Thursday, October 10, 2019


1975????? Sheesh, I remember the whole youth kultur hippoid generation having pretty much been buried by this time, thankfully replaced by more wholesome outlets of youthful expression such as glam and a general sick 'n jaded attitude being directed towards just about anything and everything that the "relevant" kidz bolstered their own self worth with. After all, this was the era of NATIONAL LAMPOON and the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and if anything typified the general grumble of the era it was things like those 'n many more (remember punk rock?). Moom pitchers of this quality were pretty much laffed outta the theatres they were showed at 'n nobody liked 'em unless they were one of those sensitive iron-haired gals who used to impress the teacher because they were reading Dick Gregory books while the rest of us were still pouring through The Rover Boys. But sheesh, I guess that if a moom like THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK could pack 'em in long after the whole hippie/Viet thingie died down then why not this particular pelicula which has enough up-to-date and socially conscious material to have given Rod McKuen an erection on his death bed?

Micky Dolenz is the big name draw even though he's there mainly for comedy relief, a long-haired Pat Brady trying to grow a pot plant and get nookie 'stead of getting into highlarous confrontations with Nellybelle. But he ain't the meaty potatoes of this comedy-drama about a buncha freeloading hippies who are given (by the local merchants whose business is being hampered by the smelly set) their own town to vegetate in. The bulk of this flicker is "based upon" the myriad assortment of other characters both straight and loopy who are involved with this cinematic turdburger which is about as self-serious, and (once you get down to it) about as establishment preachy as any Dave Berg "Lighter Side" comic you may come upon. In fact, I really do get the idea that director Shelley Berman (who was a whole lot better walking around amid people wearing masks with his likeness on THE TWILIGHT ZONE) is straight from the Dave Berg mode...sure he mighta been the best neighbor one could have hoped for but that Fifties liberal stuck inna seventies schtick sure wears thin.

The dead serious parts of KEEP OFF MY GRASS! are stultifying, once again making those hippies that we're all supposed to love because they're so downhome goody goody 'n all look even more shootable than Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper did to those pickup truck denizens in EASY RIDER. The grownups are just as 2-D as a bra cup especially when they make peace signs at the hippies trekking off to their new town or commune or whatever it is they're moving to. Even a pro like Louis Quinn (former 77 SUNSET STRIP co-star who was spending the decade appearing in not only big league flicks like ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN but those Crown International tittyfests that had more'n a few boys hiding out in the woods behind the drive-in Friday nights) comes off more irritating than sympathetic as a local businessman who conceives the idea of shipping the hippies out to their own nirvanaland. And that ain't even counting the rest of the cast from the terminally hip Free Clinic doctor, the patently goyish-looking eighties tee-vee star Gerald McRainey as Quinn's Jewish son who wants to drop out of college and find himself, the other residents of Hippie Homeland with their immediately punchable faces and even that guy who played the retarded doof in ON THE ROCKS and other late-seventies forgettables.

KEEP OFF MY GRASS! has a weird kinda ebb and flow and lotsa loose ends including the film's very climatic ending where the revenge seeing daughter of the local pharmacist douses the ice cream for the hippie wedding reception with LSD leading to one of those freak out scenes that popped up in just about every "Now" film since 1969. Not that I particularly care that the bitch got away with her dastardly deed which resulted in the self-inflicted death of one of the scuzzies, but I kinda thought that at least that slim detail'd come to some concrete conclusion whether positive or negative (and you can guess what I hope "positive" and "negative" means or else you haven't been reading this blog long enough!).

What else would you expect from one of these low budget older generation tries to cope with the younger one and of course sets the pace with their loose adaptations of traditional mores kinda excursions such as this? Gotta say that this film does serve a couple of important purposes. For one it'll show alla those eighties/nineties punque rock types who think hippies were some sorta brave pioneers of total freedom just what a dull hoax the entire movement was and shall remain for that matter, as well as to remind us higher forms of life as to why things like Iggy and CREEM magazine were so important in the face of such cloying forms of entertainment as this.

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

When I first saw this film (a friend sent me a DVD-R of it a few years ago), my first impression was that it looked A LOT earlier than 1975. Your review prompted me to do a little online research, and sure enough, it was actually shot in 1971...but kept in the can until a release in 1975. I don't remember it playing in my area at the time....I would have gone to see it, as a Dolenz fan. Maybe you can also review NIGHT OF THE STRANGLER and LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT and we can have a Micky Dolenz Film Festival here at BTC.