A Decade Under the Influence and Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

By Adam Lippe

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A Decade Under the Influence, like the movie of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls reveals nothing surprising, but is competently made. It does go on for an hour more (and broken up into three segments for airing on IFC, it comes in just under 3 hours total), so it’s a little strange that they actually had to cut Haskell Wexler completely and leave him for the extras. There was way too much Peter Bogdanovich for my tastes as well, his sole source of income must be as an expert for DVD projects, and he gets paid by the ascot.

The movie is more of an overview and gives the limited and oft repeated message that all films produced pre-Heaven’s Gate were worldly and wonderful, and everything after that was a soulless mess that would warp your brain forever. The goal was to insist that us filmmakers supposedly watching at home should find our way to making independent, personal projects to get our messages across, ironically coming from Ted Demme, the most indifferent of hack directors.

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls was like a shallow outline of the period without any of the juicy gossip nor meaning (certainly missing the meat of Peter Biskind’s book). But I rented the DVD and watched the 2nd disc and it’s a terrific supplement to the film itself, covering territory that even the book doesn’t get into. Including some people’s critique of Biskind himself, especially in terms of how he used certain quotes.

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.