John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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one of Andy's better efforts at least I think so
Good stuff! Buy them all!
A send up of SUNSET BOULEVARD, we finally have an honest to goodness plot and the damn thing actually works.
Most definitely this is a Cult Classic that does not shy from going into "camp" -- but there is a great deal more to be found in Paul Morrissey's odd art film. From a film theory perspective, this is an effectively engaging time capsule film with fairly potent cultural commentary. Just on the cusp of true film art.
Tried to enjoy this as I once owned a free copy of this but it didn't have any sort of production value, which isn't always needed but can make a piece of crap better, and didn't seem to fit into the other Warhol films. Very dull with lively performances from the cast but not enough to make up for an already stale plot
The idea to de-glam "Sunset Blvd" is a good one, but the problem with showing that has-beens and drifters can be unpleasant and dull is that the movie itself ends up sort of unpleasant and dull. The final joke is a great one, though.
When campy truly becomes an art. The acting is meant to be unrefined and poorly thought out. I notice many who criticize on the 'poor acting and quality' of the film do not understand Warhol's and Morrissey's artistic and rather quirky direction in these films. And I have to say, I fell in love with good-for-nothing Joe!
***1/2 (out of four)
The most polished, though not necessarily the best, of the Andy Warhol and Paul Morissey colaborations. Joe Dallesandro plays a former child star who moves into a rundown place where he a woman whose mother is a fading star.
Like all Morrisey and Warhol films, it is not for everyone. But those who are intrigued by something totally different should give it a try.
Andy Warhols Heat
written and directed by Paul Morrissey
starring Joe Dallesandro, Andrea Feldman, Sylvia Miles, Pat Ast, Lester Persky, Harold Childe, Bonnie Walder, Ray Vestal, Eric Emerson, John Hallowell, Gary Koznocha
A young hustler ingratiates his way into the sodden life of a washed up TV actress while trying to fend off the manic attentions of her possibly psychotic daughter.
Joey Davis (Dallesandro) was once a famed child actor who starred on a long running TV Western show. Hes slumming it momentarily at a dingy motel waiting for his agent to give him some papers to sign regarding a record deal. The motel is populated with the typical Hollywood weirdos including a two brother nightclub act who engage is sexual activities to climax their show. One of these brothers walks around in a daze and really enjoys masturbating by the pool. Apparently hes mute and he spends most of the film in a long white cotton dress.
Joey finds his time by the pool rather enjoyable. His star power radiates throughout the motel and many of its denizens hold him in some kind of sick awe. Basically, he seems disinterested in most of anything but takes advantage of situations as they arise. One of these involves the manager of the hotel, a woman named Lydia. She convinces him to let her give him a massage and things quickly turn randy as he massages her breasts while she coos. She promises him reduced rent which she tells him he is going to have to pay every night. Again, hes casual about the arrangement and doesnt get too caught up in its inherent drama.
Jessica Todd (Feldman) is a high strung girl who is living at the motel with her girlfriend Bonnie (Walder) and her infant son. Theres a long gag about whether or not Jessica is truly a lesbian or not. She seems unable to convince her mother Sally (Miles) of this fact and later decides shes not a lesbian after all upon discovering her deep seated lust for Joey.
The film is mostly dialog and it all comes across organically and indeed some of it is improvised by the actors. The set design is simple and straightforward. There are several scenes in an old rustic mansion that lend a grandiosity to the film and the actors in their roles.
The camera simply adores Joe Dallesandro who again proves himself to be an exceedingly natural performer and he eases into every scene. There are many close-ups of Joes face and its not terribly difficult to read his thoughts or intentions. Still, hes consumed with charm that can only come from an actor who is very glad to be in his skin.
Sally comes about to give Jessica money and meets Joey with whom she starred in that TV show a few years back. Immediately its obvious that somethings going down between these two and their attraction quickly turns to sex. Sally is desperate about her looks and still maintains shes a big star even though all shes done is game shows for the past several years. Basically nobody remembers her and shes clinging to this belief that she still matters in Hollywood. Unfortunately shes dead weight and her lust after the much younger Joey comes off as rather pathetic.
