Dame Helen Mirren, Hollywood's golden golden girl, is actually really good in this one. Joe Pesci, to borrow a line from Borat, "not so much!"
This is a great story though and apparently it's based in reality. As someone who used to live only about 40 miles from the love ranch, when I lived in Reno, I certainly appreciated the photography. I think they captured how eccentric and eery it can get up there.
Mirren's character, Grace Bontempo, and Armonda Bruza, an Argentian boxer who has been bought out by Charlie Bontempo, Pesci's character, are both kind of lost souls up there in northern Nevada in the cold.
The sparseness of their location and their situation is lost on Joe Pesci, who is too busy trying to expand his trashy empire of connected trailers and a watchmen's tower where he can oversee it all. "I got this idea in prison!" he says about the tower at some point.
This is directed by Taylor Hackford, who did Ray, and some other interesting things, such as the Devil's Advocate, Dolores Clairborne and Proof of Life.
I felt that this movie was well placed and well paced. I am not sure why it go so slammed in the general press.
"Despite its saucy setup and the always marvelous Helen Mirren, Love Ranch is disappointingly flaccid." says rotten tomatoes.
I didn't think it was flacid, I thought it was interesting. I just wish someone had told Joe Pesci that this isn't Goodfellas no more Dorothy!