MOOM PITCHER REVIEW: DELIVERANCE (directed by John Boorman, 1972)
The passing mention of this film in regards to how your humble blogschpieler wouldn't mind seeing none other than "fellow" blogfuhrer Jay Hinman acting out the Ned Beatty role with the hillbillies not far from the rump of the matter (all laid down somewhere in the vast reaches of my previous post) had me hot on the heels of searching out my own personal copy of DELIVERANCE if only to get a better unnerstandin' of what the whole hubbub about that pig ridin' scene was about (amongst other things, of course!). I may've seen the film on tee-vee way back when but you know what the nets used to do to these features bowderizin' 'em for general consumption (at least when they had a thing about not offending mid-amerigan sensibilities, that is). In the tee-vee version, the hillbilly merely insults Beatty makin' him roll around in the dirt in his undies...which sorta makes about as much sense as Dustin Hoffman merely teaching the bad guys a "lesson" by slappin' 'em silly in the tube take of STRAW DOGS (a future BLOG TO COMM subject matter) or Gary Grimes and Jennifer O'Neill "dancing" in SUMMER OF '42. And I dunno about you, but I sure miss those days of yore when you could easily turn on the set and not expect a load of UNCENSORED crud comin' your way that only seems to exist to devour, nay, DEMOLISH the everyday nowhere bloke who turns on the box for a little escapism from the inadequecies of everyday life, y'know?
Anyway, even I can remember just how much DELIVERANCE was making a hugeoid impact on the collective psyches of movie-going Ameriga back when it came out smack-dab inna middle of perhaps the second greatest film era (at least since the talkies) during the early seventies (I'd argue that this second Golden Age lasted at least until STAR WARS mucked up the cinematic clime a few years later, but that's another arguement!). "Dueling Banjos" was being played all over the place and the opening scene where Ronnie Cox gets out-played by some halfwit mountain boy was even spoofed on BIG CHUCK AND HOULIHAN and probably THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW for all I know, and hey, I recall hearing about the aforementioned mountain man run-in during those tender teenage years (and from my cousin in fact!), first of all being told that it was co-star Burt Reynolds himself who got the reaming, and second being led to believe that the scene was a lot more graphic than it actually was thinkin' that there was blood spurting out from Beatty's hole and up-close penetration shots'n all that disgusting stuff that must prove I'm a homophobe since I will admit this scene, and the way it was portrayed 'n not relayed to me third-hand, does make me cringe just thinkin' about it!
(Speaking of homo-bashing even of the slightest incidental kind, while combing the web looking for background info regarding DELIVERANCE I came acoss this writeup where the on-line reviewer chides the film for its outdated and downright evil anti-gay stance! REALLY!!!! I mean, whoever wrote the review was totally apopleptic about how "homosexuality" [as opposed to rape!] was portrayed in the moom as if DELIVERANCE was some sorta great anti-homosexual screed making me wonder just how said "critic" would have written the scene himself...with Beatty, all filled with hetero guilt, willingly giving himself to the humiliating hillbilly??? I mean, here a guy is being RAPED, and some pink-leaning lavender-loving self-professed film scholar is cutting the thing down because he perceives it as being derougatory towards homos! Maybe he sees the hillbilly as a gay man [which is probably not the case, this more or less being a revenge rape in the purest prison sense] but I gotta say that if a reviewer feels that somehow DELIVERANCE is making an anti-gay/sodomy statement with this scene then he's obviously been attending too many sensitivity seminars or perhaps teaches quite a few of 'em himself! The mind boggles, not only at how deviancy in all forms has been made to come off as a mere "choice" in life, but how people who end up as victims because of such deviancy are somehow made to look like the evil ones!)
But enough bunghole bungling...once you get down to it DELIVERANCE is a good enough draw-you-in saga that could have something to do with some ideals regarding certain masculinity "myths" that people have tried to tear down for a few decades awlready, or it's a mere update on those old Jack London stories I've been told to read when I was a kid so's I wouldn't end up looking like a complete doofus. But whatever it is it sure fits in swell with the aforementioned early/mid-seventies Golden Age of cinema gone gonz. Four suburban Atlanta professional types (played by Reynolds who was then at the height of his popularity, self-confessed Jew-beater Jon Voight, Beatty [who kinda does looke more like Dave Lang than D. Boon does making the rape scene more meaningful] in his first film role and nada character actor Ronny Cox) hit the wild country 'stead of the golf course for the weekend in search of hunting and canoeing whilst wandering right into the land of nature gone awry and telephone-pole family trees in the process. Admittedly the story does get a little slow when you see the guys camping out and acting manly for each other, but the trek into unknown dangers helps kick up the heart-pace to the point where even you (jaded "seen-it-all-before" filmgoer) can get a little queasy watching Beatty's hershey highway get trafficjammed, or the city guys seemingly getting beaten to smithereens while rushing the rapids as a canoe gets crunched in half and the guys kinda reconsider the last-minute plea of Voight that maybe hitting the links again this weekend wouldn't've been such a bad idea after all!
Not being a fella who's much of a "fan" of recent cinematic excursions (in fact, being a guy who hasn't even set foot in a theater in almost two decades), I can easily say that at least films such as DELIVERANCE as well as much of the seventies fare I have seen have a certain dark edge that has sorely been lacking in a lotta pop culture for quite some time. Maybe it was this era (which spawned a load of top-notch high-intensity filmfare) that was the final Hollywood swan-song before the whole industry toppled into hackdom and ultimately self-conscious political priggishness, and if so maybe it's time for a real film revival, not one of empty self-consciousness, endless remakes and pallid, self-generated controversy, but one of HIGH ENERGY and nerve-twisting intensity. Heck, that's another reactionary movement I can get myself tuned into!
