Monday, January 16, 2017

THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971)

Depressing, but not as depressing as I had expected, drug addiction story (set in New York City) about a young woman, Helen, who, while recovering from an abortion, is shown compassion by a small-time thief/heroin junkie named Bobby (Al Pacino).  Before you can say "I'm late for my Interpretative Twerking class!", Helen has shacked up with Bobby in his sleazy, rat trap apartment and become addicted to heroin herself.  In order to help pay for their addiction, she turns to prostitution.  Things just keep getting shittier and shittier from there.

Watching it now (this was my first time seeing it), all of these years after it's initial release, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is a a fascinating film on many levels.  First off, it's just a good movie.  I was really impressed with young Al Pacino's acting abilities.  Every time he's on screen, your eyes instantly go to him, to watch all of his small gestures and facial expressions.  Pacino managed to make the character of Bobby charming despite the fact he was nothing but a shitbag thief and junkie.  Another thing that I found intriguing was New York City itself.  (I've never been to NYC, but thanks to endlessly watching and re-watching Woody Allen films as a youth, I've developed a love for the town.)  The entire film was filmed in NYC, so many times during the movie I had to rewind it just to look at the stuff happening on the streets.  It was really cool...and so much trash!

No music, gritty as fook acting, dingy NYC scenery, a few scenes that should have been left on the editing room floor (the long needle scene, the entire puppy story), great ending and a few brief sightings of actors that would later become well-known including: Marcia Jean Kurtz, Raul Julia, Joe Santos and Paul Sorvino.

Overall, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is a dated film, but still very much worth watching.

Monday, January 9, 2017

MANNEQUIN (1987)

A dork loser (Andrew McCarthy), who somehow has a bad ass loft despite the fact he can't keep a job for over a week, gets a job at a large downtown department store and soon falls in love with a 5,000 year-old woman (Kim Cattrall) who's possessed a mannequin.  And she with him.  Catch is...only he can see her as a real person.  Everybody else just thinks that he's a nutjob molesting a mannequin, but they tolerate him because he (and his mannequin muse) create new and exciting window displays that bring in some much needed customers.  They also attract the attention of a rival department store boss that wants to know the secret to Andrew's newfound success.

That story is dumb as hell, but...hey!  This is the 1980's we're talking about.  Despite the silliness of it all, MANNEQUIN still works as a goofy, light-hearted comedy mainly thanks to good casting and performances that were wacky, but not too wacky.  For me, the most memorable character was the hilariously flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose (played brilliantly by Meshach Taylor).

Eye-watering 80's fashions, a few funny moments, G.W. Bailey looking like he walked directly off the set of a POLICE ACADEMY movie and onto the set of this movie, music montage with lots of costume changes and 80's dancing, R.L. Ryan from STREET TRASH, Kim Cattrall looking good but not as good as she did in BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, a cute bulldog, James Spader making funny faces.

Overall, MANNEQUIN is an enjoyable 80's timewaster, but it never answers the question as to what would happen if somebody walked in on Andrew and Kim having sex?  Would she instantly seal up and rip his dick off??!

Part 2 - Mannequin: On the Move (1991)