|24HMM #22 (04.11.15 - 04.12.15, 4 movies)|
|04.11.15||The Wanderers||Philip Kaufman||So... my buddies George and Daniel and Chris have been doing their own 24-hour movie marathons for a long time now and I've never gone. Part of that is because of my experiences with Butt-numb-a-thon where, spectacle aside, it's really an endurance challenge to remain coherent through the whole night. While there is a certain pleasure that comes from falling asleep in a theater, drifting in and out of consciousness while a movie plays, I often wind up with little to no memory of the movies themselves and it wrecks my next day or two afterward. However, George and co. have always been friendly and inviting to their events so I've felt bad for not going and this time, since I have no job to keep me down, I decided to go and watch some movies then come home when I got tired.|
I got there just as Martin was ending. Just a quick note about how great George's setup is: A lot of people have home theater setups... George has like... a theater in his home. I mean he didn't have a projectionist with 35mm reel to reels back there or anything but he did have a nice projector, huge screen, 7.1 sound, a couple couches, chairs, and two rows of theater seats in a little stadium setup. Couple that with plex and you couldn't have a better setting for a marathon. There were maybe a dozen people there.
The first movie I saw is Philip Kaufman's The Wanderers. I had no idea what this movie was. Really I had no idea that this movie existed. It's a snapshot of The Bronx in 1963 and the world of neighborhood street gangs populated by high school guys. This film has some amazing bona fides. Based on a book by Richard Price, written and directed by Philip Kaufman (falling in between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Right Stuff), featuring a huge cast of young actors (including a pre-Raiders Karen Allen and a bunch of familiar faces like Omar from HBO's OZ and Angie Bonpensiero from The Sopranos), shot by Michael Chapman, casted by Scott Rudin, with an amazing soundtrack of like every early 60s rock hit ever.
It feels kind of like a mix between The Warriors and The Outsiders but this was 79, same year as Warriors and 4 years before Outsiders. The tone and pacing are a little confused which I think is why this movie fell through the cracks but there's still just a ton of charm and emotion that makes it worth watching. I was really surprised and impressed with this.
It also drew a startling thought. A 79 movie set in 63 would be like making a movie today and setting it in 2000. It might be because I'm getting older and more disconnected from pop culture but it seems like the difference between 15 years ago today and 15 years ago in 1979 is really huge. I'm not sure if I'd still think that if I had lived through it... but I certainly feel like the 80s and the 90s had style definitions of what was popular at the time that fit in tune with the 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s, and 30s. The 00s seem especially blah to me... but who knows... maybe 5 years from now it will seem different.
That was a long and rambling paragraph just to say that it struck me how it must not have been such a huge deal to get the soundtrack for this movie back when they did. I feel like if you used all these songs in a movie today you couldn't afford to pay any of the actors. But making a movie set in 2000 doesn't seem like a big deal at all. Time is weird. anyway...
|04.11.15||Death Game||Sondra Locke||The next movie I watched at George's house was Death Game starring Sondra Locke, Colleen Camp, and Seymour Cassel. I didn't know anything about this one either but afterward people mentioned that it is now being remade by Eli Roth with Keanu Reeves in the Seymour Cassel role. Ugh.|
So... watching this made me realize that it's been a long time since I've been to a Weird Wednesday or Terror Thursday (I know that it's Terror Tuesday now, it's still Terror Thursday in my head). My exploitation endurance is out of practice. Long time-filling scenes where the actors don't really have any lines so they just repeat things over and over again and eat food for way too long and laugh for no reason don't bounce off my attention span like they did when I was an Alamo regular. So watching this was kind of a chore for me because this movie had A LOT of that.
The plot of the movie is: these two young girls show up on a married man's doorstep. it's raining and they say they broke down or something and need to use his phone. His wife and kid are out of town so he says sure. They use the bathroom and wind up naked together in the tub, coaxing the guy in for a threeway. He says yes. Bad move. The girls go crazy, put him through psychological and mental torture, almost kill him, then leave. THE END. 90 minutes is a LONG TIME to tell that story.
However, Sondra Locke and Colleen Camp are each beautiful in their own right and they spend much of the movie nearly naked so... you know... it's not all bad. Especially if you're name is George. They say "George" about once every five seconds through the whole picture. And you know... even though I got a bit bored by the moment to moment of the movie, I also recognized when certain things happen that give the movie value. At one point Sondra Lock paints up her face, adding these crazy question marks to her eyebrows making her look kind of demonic. It's a very impactful image and someone could make a hell of a poster out of that. And also... the ending. the last thirty seconds... is great. As happens so often with these exploitation movies you spend so long at such a slow tedious pace that when something finally happens it's really jarring and effective.
So I really enjoyed having seen it. Watching it was just ok. I'm glad I saw it though and it's been growing on me.
|04.11.15||War Party||Franc Roddam||I didn't think I knew anything about this movie until I saw the synopsis that said Kevin Dillon and a native American battle re-enactment gone wrong. That sparked a memory from 25 years ago when I watched this on my neighbor buddy's recommendation. In his description, the native americans get pissed and start scalping dudes FOR REAL. It doesn't really play out that way in the film but I still remember my neighbor Cameron describing it to me and seeing Kevin Dillon running on horseback up into some mountains.|
So this became more about revisitation for me as I watched it again. It's... not a very good movie at all, but there is a scalping scene and Kevin Dillon does run from the law on horseback up into some mountains. I wonder where Cameron is and if he remembers liking this movie.
|04.11.15||The Wild Life||Art Linson||The fourth and last movie that I watched at George's house was The Wild Life, which I've been wanting to see for a real long time. I knew of it as Cameron Crowe's first produced script but had no idea who starred or what it was about. The gist I got from it was that it's a blueprint for Fast Times at Ridgemont High. It's a little looser in scope, the character threads don't quite connect like they do in Fast Times, but the slice of life format and the voice is very similar. It's kind of like if Fast Times was a single, this would be the B-side. I also got a strong Boogie Nights vibe from it just because of the time and place and Robert Ridgely in a small role.|
So the cast is chock full of young stars. Eric Stolz, Leah Thompson (oh man...) Chris Penn (not fat, bleach blonde hair), Rick Moranis, the other kid from Weird Science, the other cop from Jackie Brown, small appearances by Ben Stein, Lee Ving, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Dean Devlin, Ron Wood, and Nancy Wilson (Crowe also has a cameo but I didn't spot him). Score by Edward Van Halen. Again some serious firepower in this.
It was pretty fun. I started to get tired about halfway through which is unfortunate. Like The Wanderers, the plot might have been too loose for anyone to pay serious attention to it but as a slice of life movie, hanging out with these wacky kids and listening to music, it was pretty good. I'm really glad I finally got a chance to see this and in a great venue to boot.
After that I excused myself and came home to my bed. Those other dudes had seen 4 movies before I got there and had 4 more lined up when I left (I really wanted to see the next movie on the schedule - Yeti: The 20th Century Giant - but that would've put me home at 6am and I probably would've slept through most of it. Still, I had a great time for the third that I sat in for and appreciated everyone being so friendly. Good times.