Twister (1989)

“There’s a natural disaster in the heartland of America. It’s called the Cleveland family.” Alongside Eraserhead, I nominate Twister as one of the weirdest American films ever made. It’s definitely not for all tastes and especially if you dislike Crispin Glover, who stars as “Howdy,” a member of the eccentric Cleveland family, a group of lunatics living in a mansion somewhere in Kansas before an impending storm. Howdy wears a purple suit and boasts a page-boy haircut that makes him look like a cross between Prince Valiant and Emo Phillips. Harry Dean Stanton costars as patriarch “Eugene Cleveland,” who made his fortune off soda pop and miniature golf (not kidding!). Directed by Michael Almereyda, Twister (not to be confused with the plotless 1996 blockbuster of the same name starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt) was based on Mary Robison’s 1981 novel Oh! The cast also includes Suzy Amis, Dylan McDermott, Jenny Wright, Lois Chiles, Lindsay Christman, Charlayne Woodard and (very briefly) Tim Robbins. Look for a cameo by the “Godfather of Punk,” legendary author William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch), who can be seen taking target practice in a barn.

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