Andy Warhol's Trash Reviews
Dallesandro is a New York junkie who uses his good looks to scrounge money from the lusty women he meets. Transgendered Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn plays his volatile roommate, and the two hope to pull a welfare scam using the coming baby of Holly's sleazy sister. The faint strands of a plot end there. The remainder of the action amounts to sleepy conversations, persistent shots of Dallesandro's dangling member and exasperatingly graphic heroin use (the participants favor a brand of bulb-ended syringe that seemingly requires minutes of tedious labor for a single blast).
The scenes are long and without transitions, and probably could be shown in any order. Woodlawn acts rings around everyone else in her first role, and her closing minutes are easily the high point. Morrissey reportedly intended "Trash" to discourage rather than promote drug use, and I'd say he achieved his goal.
Strange trivia: Around the 64-minute mark, a girl is talking about a junkie she knew in high school who was later run over by a tank. His name: Danny DeVito? The Web suggests DeVito began appearing in off-Broadway plays around 1969, but I'm not aware of any connection between him and the Warhol/Morrissey camp. What's the story here?
This film works on so many levels. In addition to being a pretty interesting (almost realistic) depiction of where addiction goes.. it also offers multiple chances to see Little Joe in all his glory.
Paul Morrissey's unconventional and streetwise look at a young drug addicted hustler. It's a hard film to watch and is obviously made with several novices, but that actually works in the films favor, giving it a sense of authenticity.
Joe Dallesandro became an underground superstar from the Warhol factory and this is the best film they developed. With Morriseey on hand as director the story takes more shape than previous Warhol films.
written and directed by Paul Morrissey
starring Joe Dallesandro, Andrea Feldman, Holly Woodlawn, Geri Miller, John Putnam, Jane Forth, Bruce Pecheur, Diane Podel
Andy Warhol presents a sleazy underground tour through decadence and rampant drug abuse featuring Paul Morrissey?s leading hunk Joe Dallesandro.
The film opens with a woman named Geri (Miller) trying to give head to burnt out lover, Joe (Dallesandro). He?s been on the junk too long and can no longer get it up. No problem, Geri decided to shake her ass a bit and jumps up on stage to do a little strip number for Joe. Still, there?s nothing happening and all poor Joe can do is complain that he hasn?t got another fix.
Joe and Holly (Woodlawn) are living together and she also complains that Joe cannot achieve an erection. They are ghastily poor and she collects garbage and brings it back to furnish her apartment. He spends much of his time whining about scoring and when he does finally get loaded he passes out and it seems as if he might actually be dead. He goes to visit a rich girl (Feldman) who chatters on for days before he finally shuts her up by nearly raping her. He finally ends up trying to break into the house owned by Bruce (Pecheur) and Jane (Forth). Jane is a buttoned-up ice queen who nevertheless tries to convince Joe to sleep with her and Bruce. Joe agrees and then they let him shoot up while ogling his gear. Naturally, Joe nods off and Bruce kicks him naked out of the house.
There is ample sex and nudity including some bits that have a kinkiness aspect to them. Holly uses a beer bottle in an exceedingly exaggerated pantomime to get off. Joe nearly has sex with Holly?s sister (Podel) who is pregnant.
This feels like a deliberate push for smut without fully exploring hard core sex. It?s fairly light fare although the sex does have a gritty, raw quality that is a step up from most sexploitation cinema. The characters seem to be begging for release; they writhe and they nearly all appear to be famished for something be it sex, drugs, fame, power.
This is a well acted film although I?m not sure how much of the dialog is improvised. Regardless, the scenes all seem natural and the characters are entirely believable. These are the sort of people one wishes they could meet and get really high with. Their trashy like the best of all the Warhol superstars were in real life. It?s not a stretch to believe that these folks are really just playing themselves although I highly doubt that Dallesandro has ever had the same problem as his character in this film.
It?s true that it?s impossible to take your eyes off of Mr. Dallesandro. He?s got a remarkable presence throughout the film and he?s a born leading man. His charisma is really subdued in this film considering how often he passes out but it works entirely too well. He?s at ease in front of the camera and possesses fine attributes that serve him well in the film.
Andrea Feldman has a voice that is absolutely original and impossible to forget once it crawls into one?s skull. It?s got a sing song quality that is truly hypnotic and its genuinely thrilling to hear her rattle on about her $800 fur coat or how much she just has to take LSD. She?s loaded and living rather low which mimics personas like Edie Sedgewick who also spent a considerable amount of time slumming. Another interesting twist is that both Edie and Andrea Feldman died rather young. Edie died at 28 of an accidental barbiturate overdose and Andrea jumped out of 14th floor apartment in New York when she was 24.
There is a vibrancy to this film that is generated practically from the first frame. Dallesandro?s dead wood quickly morphs into a tantalizing erotic dance and this carries over to the rest of the film. There isn?t a tremendous amount of action in this film and indeed most of it consists of characters sitting around talking about or doing drugs. For Joe, his entire life consists of scoring or shooting up. He doesn?t seem to have any other ambitions besides getting high and getting laid although he can?t even successfully do that any more. By the end of the film he is even more tired than usual and he and Holly create a plan for straightening out their lives and becoming more respectable. Apparently they are so low that they don?t even qualify for welfare so they concoct a scheme to procure it. It?s strange that Holly considers Welfare to be a ticket to respectability but she most definitely believes it.
Much of the film has a very open quality to it and the camera work is quite loose as quite a bit of it is done with a hand held. The camera moves about?sometimes its shaky or blurry?and the film occasionally has a documentary feel to it. Certainly the actors and the subject matter are not exactly divorced from one another and their interaction with the material has a solid ring of truth behind it.
The performances in this film are as mentioned entirely natural. There isn?t very much actual acting in this film and it works considerably well. Holly Woodlawn is simply brilliant at playing a quasi-hysterical mad woman who is absolutely afflicted with glamor that she owns completely. Joe Dallesandro doesn?t really have to say anything whatsoever in this film and he comes across like a million bucks. He?s one of the few actors that can literally melt celluloid with a look. Andrea Feldman does a dance through a field of skulls in this film and her voice is positively sublime. Jane Forth plays a plastic princess with a terribly wicked heart. Her character comes across as a bored housewife type who wants nothing more than to crawl about in the filth for a while looking for an experience that will completely ravish and terrify her.
Overall, this is a smart collision of robust sexuality and degradation stolen from the anus of fear. It?s gloriously filmed, the actors are all a smashing good time, and it actually manages to feel like not being able to procure one?s medicine and being broke. It?s got an oozing stickiness to it that is seemingly too difficult for other similarly themed films to pull off. It?s a success in that it creates an actual physical reaction to the film that is unsettling and discomforting. One wants to immediately eat a salad, run fifteen miles, and plant a tree. Ultimately, this film expresses a certain life that is both exciting and nauseating. It gives us characters who are slightly deranged and perfectly loveable for it. The story can be read as being about bored kids with nothing much to do finding their entertainment in whatever avenue is most convenient. The kids are alright in the end.