New edition of 1999 cult film brings the unique genre blend of crime, thriller, action, and coming-of-age to a newer, larger audience
Robert McGinley may not be a household name, but his fans are fervent and all 3 of his feature films have earned themselves a cult following. The most accessible and mainstream in style and form is 1999’s Jimmy Zip, a longer form version of his 1996 short film of the same name. While it wasn’t necessarily a huge success, it certainly shares the vibe of several other great, better known genre bending dramatic thrillers of the late 1990s. Starring a young Brendan Fletcher (Tideland, Violent Night, The Revenant) and a menacing Chris Mulkey (Twin Peaks, Boardwalk Empire), the gutter punk energy, coming-of-age plot, and weaving in of some crime thriller aesthetics – the dramatic work is a film that deserves many more eyes on it and thanks to the new restoration of the film, it’s starting to get exactly that.
The motivation to restore and recut Jimmy Zip is inspired by the world of the story that focuses on homelessness and teen gutter punk culture which is even more of a problem today than when the film was originally produced. Revisiting the story also gave editor Howard Flaer and myself an opportunity to fine tune an ending that serves an iconic rite of passage story.
McGinley himself has been rolling the film out beginning this past April with the premiere in Beverly Hills. Since then, the film has begun creating a buzz and generated some great press.
The film itself follows the eponymous Jimmy Zip (Fletcher) as a down-and-out runaway and fledgling pryomaniac who’s drawn into the world of crime when a crime boss, Mulkey’s Rick Conesco, hires him as a bike messenger/errand boy to make drug and money drops. One night while causing some havoc in a junkyard with friends, his jacket is taken by the man they are tormenting. The jacket just happens to have $20,000 of Rick’s money in it. The man who took the jacket, a vagrant and artist named Horace (longtime character actor Robert Gossett), befriends and recruits Jimmy to use his love of fire to make incredible modern art pieces. But Rick still wants his money… so the cat-and-mouse game begins.
While the film has a decided late 90s flair, its unique take on the crime movie, paired with Fletcher’s solid on-screen chemistry with Gossett and a younger Adrienne Frantz of The Bold and the Beautiful as Jimmy’s love interest Sheila, really gives it a feeling of its own. A truly entertaining piece of cinema, it’s a must see for fans of low to mid budget genre films of the mid to late 90s. The coming-of-age threads also really help to tie the film together, even ending with an epilogue that allows the viewer to picture where the story leads after the final shot.
Keep your eyes peeled for future release info for streaming and screenings at the Boom! Cult website, where you can also grab a copy on DVD.