Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not all Criterion Collection films are great

Made in 1977 and released in 1978 this film doesn't hold up well at all. I'm sure if I saw it when it came out, back when I was a horny teenager, I would have loved it. Now, not so much at all.

The film has an interesting plot, Queen Elizabeth the first has her court alchemist transport her, him, and a lady in waiting 400 years in to the future so she can see what becomes of her beloved England. What follows is laughably bad.

The first clue you've entered pretentious art house hell is when you see that the queen's lady in waiting is a dwarf. Then once transported into the future the shit storm of pretentiousness hits you like a hurricane. We're treated a treatise on history from a woman who's hair was done up by the lead singer of Flock of Seagulls, and who's make up was done in a clown college. Her name is Amyl Nitrate and unfortunately, she's all through the rest of the film. People sit around in squalid graffiti filled rooms, have the least sexy looking sex ever, and look all late '70's punk rockish. Periodically they take the time out to go hang out around things that have been set on fire where they meet other people who like to hang out around things that have been set on fire and who like to do it while wearing masks or dancing. When they tire of that they go meet others who include a bald guy who is obviously a campy homosexual who loves to either start each sentence off with a maniacal laugh or end one the same way, and after awhile, it gets super annoying.

Everybody has a 'cool' punk rock name like 'Crabs,' 'Bod,' and 'Holy shit I can't believe this shitty film is in the Criterion Collection.' Most of the women take off their tops and walk around with bare breasts at some point, so the film has that going for it. And some of the guys do full frontal nudity and their penises swing free and breezy, after all if they show boobs, they gotta show dick too.

The characters mope around complaining that it's the end of the world or the end of love or the end of some other stupid fucking pointless ephemeral thing. Then for no reason at all the cops, who up to this point have benignly smiled as people got beat up, shit got blown up, and cars got stolen, start to behave like cops and they murder some of the annoying characters. But when not getting murdered by the cops, who patrol the streets of future London while wearing motorcycle helmets even though they don't ride motorcycles, some of the characters have sex on top of red plastic sheets, sit around looking dopey, and perform 'musical' numbers.

Yeah, it's all a big fucking pretentious mess. It's fucking dreadful and will make you hate punk rock, art house films, bare breasts, London, the 1970's, and if you're not careful, life itself. I nearly lost the will to live while watching this shit. I'm guessing the only reason they put this turkey in the Criterion Collection was to show how a film can be emblematic of it's times. Or maybe they wanted a shitty pretentious piece of crap in there as a palette cleanser.

See it if you must but know that I warned you.


C said...

Ha, great review! I saw it in my teens in '79 - well I HAD to, I was a punk. I wanted to like it. You know when you really try. But... no. I just couldn't. Didn't help that I saw it in a pokey London arthouse cinema and the projector broke down half way through. An earnest film buff type bloke came out and decided to give us some kind of verbal thesis on the film while we waited for it to be fixed (or perhaps for it NOT to be fixed?) He went on about the importance of the plot. I must admit I already thought the plot had long been lost.

But it was nice to see a rather beautiful youthful Adam Ant before it all went horribly wrong for him. Horribly wrong, as in 'Prince Charming'... ;-)

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Hahaha, that's hilarious that some film dweeb felt he had to explain the movie to you film goers. Adam Ant did look good in this film and I'll have to say Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell, and Linda Spurrier all looked delicious nude. It's so cool that you and I are of the same era C so we can appreciate, or not, pop culture stuff. ;o)

Anonymous said...

This didn't ring any bells at all with me, so I looked him up on WIKI. Concerning one of his other films, his bio read something like this, (the film) "marked the beginning of a temporary abandonment of traditional narrative in Jarman's films." Ouch.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

"after all if they show boobs, they gotta show dick too" - no, they DON'T. I don't make up these rules but I do enforce them.

C said...

Thanks Dr MVM, I appreciate too that we can appreciate, or not, the same pop culture stuff and from 4000 miles away'n'all :-)