Pingback: Insomnia File #40: The Spanish Prisoner (dir by David Mamet) | Through the Shattered Lens

  37. Pingback: Insomnia File #41: Elektra (dir by Rob Bowman) | Through the Shattered Lens

  38. Pingback: Insomnia File #42: Revenge (dir by Tony Scott) | Through the Shattered Lens

  39. Pingback: Insomnia File #43: Legend (dir by Brian Helgeland) | Through the Shattered Lens

  40. Pingback: Insomnia File #45: The Pyramid (dir by Gary Kent) | Through the Shattered Lens

  41. Pingback: Insomnia File #46: Enter the Ninja (dir by Menahem Golan) | Through the Shattered Lens

  42. Pingback: Insomnia File #47: Downhill (dir by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash) | Through the Shattered Lens

  43. Pingback: Insomnia File #49: Mystery Date (dir by Jonathan Wacks) | Through the Shattered Lens

  44. Pingback: Insomnia File #50: Zola (dir by Janicza Bravo) | Through the Shattered Lens

  45. Pingback: Insomnia File #51: Ira & Abby (dir by Robert Clary) | Through the Shattered Lens

  46. Pingback: Insomnia File #52: The Next Karate Kid (dir by Christopher Cain) | Through the Shattered Lens

  47. Pingback: Insomnia File #53: A Nightmare on Drug Street (dir by Traci Wald Donat) | Through the Shattered Lens

  48. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 54: Jud (dir by Gunther Collins) | Through the Shattered Lens

  49. Pingback: Insomnia File No. 55: FTA (dir by Francine Parker) | Through the Shattered Lens

  50. Pingback: Insomnia File #56: Exterminators of the Year 3000 (dir by Giuliano Carmineo) | Through the Shattered Lens

  51. Pingback: Insomnia File #57: Boris Karloff: The Man Behind The Monster (dir by Thomas Hamilton) | Through the Shattered Lens

  52. Pingback: Insomnia File #58: The Haunting of Helen Walker (dir by Tom McLoughlin) | Through the Shattered Lens

  53. Pingback: The Eric Roberts Collection: Top Gunner (dir by Daniel Lusko) | Through the Shattered Lens

  54. Pingback: The Eric Roberts Collection: Deadline (dir by Curt Hahn) | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.