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The Last Stop in Yuma County movie review (2024)

There's an elderly couple; when the wife (Robin Bartlett) isn't knitting and the husband (Jean Jones) isn't snoring at the tables, he's forcing his way into the minds of the other diners. Also arriving at the diner are two young criminals, Miles (Ryan Masson) and Sybil (Sierra McCormick), who think they're the next Bonnie and Clyde. Everyone in the restaurant is carrying a weapon of some kind. This is not a hug-and-hugging movie.

Galuppi, who also edited the film, has clearly studied and absorbed much from the oeuvre of the Coen brothers and Sam Raimi (as a member of the repertory company, Gene Jones appeared in No Country for Old Men). Watching Yuma County, it's clear that Galuppi immediately began writing and directing The Evil Dead, based on an original idea he pitched to Raimi shortly after making his feature debut with this film.

Yuma County is in the vein of a subgenre of gritty American crime films from the 1980s and '90s that included the Coen brothers' Blood Simple and Fargo and Raimi's The Gift and A Simple Plan. These films made you laugh, punctuated it with spectacular violence, and then laughed again because the characters looked their worst, bleeding out. (In Fargo, Steve Buscemi's kidnapper grimaces and groans as he holds a blood-stained cloth over a bullet wound in his face.)

The film is great, but you may wish it had been better, or had a bit more substance, right up until the final act. For a moment, it seems like the film has hit a premature climax or run out of steam with 30 minutes to go. Then it veers into the kind of gloriously hopeless black comedy that defines cult classics. Cummings is at the center of this final act, and the perfect anchor. He appears in a toned-down version of the loudmouth weasel persona he sported in 2021's “Beta,” a black comedy about an amoral Hollywood agent who suffered greatly for his sins but was too arrogant to learn and grow. Cummings is conventionally handsome, the kind of standard Anglo-Saxon suburbanites of the 1950s, yet unrealistic and unsettling today. He's the face of a black-and-white TV ad. His very existence is satirical.

But Cummings is more than an Eisenhower-era sight gag. I've never seen anything match the energy he exudes playing a character in denial despite the trappings he's in. He's at his best here. When the character gets so crazy that Cummings squirms and stumbles and stutters and whines in panic, it's like watching Kermit the Frog in a film noir.

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