Wednesday, September 1, 2021

RACQUET (1979)

Beverly Hills tennis instructor/cocksmith Bert Convy is unhappy with his easy life of non-stop sex and occasionally playing tennis.  He wants to open his own tennis school so he can then have an easy life of non-stop sex and occasionally playing tennis.  Trouble is, in order to open his own school, Bert calculates that it's going to cost him $500,000 and he will need a $200,000 down payment!  I'm already lost.  This is 1979 we're talking about.  That's a lot of money just to teach tennis!  Jesus Christ.  Anyway, it's not important.  The guy needs a boatload of money for [blank] reason to [move the story forward], so kinda like in the 1975 hit film SHAMPOO (which had pretty much the same story), Bert asks one of his sexual partners to trick her husband into giving Bert the money for his own hair salon, I mean...tennis school!

The story in RACQUET might not be original and the comedy might be so horrible that I'm not even sure the film can properly be classified as a comedy, but it still has a certain morbid curiosity to it.  Mainly thanks to the passage of time.  I was fascinated by the beautiful late 1970's Southern California locations, the dated fashions and completely misguided attempts at humor.  I mean, these jokes are really bad.  The only time I genuinely smiled was at Phil Silvers, but sadly he was only in the film for a few minutes.

Good pace, pointless story, a bizarre disco club that I wanted to see more of, cringeworthy homophobic, ageism, racist and weight discrimination humor, awesome Los Angeles scenery, mediocre acting, a few scenes where I'm curious if there was even a script or maybe the actors were just winging it, vintage cars, some super fast nudity, a floating swimming pool lounger with a telephone and radio on it, Phil Silver acting like an animal while wearing an animal costume for sexual gratification (would that be a crude early example of a "furry" in a movie?  Seriously, when was the first onscreen appearance of a furry in a movie?), disappointing/stupid ending, various attractive people, at least two really bad songs that my cat loved listening to me singing along with, an interesting cast, a love montage complete with a waterfall and feeding birds together, bionic man roleplay sex.

RACQUET is a strange movie and not worth mainstream consumption, but if you enjoy goofy 1970's bad Cinema then it's worth checking out.  I am curious if this thing made any money at the box office?

[Update 09/02/2021: The film opens at the country club where Bert works and in the opening scene, his boss introduces Bert to a new tennis instructor who then publicly beats Bert in a game. It seemed like the film was setting up a rivalry between the two characters, but we never see the other dude ever again! That story would have been more interesting than Bert wanting to open up his own club. Especially if the other dude was a gigolo also and they had a competition about who could sling the most ding-a-ling in a month.  Maybe who could make the most money in two weeks to save the club from going out of business or something simple like that.  Make the film into a legit sex comedy and not some bizarre, unfunny SHAMPOO ripoff.]

Monday, August 23, 2021

COLORS (1988)

"Fucking vato psycho loco, homes."

Los Angeles, California. A newer cop (Sean Penn) is teamed up with a veteran cop (Robert Duvall).  Together they protect the citizens of Los Angeles by breaking all kinds of laws and doing pretty much anything they want.  Including spray painting a teenager in the face and watching an unarmed (naked) man get shot in the back.  By time the film was over I wasn't sure if they had actually done anything productive or were just another participant in the gang war.  Maybe that was the point of the story.

As far as older police/street gang movies go, COLORS is extremely dated...but honestly, it was dated the day it came out.  I don't think Damon Wayans A capella rapping "checkin' out slobs / that is our job...G ridin in the van / with my main man" could've ever be taken seriously.  Dated or not, COLORS is still an entertaining watch for fans of 1980's crime films.

Medium pace, uneven direction (by Dennis Hopper of all people), tons of familiar faces, lots of cool Los Angeles locations (including the rebel hideout from V: THE FINAL BATTLE and a bad ass movie theater showing AMERICAN NINJA 2: THE CONFRONTATION, DIRTY WAR and STREET SMART!), zero big awesome action scenes, vintage cars, vintage clothes, solid acting, interesting variety of music (including Los Lobos, War, Ice-T, Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and others), a few quick drive-bys, Damon Wayans air humping a large stuffed rabbit doll, unsatisfying ending, multiple continuity errors, quick nudity, a brief Candyman sighting and some truly thought-provoking dialogue.  Including this memorable exchange...

Gang member: "Well, fuck you man.  I don't wanna stop nothing!"
Cop: "Hey, fuck you.  You little stupid fucking asshole."
Gang member: "Well, fuck you back man!"

That's a fucking Hallmark moment right there.  Or maybe I should quote the guy from I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA: "The man's a Shakespeare!" Anyway, COLORS. Good movie and kind of original for its time, but it doesn't hold up to some of the street gang classics that would come just a few years later.

[Update 08/31/2021: Watching 1973's ROBIN HOOD on Disney+ as I edit older reviews and the Sheriff of Nottingham just sang the line "They call me a slob, but I do my job."  That's very similar to the line Damon Wayans rapped in this film.  Guess it's a small world after all.]