|The Stunt Man
|Movie About Movies
| So... for like my old college buddies that still for whatever reason read this site... over the past year you probably haven't been recognizing 75% of the titles that I've been seeing. That touches on a point I've made before in these notes... that one of the best things the Alamo has turned me on to is this "other" world of movies that, for one reason or another, just aren't talked about anymore by mainstream voices. Nonetheless, these movies do exist and they were made by people many of whom are still alive and within this realm there are auteurs and hacks just like in the Hollywood that gets special-edition DVD releases. What's great about the Alamo is that they treaure these guys just as much as the other big guys... so when someone like John Saxon or Jim Kelly comes to town they are just as excited as Peter Bogdanovich or Quentin Tarantino. Actually I think that non-partisan exuberance can sometimes limit the scope of who they ask to come down. I think a lot of people would be willing to make a trip down here that the Alamo team would just assume never in a million years. But luckily for all of us there last night, one person said yes.
Tonight is Richard Rush night at the Alamo, AKA Lars in Heaven. That must be one of the best perks of the job... getting to talk with the special guests, especially the ones you admire, and have an excuse to basically ask all of the movie geek questions you've always wanted to ask him. When I walked in I saw Rush, Chuck Bail, and Gary Kent all sitting together with Rush in the corner wearing sunglasses that make him look like one of those old Italian guys that hung out in Ibiza during the 60s, sipping coffee and absorbing lazy afternoon rays all day. Lars was bent over, as if taking communion, straining to hear the pope's dying words, or some equally religious metaphor. I decided not to waste valuable seconds by saying hi and went inside.
The crowd was kind of disappointing to be honest. While I normally never complain about getting to stretch out but come on, people! I'm especially looking at you, Weird Wednesday regulars... oh well. All the COOL people were there and that's what's important.
So after a glowing introduction by Lars, Rush came up and briefly described The Stunt Man... saying he hardly ever gets a chance to tell an audience what it's "really" about. Usually at around this point I try to zone out because, while a few hints or a small list of things to watch out for are cool, I sort of want to find out exactly what it's really about on my own. Fortunately, Rush stayed suitably vague, saying hilarious things like "not paranoid in the padded room sense but paranoid like... your assistant and your boss had lunch together and didn't tell you about it." Well that managed to make perfect sense and also not ruin the film! so that's good.
Like this film could be ruined. I guess i've been seeing a lot of good movies lately, but there's still a feeling I get when I finish watching a movie and absolutely know that it's a five-star film. This film is precisely all over the place... to the point that it makes you question if you should be laughing or taking it seriously, because both emotions simultaneously work. When Railsback finally lets us in on why he's on the run from the police, his story is so absurd but delivered so dramatically that I was honestly confused. Some poeple in the audience laughed, others did not... until Barbara Hershey started laughing and gave us all permission... yet there's still an element of danger. Although I think Railsback's performance is the weakest note in the movie, he portrays a taught wildcard of a character very well. As Peter O'Toole describes him at one point, he is the normal guy who is a timebomb; someone who can snap at any moment and start shooting people from a clock tower. The depth of character presented in this movie presumably filled with stunts rivals that of Truffaut's Day For Night and Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy... yet we also get amazing stunts and beautiful photography. This film really has its cake and eats it too... a pretty amazing accomplishment. It gets to be the action movie as advertised, as well as acharacter piece examining the nature of reality and illusion, as well as a paranoid mystery of intentions. And it has great music too.
So I really loved this film. It blew me away. It's time to add the DVD to my shopping cart and start looking for the poster.