Review

BLACK DOG and EASY RIDER review

Published at: May 2, 1998, 2:30 a.m. CST by headgeek

Well today turned out to be one heck of a thematic day, whether I expected it to or not. Ya know how some days just seem to have a purpose? Well, this was one of them... It was meant that on this day, I was to see thousands of miles of road, feel like a truck driver, a biker and listen to music and eat their food.

No, I didn't see CONVOY and THE LOSERS. No, I saw Patrick Swayze's latest BLACK DOG and the quintessential bike flick, EASY RIDER. But here's how the day began.

First I woke up. Scratched my head and turned on the 'puter. Checked the email, got dressed (ewwwwww) and then DAD said, "Harry let's go see BLACK DOG"

Ummm... Ok...... Ya see even though films like THE SPAINISH PRISONER, LES MISERABLES, WILD MAN'S BLUES, and a couple of other prime intelligent flicks that we want to see are opening.... weeeeellllll Dad was in a neanderthal mood today and well, I decided to hunch over and grow a brow so that Dad wouldn't feel lonely.

Growing that brow hurt though, now I know how David felt in that english chick's kitchen. And I didn't have Rick Baker's bladder's help.

After picking up my club and hitting my head a couple of times Dad and I drove to vote. You see there were 3 propositions being decided in town today, one of which would give us one hell of a big park. I'm real big on parks instead of track housing or condos.

Then after fulfilling our civic duties, our brows grew still further, hair sprouting where it shouldn't and well, we arrived at the LINCOLN... an AMC theater that is a bit in decline. You see this used to be the sparkling theatrical gem of the city. Now the carpets are stained, the help are all high school age (and not movie fans) and don't care about stuff like selling tickets (thus the booth was abandoned.

We arrived early, and while waiting for someone to arrive to sell tickets I played PAC- MAN and faced down BLINKY, PINKY, INKY and CLYDE. Them bastards got me though, damn tricky little bug eyed sheet wearing muther&(@#$%)!!!!!!!!

Finally, we procured our tickets and went in. The one thing I love still about the LINCOLN is the screen rooms themselves. They are HUGE. Gigantic screens (the biggest in town) and their sound (when they turn it on) It's the main reason I continue to come back. Meanwhile Dad and I read this cool little AMC newspaper with reviews of all the art films we chose not to see, to see Patrick Swayze drive a truck. Rubber Duck Rubber Duck.... Sorry, most of you won't get that.

Soon the lights darkened and the stupid Coke Slides (created by the stupidest beings the world has ever assembled) And the trailers began....

I only remember three of the trailers (long day)

X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE - could there possibly be a more stupid slogan or catch phrase than FIGHT THE FUTURE? How about X-FILES: BLACK OILY STUFF? Sorry, I had to vent. However, this is a killer trailer, for me anyway. I'm dying to see the film. I know I ran a non-glowing review this very day, but that ain't gonna phase me one tiny minute teeny-weenie bit. I'm gonna line up for that film. Not because it's gonna be the biggest whatever of the summer... no no noooo. But because I don't miss an X-FILES episode. It could suck donkey doo straight from the source and I'd be there first day. However, if it were to suck, I wouldn't see it a second time or buy the video. Personally I'm dying to see this thing. I've kept myself pure, I haven't read the script, I let Glen do that.

BULWORTH - This trailer was good about 4 months ago. I have a problem with trailer campaigns that run the same trailer up until the release date. Ya see, I believe that if your film only has one trailer worth of sellable footage... well.... you know...

BLADE - This trailer kicks some hard ass. It's almost enough to make you believe that there is the vague possibility that MARVEL could possibly maybe have a movie that might not suck completely. I really do wish NEW LINE the best, they try awful hard to make good Comic Book films, it's just sometimes they hire the wrong people... I'm there for this one. If Wesley Snipes can pull off the promise of that one shot of him flipping and landing on the slab while shaking the gigantic room with the boom of his landing. AWESOME shot and sound. I want this movie to kick my ass.

Then a bland run of the mill THX ... but ooooooh the sound is soooooooooo gooooooooooooood.

And the awful, dreadful, patoooooie... trailer for Dolby Digital with the Greek Columns and the owl hooting. Terrible does nothing for the ears.

Finally it was time for Patrick Swayze to drive a rig.

BLACK DOG

Ya know... some films you have to lower your IQ for. This is one of them. I liked BLACK DOG, not because of any high brow existentialisms... or the mechanicalization of the human spirit... or the concept that each wreck and impact has Freudian overtones... no no noooo. But for the simple invigorating power and awe of a TRUCK.

