May 032012

The screenwriter, Ebbe Roe Smith, appears in the film as the driver who helps push D-FENS’s car off the freeway.  Smith is an actor who has appeared in several other films, including Brubaker and as John Goodman’s partner in The Big Easy.  He wrote Falling Down in ten weeks after being inspired by an article in the newspaper about a truck driver who began ramming cars in front of him on a freeway.

The ending song is titled, “I Didn’t Slip, I Wasn’t Pushed, I Fell.”

Falling Down takes place on Wednesday, June 12, 1991.

At one point, Foster says to Beth (Barbara Hershey), “’Till death do us part?  Does that ring a bell?”  A virtually identical line was said to her by her husband in another film, Paris Trout; Dennis Hopper played her husband.

The mural on the wall of the Army surplus store has a picture of military men in a rubber raft. The most prominent face appears to be that of Nick (Frederic Forrest), inside the store.

The scene where the Hispanic gangsters drive by to shoot Foster has a slight parallel to the Los Angeles riots.  In both cases, the minority tries to get back at the White, but ends up killing and destroying their own neighborhoods.  Virtually all the victims of the drive-by, including a three-year old girl, were Hispanic.

D-FENS near a mural near the drive-by shooting.

Michael Douglas has a small cold sore that seems to come and go, depending on the scene.

The poster for the film shows Foster on top of the cement block, with the city in the background. Foster is shown much bigger than life, standing on the concrete block.  On two places, silhouettes of falling figures can be seen; the larger of the two is on the far left side of the block. Also, the Coke can is slightly smaller but still recognizable.  And, the scene is a bit inaccurate, because at the time he was on the hill, he did not have the gun, only the baseball bat.

Several reviews (including Roger Ebert’s) said that the character was known only as D-FENS.  This is, of course, inaccurate.  His name is William (Bill—“He likes Bill”)  Foster.

Falling Down was first screened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 8, 1993.  I went to see it on the last day of final exams at UNM.  I saw it again one week later, the day I received my bachelor’s degree. Clint Eastwood’s Western Unforgiven opened two weeks later.

In an interview published in Playboy, Kirk Douglas, Michael’s father, said he considers Falling Down to be Michael’s best work. In the director’s commentary on the Falling Down DVD, Michael Douglas said he believes his work in the film was his best since Wall Street (1987).

Foster was featured on the cover of the March 29, 1993 issue of Newsweek.  The headline was “White Male Paranoia: Are They The Newest Victims—or Just Bad Sports?”

Dedee Pfeiffer, Michelle Pfeiffer’s younger sister who plays Whammyburger clerk Sheila (“You can call me Miss Folsom if you like…”), appeared in the February 2002 issue of Playboy magazine.

Falling Down was parodied in The Foo Fighters’ music video for their song “Walk.”

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