Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Long Weekend" (1978) d/ Colin Eggleston

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Despite the blatant "Last House"-ishness of the release poster for tonight's review, there are no unhinged sexual psychos prowling the Australian outback for victims here, no gang of grimy fuck-starved thugs terrorizing helpless innocents, leading to excruciating torture or premature violent death. It's more of a "Nature wants you to cool it, baby" movie, an ambiguous entry in the seventies eco-horror genre warning mankind to halt its transgressions against the creatures of earth, or it'll be sorry, indeed. And despite all of these things, we've got a pretty cool little movie on our hands.

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"I shot that tree all by myself. Let's get some of that bark on the barby."
Peter (John Hargreaves) and Marcia (Briony Behets) are a couple going through a rough patch, when they decide to spend a weekend together camping out by a remote beach. Despite her protests, Peter stows away their mangy mutt in the back, and chain smokes and bickers throughout the all day and night drive to their destination, running over a kangaroo, in the process. Normally, that's ten points, but in this alternate universe, using a marsupial as a speed bump sets off all sorts of vague karmic implications upon the troubled duo. To further complicate matters, we find that Marcia's recently undergone an abortion, the botched result of Peter's attempted spicing up of things with another couple(it was the other fellow's baby), and she's yet to lie down again with her horny, frustrated mate. Eagle eggs, she's got no problem fiddling around with. Spraying invading ants with pesticide is another task she can accomplish with ease.

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"Yer headlightin' norks have me wantin' a look at yer mappa Tassie."
Marcia's frigidity leads Peter to venture off with his dog, swimming and surfing the shore until his gal alerts him to a hulking dark shape behind him in the water. Once he's safely ashore, he fills the ominous shadow with lead from his rifle, only it's no shark, it's a dugong that he's just turned into a blubbery beach pizza. Things only get weirder from here, as he's attacked by a swooping eagle, then bitten by a possum, leading Marcia to strongly suggest that they vacate the premises, so strongly, in fact, that she pulverizes the eagle's egg she's been monkeying around with, to illustrate her point. Peter uses this incident as an opportunity to drop a sick burn about baby-killing on his partner, who now demands an immediate divorce. When Peter continues to drag his feet about leaving, wanting to investigate some people on the other end of the beach, Marcia splits on him, leaving him to face off against this recently ultra-aggressive fauna with only his mangy pooch by his side. What happens in the end? Get a copy and find out for yourselves.

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You've got a hubcap diamond star halo...dead dugong, dead dugong, dugong's gone...
If you go into tonight's review with an open mind, without meditating too much about the karmic lesson the film's producers wanted to teach our two protagonists, you'll have a good time with it. Personally, I couldn't wrap my mind around the goofy concept of nature rising collectively against them, when their sins seemed mostly accidental, or at the least evitable, had they not been at such preoccupied odds with each other throughout the movie, and never cruel or sadistic in nature. It just doesn't work that way, unless you're a smelly, tree-hugging eco-hippie screenwriter with a laughable agenda, in which case, your hokey story will only seem plausible to other smelly, tree-hugging eco-hippies, which I am not, as anybody will tell you. Still, I liked this one a lot, probably due to the filmmakers' inability to purvey their message clearly. Three Wops, and a recommendation, for sure. See it.

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Throat lozenge, perhaps?
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