It's a guy thing, I think. That 'uga buga' scratch our armpits, sniff the fingers and find a mate raw feeling. That's what this film is. This is quite honestly the RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II of truck movies.

There is whatever lame set up ya want, but as soon as Swayze gets his rig from Meatloaf, the bible spewing red-neck rig-setter upper, the film feels a bit like a wet dream from Tool Time. I get the idea that there would be a part of Tarantino, that would just love this film. Not because the film is trying to be anything other than what it is... a TRUCK MOVIE.

This is the sort of film that makes you afraid of the awesome intimidation those big damn rigs have when they blow your Datsun off the road by the sheer power of the wake. Ya make a VUUUUUUROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM sound all during the film. The score by George S Clinton... ummmm... rocks. It's a roadhouse mean and ugly score/soundtrack.

With Randy Travis, Meatloaf and Patrick Swayze you have menly men that pound their fist, smell of sweat and drive big awesome black smoke belching machines of road grating death. And they all look like they'd be the thick necked stereotyped Jack Daniel's swilling chain-smoking assholes of the highways and biways. And they are.

Through the course of this film, you'll see more steel and twisted chrome than you could fill the Astrodome with. This is a film that I really wish a drive in was around to see. I felt like I needed a steering wheel to grip and a horn to honk. I kept reaching for my headlights to flash the screen with 'uga-buga' approval.

Now the film was almost a perfect grunter film, but it made one final mistake... I could forgive all the bad dialogue... all the off key Randy Travis singing.... but when they decided to do what they did at the very end, it pissed me off. The movie was over, why'd they do that... huh? They didn't need to. Sheesh.

Oh, and one other thing. I can't believe they didn't give Meatloaf the line he sooooo desperately needed to say.... "That son of a bitch drives that rig like a BAT OUT OF HELL!!!!!!!!!!!" How could they not give him that line. I was waiting... poised to scream out my approval, but nope, no cigar. Damn unimaginative non-fun having siiisssss a fraaaaaasssssssss a.....

Afterwards I felt a strong desire to eat TRUCK food, so when we got in the awesome Knowles-Mobile with it's 6 cylinder (only 3 work right now) mighty super engine with it's ability to slow to 12 miles an hour at the mere sight of a gradual incline, we made our way to THREADGILL'S. Which from all signs would look like a truck stop, except when we were eating the table behind us was talking about the decline of the intellectuals, differences in written ancient latin and spoken, and Fellini. Three subjects that I dare say aren't the subjects of choice at the PIT STOPS of the world.

Afterwards I was all set to join a friend at his birthday wingding at CARLOS AND CHARLIES where the FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS were playing. However, when I got home, my tickets were not in my mailbox like I thought they were supposed to be. So I went in the house and learned that RoRo had em, so I called him, but he was at the locale in question and had never received the message... so the person I left the message with.... ROBOGEEK, was left to get me tickets and pick me and my dad up. Thus began ROBOGEEK's 2000 mile round trip to my house from CARLOS AND CHARLIES.

We crossed many bridges and a damn, lots of cedar trees and finally arrived into the sea of cars. ROBO let us out and went to find a park...hahahahaha... parki... hahahahahaha place.

So Dad and I enter the world of a FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS concert. A wild audience of funky and dirty mean and ugly rock and roll lovers watched and listened to the fantastic sound being emitted from the stage. A mean harmonica grinding the air while pulsing rhythms moved the bodies of all into a rocking beat.

That's when this guy taps my shoulder..."You were in TEXAS MONTHLY right?" he says with the smell of liquor flowing into my nostrils from his gullet.

"Umm yeah"

"Cool man cooool.... I knew it was you.... You rock man... you rock..."

" oh, thanks man thanks"

What on earth am I supposed to say? "Why thanks for your rather astute observation in a 3-D version of the childhood game of concentration you matched the picture with the real life object" ????? I'm perplexed with what to say. It's not like the guy said he read the site, or anything... so I respond in addition with a handshake, a pleasant greeting and "Hope to have ya click by the ol site soon".

Dad starts laughing, seeing me being questioned. And the guy leaves. Then I feel a tap at my shoulder again. I turn to see the same guy, but with his business card...

"Give me a call Monday and we'll talk" The dude builds homes out of steel. I mean what the hell man?