Joey moves into the mansion and quickly becomes tired of Sally and bored out of his mind. Hes got things to do and all Sally does is hold him back because shes too lonely or she cant bear to lose him to another woman. Whatever the reason, he manages to get out but not before having to deal with Jessicas advances. Jessica is truly unhinged which is evidenced by one scene when she bursts in on Lydia and Joeys foreplay complaining that the cigarette burns that Bonnie has administered to her are stinging. She cries for a bit and suddenly bursts out laughing before returning to her crying jag. Shes the kind of girl who seemingly either hasnt got enough attention in her life or too much. She doesnt know who the father of her son is and she seems not to have had a very close relationship with either her father or step father. Shes broke, without means to support herself, and in an abusive relationship with a bull dyke who enjoys slapping her around and burning her with the aforementioned cigarettes.
Essentially, this is a tale about terribly messed up family dynamics in situations where there is a whole lot of talking but little listening. Jessica is seventeen years old and honestly shouldnt have to slum it at a cheap motel with her son. There is absolutely no reason for this but her mother thinks shes too crazy and clearly wants to keep her at arms length. At one point she tells Jessica that shell take care of the baby but that Jessica cannot come live with her. She claims she means that Jessica cannot bring Bonnie with her but her actual meaning seems clear enough. She also says that she wishes she was a lesbian because she wouldnt have had Jessica and subsequently wouldnt have to deal with this mess. Jessica for her part claims to hate her mother although this doesnt stop her from begging for money at every turn. Joey stumbles unwittingly into the fracas and all he has to do is lay back and be magnetic.
This film is highly sexualized from start to finish and it all centers around Joey Davis. All the women in the film want to get into his shorts and none of them are at all subtle about it. He takes advantage of all comers including receiving a blow job from a dandy named Harold (Childe). His life is made easy by his physique and his low key, casual attitude. He sleeps with these women because he can but mostly because it hopes it can bring him benefits such as furthering his career. He gets clothes out of Sally but little else. She simply doesnt have any pull anymore and all her attempts to drum up some interest in Joey fall terribly flat.
The performances in this film are uniformly excellent. Sylvia Miles commands the screen throughout the film yet she allows her fellow actors to break through and shine as appropriate. Her character is dynamic, like a whirlwind that has the capacity to destroy a whole city block. Andrea Feldman is a torch lighting an darkened abattoir. Her perormance resonates with a truthfulness that is rare in cinema. One gets the impression that her character is a real person with the ability to cause real emotional reactions to her words and deeds. Her postures, mannerisms and affectations stay with the viewer long after the film has ended. Hers is one of those characters who truly put their fangs into ones brain and will not let go. Joe Dallesandro is, again, wholly natural and clean in this role. Hes all grown up in this role in comparison to the naif he played in 1970's Trash, also directed by Paul Morrissey. Pat Ast is very impressive here as Lydia the motels manager. She delivers all her lines with a tremendous confidence and conviction which gives them an emphatic sense of truth no matter how outrageous they might seem at the outset.
Overall, this film is a oft-brilliant depiction of the ugly side of the glamourous life. These are characters who end up living a particularly empty life at their own hand. Joey Davis is able to get what he wants at every turn because of his body and his past but he just throws it away when he gets it because hes terminally bored with everything and can commit to nothing. Jessica is little girl gone wrong because emotionally she may have been deprived for long stretches of her life when her mother was away working for TV. Regardless, her violent mood swings and general flightiness are not characteristics one generally wants to see in a new mother. She shows no lasting indication that she even wants the baby, referring to him as it. Theres a very real sense that everyone in this film is in a state of arrested development. None of them act as mature persons act and they all throw fits when they dont get what they want. Joeys fits are subtler but he acts up when things dont seem to be going his way. Jessica positively shakes and almost froths at the mouth when shes agitated. Even Lydia seems unable to fully face herself and make up her mind. Shes locked in on this job managing the motel but its clear shes just biding time until something better comes along. None of these people know much about the direction they are headed in. They just do things for immediate satisfaction and pay no mind to the consequences of their actions.
[color=white]Surprisingly enough, this is a very funny and insightful film. Even though it's a vehicle for Andy Warhol's troupe of amateur performers (Warhol himself had nothing to do with the writing and directing, so Paul Morrissey is allowed to give his characters more depth and clarity), it's a competent parody of "Sunset Boulevard," with crappy camerawork and sharp, deadpan dialogue that feels right at home alongside the early works of John Waters. Sylvia Miles, simply brilliant as a fading B-movie starlet, utters one of the funniest closing lines in movie history.[/color]