His Dark Materials
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Trash. Worthless. Everything overdone including the extreme violence, the plot that makes no sense as neither do the subplots, a movie that is like a satire of soap operas at times but is not funny, women with incredible, busty bodies that are not sexual at all, not in this dung heap of a film.
It's hard to believe Ebert was allowed to critique anything, after this....
Super whacked-out, goofy, trashy fun. Clearly, Roger Ebert had an absolute blast writing this "groovy" flick. Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.
Colorful, good soundtrack, beautiful women. Nice to remember the old times, but that's all.Too nonsense for me.
The best comedy movie ever made!
A misunderstood, excellent work of avant-garde cinema, which is undeniably outrageous but wildly funny with a great script which predates and might even rival Spike Jonze's Adaptation as the ultimate deconstruction of Hollywood cliches.
To say this film is interesting is truly an understatement, a wild, chaotic & drug induced dream of a film.
The story of a small All girl band that venture to Los Angeles to make it big but find Sex, Drugs & the occasional Rock n Roll.
Filled to the brim with nudity & drugs it truly is a vehicle of its era. Ending is quite intense but has all retained a Cult Status.
Okay then... I just don't get the appeal. There are some fairly hilarious scenes, but this just feels like a long episode of a 60s version of Real World on acid with the Manson murders thrown in for good measure.
Since long before DVDs for the preferred format for movie collectors and the laser disk was trying to become the de facto home entertainment format, they have carefully built a reputation of releasing versions of movies in a fashion that is closest to the original filmmaker's vision. They have carefully built up the collection by including some of the most influential, famous and well-regarded films in the art form. I've been following them for many years and have a prized place gather together on a single shelf in my collection. There is one filmmaker I never thought I would see on these illustrious group cinematic artisans, Russ Myers, a man who contributed many sexploitation films during the 1970s, the era of cinema when explicated movies dominated the drive-in movies and dilapidated movie across the country. My initial reaction when I saw his name on my monthly press release from Criterion announcing that his 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls', was to be included in the upcoming release slate. It is many years since I've watched this film and although the announcement failed to whet my appetite. I did find myself curious to revisit the movie if only to find out why the movie was considered worthy of inclusion on this list. It does have somewhat of an infamous history with a Hollywood. The screenplay written by the iconic film critic, Roger Ebert. The movie also an early effort for Russ Myers, a director who would go on to helm such movies as 'Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens,' 'Wild Gals of the Naked West' and 'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!' The title refers to the original book and movie written by best-selling author, Jacqueline Suzanne. Her literary niche dominated by salacious dramas that preceded the guilty pleasure reading provided for women of all ages with romance novels. Many critics in the upper echelons of literary circles have regarded Ms. Suzanne's works as crudely pandering to the lascivious interests predominately of women. It was noted that for an author with loyally followed by such a demographic that this film compromised artistic integrity. Those offering such an observation would be inclined to wonder why the National Enquirer has failed to win Pulitzer prizes for their investigative journalism.
Reportedly the story began as a sequel to Suzanne's novel, 'Valley of the Dolls,' it soon became obvious that the film required a significant rewrite as a parody of the original movie in hopes that a façade could provide a shroud of semi-respectability. After re-watching the film after many years, I found myself obliged to experience the movie a few more times to attempt to understand the nuances which might lurk below the surface. Once again I was surprised that was able to find such subtleties. This film can faithfully represent the format movie's format which appealed to and encapsulated the zeitgeist of the generation. Motifs such as this been an accepted use of this genre for centuries particularly useful when the subject matter is considered somewhat controversial. The target demographic for this work film happens to be the work of people that are the most avid fans of grindhouse exportation. Disgusting this type of movie proved to be the most efficient way to achieve acceptance. Once I was able to apply this train of thought to my subsequent experiences with the movie, an entirely different perspective was revealed. There is a thin line between a bad example of the genre in a sharply honed satire of it. Ultimately, the film does fall short of its full potential but ultimately remains to deserve of its cult classic status. In acknowledgment of its ability to shine spotlights on the hedonistic excesses of grindhouse movies and has earned a place in the Criterion catalog.
The story followed an all-female rock band, 'Kelly Affair,' at a time when such a roster nothing but a novelty not a serious part of the prevailing rock scene. The lineup consisted of three young and exceptionally attractive women; Kelly MacNamara (Dolly Read), Casey Anderson (Cynthia Myers), and Petronella "Pet" Danforth (Marcia McBroom). Ms. McBroom was the requisite African- American establishing the filmmaker's liberal leanings. Including the other two band members was to create name recognition, at least within the high school/college aged males who were most likely to purchase a ticket; popular Playboy Playmates. A significant number this cadre of scantily attire pop icons have appeared in some movies of this ilk although few became involved with Oscar worthy productions. also ensuring willing compliance with the fundamental component considered mandatory for the genre, gratuitous nudity, and sensationalistic simulated sex acts. The reason for the inclusion in the Criterion is forthcoming, but some initial background is germane to the discussion. The group managed by Kelly's boyfriend, Harris Allsworth (David Gurian), who arranges for the group to travel to Los Angles. His hope is to reunite Kelly with her extremely, estranged yet incredibly wealthy aunt, Kelly's estranged aunt, Susan Lake (Phyllis Davis), heiress to the family fortune. This scenario connects the counter culture with traditional Hollywood tropes. Which are reinforced by the distrust Aunt Susan's financial advisor, Porter Hall (Duncan McLeod), has for Hippies. The prevalent look dominating the fashion and interior design choices are overwhelming 'Mod' a term mostly applied to those outside its adherents. Porter despised the nice for a far more mundane and eternal reason; he was after Susan's money for himself. The first step in his plot involved discrediting Kelly.
Despite the fact that the trio possessed a penchant for pot and expressing their sexuality they were innocents, ill prepared for the schemes and predatory intentions of those posing as people looking out for them and helping their careers. When introduced to the famous music producer, "Z-Man" Barzell (John LaZar), he invites them to perform at one of his infamously wild parties. The enthusiastic reception prompts him to become their overly controlling manager whose first official action us to change the name of the group to the 'Carrie Nations.' The immediate result of this is a battle for control between Harris and Z-man. If you are inclined to apply traditional literary subtext to this, it represents the escalating battle between the girl's old life/personalities and the changes required to fit in as part of this fast paced world driving the 'big city.' The story introduces in quick succession the usual grindhouse players to provoke the required drama and fuel a string of scenes involving sex, drugs and rock and roll. Lance Rocke (Michael Blodgett) is a high priced male escort who targets Kelly once he learns of her inheritance. After being deserted by Kelly, Harris is seduced by porn star, Ashley St. Ives (Edy Williams). His continual over indulgence in hard drugs and alcohol frustratingly makes sexual activity impossible. Spurned by the porn star has a physical altercation with Lance after which in a drug fuel carnal encounter with Casey. She becomes pregnant, so much for his troublesome impotence. Swearing off men Casey becomes involved in a lesbian relationship with clothing designer, Roxanne (Erica Gavin). She convinces Casey to have an abortion.
Compounding the melodrama, Harris attempts suicide only to become paraplegic. Kelly has to turn away from her new found success to be his caregiver, and the band is ripped apart by excessive drug use. If Cinemax produced a story for a Lifetime movie it would look a lot like this, a very obvious morality play containing enough sex and drug use to demand an 'X' rating under the then recently instigated movie rating system devised by the MPAA. Once all the players are on the stage, and the myriad of machinations revealed I could begin to see a few hidden semi-precious gems contained in the movie. The story encapsulates the predominant themes popular in the seventies. Once again the understanding and ultimately appreciation of the movie is greatly dependent upon the age of the viewer. Those of use that sat in one of those dingy theaters will experience nostalgia while younger audience members will inevitably be confused with some details.
It is crucial to remain cognizant of the socio-political environment of that decade. The protests of the late sixties escalated as the War in Vietnam, experimentation with drugs had pervaded the generation and supplanting the old sexual mores with a liberated spirit of freedom. Abortion was illegal making what would be a moral dilemma into a criminal act. It was impossible for the parents of that generation to consider 'permissive' young women as victims of Machiavellian predators. A common story for Hollywood was the corruption of a talented young talent striving to follow her dream. This movie modernized the familiar tale adapting it for a new generation of cinephiles.
THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE