My Favorite Movie: Kelcey Ayer of Local Natives and Jaws of Love. on “The Fifth Element” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, June 19th, 2024  

My Favorite Movie: Kelcey Ayer of Local Natives and Jaws of Love. on “The Fifth Element”

(1997, directed by Luc Besson)

Jul 28, 2023 Issue #70 - My Favorite Movie (Sharon Van Etten and Ezra Furman) Photography by Joey Wasilewski Bookmark and Share

My all-time favorite movie is a bat-shit sci-fi film called The Fifth Element. It’s one of the most creative, fun, insane movies ever made, and I can’t believe this was only Luc Besson’s second English language film (he went from Léon: The Professional to this). It’s got all the hallmarks of a great adventure film: humor, some scary moments, incredible action sequences, romance, but with all these wild quirks that only a cocky French filmmaker could pull off. It’s so colorful in every sense of the word, from the expansive sets to the garish costuming, plus some of the cutest, wobbly, chunky alien robot guys you’ve ever seen.

And while Besson should be canonized for taking the chances he took, it’s the performances that seal the deal. Every side-character had enough charisma to carry their own movies: the mugger outside Korben’s apartment, the General, the Chinese-food proprietor, the airport ground crew getting high off their flame-thrower while killing rainbow parasites, Korben’s mother, the blue alien opera singer, the deaf body-builder Royalty dude in white faux-fur boots… I forget what his deal was, but the list goes on and on.

Then there are the main players, every one of them pitch-perfect. From Bruce Willis as the reluctant hero Korben, to Milla Jovovich’s unflinching commitment as a million-year old alien, to Gary Oldman as a lovable psychopath (per usual, but in space!), to Ian Holm as the faithful, nervous priest. But the greatest of them all, the pièce de résistance, has to be Chris Tucker as radio DJ personality Ruby Rhod. This is one of the most bonkers, unabashedly flamboyant, and amazing performances ever captured on film, and he should have been nominated for an Oscar for it (I know it’s not an “Oscar” role that should have won, I’m just saying could have been their Jack Sparrow-nom for that year). Plus the movie has Tricky in it, and in 1997 you don’t get cooler than that.

Citizen Kane can eat my ass! The Fifth Element is the greatest movie ever made! Rosebud? Try Ruby Rhod! Not a good comparison? B-zzzzzz!

(Kelcey Ayer is the singer/keyboardist/guitarist in the Los Angeles-based band Local Natives. The band’s lineup also features Taylor Rice, Ryan Hahn, Matt Frazier, and Nik Ewing. Local Natives’ most recent album was 2023’s Time Will Wait For No One. Ayer also has a solo project, Jaws of Love., and his sophomore album under that name, Second Life, was a November 2022 release.)


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