IN OTHER NEWS: just got hold of a promo package from Gulcher featuring two li'l items I'm sure you'll all wanna know about. Mykal Xul's GIZMOS MY WAY is a great tribute to the infamous Kenne Highland et. al. gonzo rock crit band of the seventies that, despite the advent of thirty years of "technology" and "people knowing better" still retains the great mid-seventies punk drive that made the Gizmos household names, at least in households with subscriptions to HUSTLER magazine. Now, none of the songs that made the Gizmos famous are here...in a surprise move this 'un consists of nothin' but unreleased Gizmo wares that might have been done by the Afrika Korps or maybe even Slickee Boys somewhere down the line but you can't deny that the spirit of Kenne and Krew has leeched itself onto Xul's brain (and it has...just take a look at the guy's face!) giving this disque a suburban garage sprawl so real that you can just see the bikes piled up inna corner as Xul and band start to play. The surprise hit of the late summer season, even if it only clocks in at a half-hour!
Also on Gulcher comes 12 Cent Donkey's WHERE THERE ARE NO ROADS. With a name like 12 Cent Donkey I kinda figured that none other'n Eddie Flowers had a hand in their signin' (I figured that because these avant/noise/ambient/experimental outings on Gulcher tend to reflect what I perceive as Flowers' current musical tastes which veer towards the weird!) and since ol' Alabammy himself was responsible for the cover graphics I'm pretty positive that the man had more'n a "little" imput into this thing. Whaddeva, WHERE THERE ARE NO ROADS is a "peculiar" release, sorta like bedroom rock with hefty Eno-era MUSIC FOR COMAS sound mixed with an Art Ensemble (Malachi Favors-styled zither plucking) feel and some acoustic Amon Duul I folkiedoms actually clinging onto your psyche with relative ease! Kinda reminds me of the groove I was into during the late-seventies when things like Obscure Records and John Cage seemed to mean as much to me as the Standells and heck even Patti Smith did, and a few years later I thought I was nuts for listening to this avantspew in the first place when I coulda been devoting myself 100% to the rock & roll big beat! Maybe I was right or wrong...who knows, but 12 Cent Donkey sure dredge up the memories!
I was speaking of Eno earlier, and perhaps because I wanted to give a listen to his later "rock" albums again I got hold of the now outta-print ENOBOX in order to do a little re-educatin'. I dunno about you, but I still find NO NEW YORK Eno's last bright moment, right around the same time he was also getting into the proto-new age gunk he's best known for as well as the popwave productions that seemed like the right thing to do when he was working with Television in '75, but oh-so-pretentious when working with U2 and Talking Heads a half-decade later. It was obvious even in the mid-seventies when he was still popular as a rock icon that Eno's rock star era was starting to come to a close which is probably why his last two rock disques ANOTHER GREEN WORLD and BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE still don't hold up as well as HERE COME THE WARM JETS and TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN (BY STRATEGY) continue to. (By the way, both of those albums are compiled on disque #1 but are edited down for some odd reason so even if you get the box set, don't throw away yer originals!) And surprisingly enough, even when Eno's doing his Velvet Underground/punk thing (like on "King's Lead Hat" or while working with Snatch) he just seems like he's paving the way for eighties dance art and the tiresome David Byrne collaborations that appear on disque three. Stick with the originals, though this might be worth picking up if only for the rare gem "Seven Deadly Finns."
ALSO HEARD: Peter Brotzmann's MACHINE GUN CD (FMP), Freedomland's YIA YIA'S SONG CD-R (Rent Control), Tangerine Dream's ELECTRONIC MEDITATION CD (Castle Communications) and lots of Doodles as well. And, believe it or not, but I have changed my mind w/regards to a previously tossed off disque, mainly O-Type's WESTERN CLASSICS CD which sounds more like up-to-date MX-80-isms the more I listen to it and might just become an all-time top-spin here at the offices one of these days. Bruce Anderson/Dale Sophiea fans might want to give the new Family Vineyard box set consisting of all of their work for the label as well as an unreleased DVD a looksee even if you do have all the original disques like I do. (Which is not an indication that I will or won't buy this box set considering the tight reins I have to put on my pocketbook these days, but I must admit that this po' boy does find the idea of an Anderson/Sophiea box set mighty tasty indeed!)
ATTEMPTED TO HEAR Lenny Kaye at the CB's 313 Gallery last Friday night. Sheesh, with the club's days winding down to a precious few you would at least hoped someone would've left the sound on (it had been on for the previous act, some folk-rockers who called themselves the Ric Flairs) but for some reason it was cut for Kaye's solo electric guitar set and considering how many more opportunities I will have left to tune into these cybercasts you can bet I was madder than Ken Shimamoto at a World War II Bataan Death March Survivors reunion. And yeah, I had high hopes that maybe Kaye and Richard Robinson would have resurrected Man Ray for at least one gig, but even the prospects of a solo Kaye gig was too much to hope for to begin with...I would've at least hoped for sound, but I got to see Kaye in a striped shirt, worn jeans and red hair (!) and believe-you-me that was worth tuning in for. I only hope that no snafus doth occur while I try to catch a rare PLANETS reunion next Friday hopefully transpiring on the main CBGB stage!
Before I split, just wanted to share a few You Tube things wit' cha! The first one's an early Otto Von Ruggins video from '81 (the number in question's taken from the MUSICAL VIEWERS EP he did with Robert Crash) while the second is Lou Rone and Triple Cross from '89 or so, Lou's last live appearance on a stage as I hear! Watch up, and if you're lucky maybe I'll do a little mid-week posting for a change!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
MOOM PITCHER REVIEW: DELIVERANCE (directed by John Boorman, 1972)