TOBY N. TUCKER – U-Turn
It’s a sun blistered movie loaded with a rogue’s gallery of weirdos, white trash, and one wicked woman. All played by top notch actors. And Jennifer Lopez.
Out of characters populating U-TURN, there’s one wackadoo who stood out among the rest in director Oliver Stone’s neo noir fest. That honor goes to town wild card Toby N Tucker. His hillbilly blustering bravado played perfectly by Joaquin Phoenix.
Right from the get go of his entrance, we’re witnessing Phoenix rising up from supporting roles. Toby N. Tucker marks the start of Phoenix’s ascent to the acclaim and fame he has today as one of the best actors of his generation.
One-Touch Toby. TNT. Whatever the reigning man-child of Superior, Arizona wants to go by works for me. Imagine all of the ridiculous tough guy nicknames Toby must have to fit any situation he finds himself in requiring the settling up some man business. That’s a classic cinematic device to put a character sitting pretty in the catbird seat.
Tbe last time we see Toby, the dustbowl badass was fixing to face off in fisticuffs defending the honor of his girl Jenny (Claire Danes) against the stranger in town trying to make time with her. Bobby Cooper (Sean Penn) wants no part of the parcel. He’s a lover, not a fighter. But when Toby’s tantrum takes down Bobby’s literal ticket out of town? It’s on between the Shit Kicker vs. the City Slicker.
Guess we can add Talk Too Much Toby to that list nicknames.
For Toby’s return to the big screen, we’ll see a changed man. That’s right. A more mature Toby still resides in Superior, Arizona… and is now the Sheriff. Townsfolk respect the badge, but are a little skittish when Sheriff Tucker is among them. There’s just one thing missing.
Jenny is no longer his girl. Seems another fast car driving, fancy suit wearing stranger made a pit stop at the diner. A very similar situation happened with Toby calling the stranger out. Only this time Sheriff Potter wasn’t around to interrupt. When Toby woke up in the dusty alley, Sheriff Potter informed TNT Jenny’s AWOL, headed to Hollywood with the stranger after he put Toby’s light’s out with the first punch. With all the ruckus in him drowned in a sea of grief, Potter took pity on the heartbroken hillbilly and suggested Toby train to become a deputy. We’ll get this backstory out of the way by the first 15 minutes of the movie.
Until the night Toby is having his dinner at the diner. That’s when we see on the TV Bobby Cooper (Sean Penn doing a cameo here and near the end). Bobby survived the ordeal when we last left him. Now he’s a quasi-celebrity who’s best selling book accounting the events in U-Turn was turned into a movie which is already courting controversy with the casting of new ingénue Jenny in the role of Grace McKenna (Jennifer Lopez’s character).
The segment ends mentioning the movie’s premier is in just three days away and happening in Hollywood with Bobby and Jenny there to walk the red carpet. Toby rids himself of all his law enforcement accutremonts and vows to head to Hollywood in time for the premiere. That’s when the movie kicks off, with TNT going on a raging rampage through the lawless town, taking a vehicle of his choice, and lighting out for a road trip adventure to Hollywood.
The teaser trailer for this awaiting masterpiece would look something like this: