Chafed Elbows - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chafed Elbows Reviews

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June 2, 2016
Laugh out loud funny, irreverent and topical humor.
½ February 19, 2015
I really love Downey's second feature, which cost about $25,000 to make and played for over 6 months in New York (partly as a double-bill with "Scorpio Rising" ... there's a show for you). It's almost entirely constructed from still 35mm photos Downey had developed at a drug store. George Morgan stars as Walter Dinsmore, who experiences a surreal odyssey through NYC .... sleeping with his mom, giving birth to $1890 in cash, starring in and independent film, shooting a cop, encountering a woman addicted to sock sniffing, and so on. It's remarkably funny and almost completely nonsensical. Great stuff. Downey's wife Elsie stars as all female roles.
Super Reviewer
January 26, 2013
Chafed Elbows is my favorite of the Downey Sr. explorations. It was the story of a man involved in incest with his mother, and is a direct involvement in a murder. It was a hysterical piece, the dry humor therapist scene had me laughing my ass off. Just these wise one liners all the way through, and underground cinema inside jokes made it an extremely interesting film. I thought the dubbing was annoying though, and would be better just to make it a regular shoot.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2013
Feeling the onset of his annual November breakdown, Walter Dinsmore(George Morgan) checks himself into a hospital. While there, he finds himself pregnant and gives birth to 189 ten dollar bills. After which, he is turned into a work of art at gunpoint(or a walking advertisement for a fast food chain) which brings on his annual January breakdown. His psychiatrist(Lawrence Wolf) tells him not to worry, not believing Walter's worries about impregnating his mother(Elsie Downey), at least until she confirms it over the telephone.

"Chafed Elbows" is an unpredictable and amusing movie, definitely belonging to the times it was made and the underground scene where it was formed in warning against the dangers of commodification. As such, it is influenced by the works of Preston Sturges(according to the director Robert Downey Sr. at the Q & A), and Chris Marker through its use of collage work, with the assistance of some wacky voices. The movie works so well in its own absurd and motley way that the otherwise tasteless incest storyline has little negative impact. If nothing else, Elsie Downey playing all of the female parts could imply the third biggest Oedipal complex of all time.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2012
A chronicle of Walter Dinsomore's "annual breakdown," 1966: he gives birth to ten dollar bills, shoots a policeman, marries his mother and goes on welfare. This ultra-low budget underground comedy is told mostly through (cleverly manipulated) stills with only three actors supplying dozens of voices: it's almost like an illustrated radio play utilizing lots of leftover Marx Brothers jokes ("I've never been so insulted!" "You're young still.") The incest, police corruption and murder is too silly to count as "transgressive." An interesting experiment from the intriguing Robert Downey, Sr.
June 17, 2012
Hardly describable yet fun!
December 24, 2009
Saw this once, in the Village, on a double bill with SCORPIO RISING (go figure)...never forgot it
January 22, 2009
Robert Downey, Sr. may not think highly of his own filmography nowadays, but he's an important, influential figure (P.T. Anderson cites him as an influence) whose early films are classics. CHAFED ELBOWS is brilliant!
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