Sunday, March 9, 2008

"joe"(1970)d/John G. Avildsen

Avildsen's meisterwerk,"Rocky"(1976) not excluded.
Here's another movie you've probably never heard of,but must see at all costs.Director John G. Avildsen pulls out all stops in creating this mean spirited little fairytale documenting the end of the sixties,commenting socio-economically on the generation gap and class struggle,and ends up with a very cerebral piece of work,though quite dated,still delivers a flurry of gut punches to the viewer's senses.
Susan Sarandon,at her most naked,and least annoying.
Melissa Compton(Susan Sarandon)is an airheaded hippie broad in Manhattan's Greenwich Village commune,cohabitating a dumpy apartment with her junkie/artist/hippie/drug dealer boyfriend Frank(Patrick McDermott).When they aren't screwing,they're shooting smack.When he's not painting,he's ripping off young hippie wannabes,selling them vitamins instead of LSD so he can buy more drugs and really free up his artistic talent,maaan.While he's out earning some bread,he gives Melissa some amphetamines to occupy her time,inadvertently blowing her mind,and getting her arrested at a corner market on 2nd Ave,as she draws all over her own face with lipstick and topples over shelves full of consumer goods.When her father Bill(Dennis Patrick)sees her sedated state at the hospital,he decides to collect up all her belongings from her groovy love pad while his wife waits downstairs.Frank returns home,interrupting Bill as he gathers her things,and when the hippie describes how he met the man's daughter,balling up the aisles at a hippie concert(heavy!),Compton abruptly bashes the dirtbag's head against the wall,accidentally killing him.He stages a botched drug deal,grabs Frank's paper bag of goodies,and runs out.
That wall blow your mind,junkie? Compton rids the world of a worthless hippie.
Compton stops off at a corner dive to drink his guilt away,when he meets Joe Curran(Peter Boyle),an opinionated,misogynistic working class stiff who's been bombarding the bar's patrons with his patriotic and racist views.When Curran acknowledges that he'd like to kill one of the kids for "pissing on America and fucking up the music",Compton admits he just has.Playing it off as a joke,Compton hurries out of the bar before Curran can buy him a drink for pulling the wool over his eyes.When the Comptons later see the news reporting Russo's death in the village,Curran is also watching at his house.He calls Compton at work the next day,not to blackmail him,but to congratulate him for actually doing what Curran always threatens to(!).The two men form an unlikely friendship,and when Melissa is released from the hospital and returns to her parents,she overhears them discussing the murder of the girl's boyfriend and runs out,causing Compton to enlist Joe to help him find his daughter in the village,a strange and foreign place to both men.
Joe Curran(Peter Boyle),American working class hero.
In the village,the men manage to hook up with some hippies,who are very interested in partying with the two,when Compton explains that he's got all the drugs he needs.Both men get baked on a hookah full of herb and screw a pair of hippie broads,but their friends make off with Compton's stolen bag of drugs,and both their wallets.Joe springs into action,slapping the bejeezus out of the girl he had just had sex with,demanding to know her friends' location so the men can retrieve their property.She divulges the New Jersey farmhouse/squat they've probably driven off to,and the angry men,once again gapped by generation,head there.Outside the farmhouse,Curran pulls two rifles from the trunk,explaining that they'll just "scare" whoever's inside.Once inside,it's a different story altogether.Joe begins shooting every hippie in sight,and eggs on his white collar pal to do the same,cleaning the slate of potential witnesses.Compton's daughter Melissa,who's just arrived at the squat, sees a fleeing hippie bolting out the front door,and when she turns to run herself,her own father,not knowing her identity, kills her with a blast to the back.
Bridging the generation gap one hookah at a time,Compton and Curran blow some pot.
An absolute classic,nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay,this has been one of my all-time favorites for years,made familiar in the hardcore scene by Sheer Terror's liberal use of soundbytes from the film on their release "Ugly and Proud".Peter Boyle wrote a sequel that never came to fruition,though he was disturbed by the vast numbers of theatergoers who cheered on his character,refusing to act in "The French Connection"(1971) and other films he claimed glamourized violence.The movie also introduced audiences to Susan Sarandon(whose part was auditioned for by Lynn Lowry!),who went on to cult stardom in "Rocky Horror Picture Show"(1975),and later outspoken left-wing notoriety/stupidity.Director Avildsen scored big with "Rocky" in 1976,then embarrassingly,with The Karate Kid trilogy and Rocky V.Trust Uncle Dub on this one,you need to see this movie.I give it my highest rating:
"Whattaya call this? Groovin? Groovy?"


Devans00 said...

Very nice summary and screen caps. If you're feeling generous, maybe you could clean up the Wikipedia entry.

I think someone was hitting the hash pipe when they wrote it.


beedubelhue said...

Thanks for the words,my friend.Once I get the upcoming podcast underway,I can right all Wikipedia wrongs,standing for truth,justice and the American way,in the process.Nix the Superman stuff,I wouldn't get caught dead in tights.Stay tuned!

Bunche said...

This is one of my all-time favorites and it's a shame that it's so forgotten/neglected for no good reason.

Also, for those people who have not seen this movie, you might wanna put up a spoiler warning; that ending roasted my brain the first time I saw it and all I could think was, "Jesus Christ! What happens now???"

Lastly, if you've never read it you have to get your hands on MAD Magazine's parody of this. Entitled "Schmoe," it's hilarious and one of the very best satires they ever did, showcasing artist Mort Drucker in top form.

Jimmi James said...

Guys, anybody knows where to get a torrent of 'Joe'? I'm looking for a DVD as well but it's hard to get in Poland. If you have a link or know an auction/shop with a good price on Joe i'd appreciate.

beedubelhue said...

A few years back,I picked up an actual release of this one on dvd at a skeevy jernt on 42nd Street(of all places)that sold mostly porn,pretty much bare bones,along with a dvd of Manson(1970) for a whopping ten bucks total.You can't even catch something you could be proudly ashamed of on the deuce anymore!

Anonymous said...

Someone knows the name of the picture of the wall? is like Jesus

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