"I build my house of straw"

"I build my house of sticks"

"I build my house of bricks"

and

"I BUILD MY HOUSE OUT OF STEEEEEEEEEEEEEL!!! The pyramids will rot, but my house will be where it is for ALL TIME. Behold the awesome structure, the incredible strength..."

Anyway, soon ROBOGEEK finds us and we stand around rocking and rolling. A rather pitiful sight I must add. So it was that I left to find the rest of the crew. I searched the crowd. Got right there at stage and I couldn't find them, I weaved my way through the crowd, saying "Hi" to many fans. Which was cool. Bet I was the last person they expected to squeeze by them. Finally I return to Dad and Robogeek, defeated.

Then a friend sees us and directs us into the club/food place to where everyone is. You can't hear the music in here. Why are they in here? The whole purpose of being at a rock concert is to be with the crowd, with the beat the flow of the music. It's awesome. But they were inside, away from the thunderous Thunderbirds.

The friend of the evening was not to be found, he was up above, in the VIP section. We waited about for a couple of songs, but ventured back out to hear the awesome music. Shortly thereafter the music came to a halt, and we rushed to the car to avoid the mob of cars.

Then the Robomobile deposited Dad and I at the house, where QUINT was ready to take us to EASY RIDER!!!!

Quint had brought us spectrum glasses from the Pink Floyd LASERIUM thingee he had been at earlier. So he gave me some glasses and away we went to the ALAMO DRAFT HOUSE.

Riding with Spectrum Glasses on is soooooooooooo trippy. Dad starts in on his whole, hippie mushroom speech. Talking about how this is what it's like, and how ya don't need glasses. When I respond with, "Well if this is what it's like, isn't it just cheaper to get a $1 pair of spectrum glasses?"

Dad responds with, "Ummm yeah... but ya see ya don't need the glasses"

"Yeah, but I can take the glasses off and see like... for real."

"You don't get it son."

Hmmmmmmmmm, I wonder how many fathers and sons have this conversation.....

Anyway we arrive at the Drafthouse and venture forth.

We get in and we just make in... in time for the trailers.

HOG WILD - uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

FUZZ - Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch, Tom Skerrit, Charles Durning and Yul Brynner. WOW what a baaaaaaaaaad movie this looks like.

DEATH SQUAD (or something like that) with Telly Sevelas, O.J.SIMPSON about whom the trailer says, "He's fast, he's sly and he's Deadly" The audience howls it's approval. A film about a heroic illegal mercenary death squad being pursued by Mr. Clean/Blofeld.

The second EVIL KNIEVAL film. Coooooooooooooooooooooolllllllll.....

I think there was something else, but I forget.

then finally there was EASY RIDER....

I've seen this film soooooooooo many times in my life. Being raised by hippies that dreamed of the whole communal thing... well, ya see this movie a lot. Doesn't really detract from the fact that it is a damn fine movie.

This is the sort of film you can smell pot smoke reek from the celluloid. You can feel your hair being tangled by the wind. You can feel the 80 degree water they bathe and skinny dip in.

I love this film for the visual and the music. I love the film because it brings up issues of what it is to be truly free and the lengths people will go to strike down that reminder.

It makes you want to make love in a New Orleans cemetary. And it makes ya really hate rural genetic defects that would kill someone for having long hair. Beings that I have long hair has nothing to do with it I assure you. It's just the concept that a toothless bastard with a shotgun would be the town hero in that time period just chaps my hide.

And it reminds ya why Jack Nicholson is a god, why Peter Fonda is a god and why Dennis Hopper is a god. The scenes of them upon that Captain America motorcycle and the flaming Billy-Cycle are just perfect iconoclastic images. That gold football helmet is a holy relic. There's a part of me that really hopes it's in Nicholson's closet amongst the golf shoes.

The film makes me feel like leaving the keyboard and just roaming the earth... not like Kane from Kung Fu, but like these two. It's strange, but I just get this immense feeling of confinemnet in my life while watching this movie. This sense that I should be a legendary man of the road, that travels from town to town, state to state, country to country. Me and my bike... searching for the last great cinema town, the best popcorn, the coolest theaters.... Except, I'm really happy with my local theaters, the local popcorn and the cinema town I'm in. May not be the best, but it's the best one I know of. So it would be here that I'd unfold my aluminum foil and eat the sugar cube... this is my place to be. I'm not gonna flip to a side and say, "we really screwed up man" cause I saw my 'good thing' and I'm sticking with it.

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