11/25/11

Retro Film Report #18: Seven Quick Reviews


For me, finding a 60s-80s movie on Instant is often a frustrating experience. There's a whole array of long-forgotten classics buried in their vast storehouse of instantly viewable material; the trouble is finding them.... and it simply should not be so hard.

Here follows my quick and dirty reviews of a few titles I've found on Netflix:
C.C. & Company (1970)
For Those Who Think Young (1964)
Switchblade Sisters (1975)
The Astral Factor (1976)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
Bedazzled (1967)
Billy Jack (1971)




My goal is to just provide you enough information for you to determine whether or not to give it a try, not write a dissertation on each film.   Here's your evaluation criteria:

Star Quotient 
Even the worst movies can be saved by Evil Knievel and Paul Lynde
Badassitude
Chuck Norris and Shaft excel in this category
Action Fraction
Chase scenes, be it chopper or speed boat, are a worthy addition to any film
Laughtermath
Will you laugh hysterically or just smile awkwardly
Sexitivity
The T&A factor: for many of you, the only score that matters
Disturbulence
How badly will you need to take a shower to wash away the painful memory
Frighteousness
Scariness; Exorcist = 10, Shaggy DA = 0
Storytelling 
The part between the explosions and the nudity

I'll also follow each review with ~four screen grabs. Let's begin!


C.C. & Company (1970)

Plot: Pretty rich girl falls for biker; predictable trouble ensues.
Star Quotient: 10
Joe Namath and Ann-Margret headline - about as good a reason to watch a movie if there ever was one
Badassitude: 4
Namath is a shit kicking biker gypsy, but acting is way too awful to pull it off
Action Fraction: 3
Several yawn inducing motorcycle races
Laughtermath: 3
Humor is nonexistent except for unintentionally hilarious script
Sexitivity: 3
Brief out of focus nudity on a few occasions; Ann-Margret remains fully clothed throughout
Disturbulence: 3
Ann-Margret is nearly raped by two bikers; uncomfortable, but Namath steps in before it got too ugly
Frighteousness: 0
Capitalized on the fears of older generation - young biker gangs run amok; lame by today's standards
Storytelling: 1
Appears to have been written by a mildly retarded 14 year old





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For Those Who Think Young (1964)

Plot: Wacky beach loving teens must save a local hangout. Psuedo-hilarity ensues.
Star Quotient: 10
Another gathering of greats: Nancy Sinatra, Bob Denver, Tina Louise, Ellen Burstyn, Paul Lynde
Badassitude: 0
James Darren is a dapper young gentleman; but, even Troy Donahue looks tough by comparison
Action Fraction: 0
Merchant Ivory films have more action than this movie
Laughtermath: 4
Corny Laugh-In style gags abound; cheesy but a lot of fun nonetheless
Sexitivity: 4
Hot young teens and Tina Louise as a burlesque queen; yet, G rated booty is all you'll get in this flick
Disturbulence: 1
Seeing Bob Denver and Nancy Sinatra as a horny couple should count for something
Frighteousness: 0
Storytelling: 1
Paint by numbers mid sixties teen movie




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Switchblade Sisters AKA The Jezebels (1975)

Plot: Like The Warriors, but with lots of estrogen
Star Quotient: 1
The neighbor dad in That 70s Show is in it (see image below)... that's about it.
Badassitude: 8
Maggie takes a cigarette burn to the navel and still keeps swinging. She is an ass kicking machine.
Action Fraction: 8
The pace is frantic; the massacre at the roller rink is B movie action at its finest
Laughtermath: 5
It's hard for me to give such high marks to unintentional humor, but this has to be seen to be believed
Sexitivity: 5
No nudity to speak of; however, Maggie is in hot pants or mini throughout.
Disturbulence: 4
A couple scenes of implied rape; surprisingly tame given that it was made in '75 and some scenes are in a women's prison
Frighteousness: 0
Storytelling: 3
Rolls along swiftly, keeping the entertainment level high. However, the dialog is exquisitely horrible.






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AKA The Astral Factor (1976)

Plot: A pathetic dumbass uses psychic ability to turn invisible and kill women; it's up to uber suave Robert Foxworth to catch him before he kills again!

Star Quotient = 5
Robert Foxworth will forever be linked to his Damien: Omen II role for me; Stephanie Powers plays his wife in an amazingly pointless role; Elke Somer is waaaay past her prime.

Badassitude = 3
Foxworth really reminds me of Mr. Brady during his perm days. Now, that hardly makes him a badass, but Foxworth is one cool customer, oozing raw seventies awesomeness.

Action Fraction = 5
A respectable amount of killing going on; however, it's TV Movie of the Week violence level

Laughtermath = 1
I think Stephanie Powers is supposed to have a somewhat comedic role. At one point, she's drunk and acting a blamed fool, but the scene is so awkward that any humor is hopelessly lost. It's as if she unintentionally stumbled upon Ricky Gervais' "painfully awkward = comedy" formula.

Sexitivity = 3
No nudity (except Powers from the back for a couple seconds); woefully low on T&A

Disturbulence = 3
The scenes where the Invisible Strangler takes out women are shown from the Strangler's perspective, and are a bit on the disturbing side. A girl killed in a bath is shown close-up, rotten and gory looking. Not super horrific, but kinda unexpected in a movie like this.

Frighteousness= 2
Fright factor about on the level of an episode of Columbo - which is sort of what this movie reminds me of... but not near as good.

Storytelling = 4
Same flavor as any 70s detective show - mildly entertaining and hardly memorable. By the time you read this, I will have forgotten most of the film.

Stephanie Powers in a painfully awkward scene
Foxworth striking a pose of unadulterated cool
Did I mention the Invisible Strangler neatly drapes his victims over couches?
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The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

Plot: To the best of my knowledge, there is no plot whatsoever. Lot's of dancing, singing, and unbridled giddiness.  Tons and tons of giddiness.


Star Quotient = 3
Catherine Deneuve and Gene Kelly - not too shabby

Badassitude = 0
Opposite of badass. This is what Chuck Norris' nightmares look like.

Action Fraction = 0
Dancing does not count as action. I that's understood.

Laughtermath = 0
It's effervescent as hell - you simply cannot stay in a lousy mood whilst watching this. This is pure happiness put to celluloid..... but not funny in the slightest.

Sexitivity = 5
Copious French miniskirts; Enough said.

Disturbulence = 2
The randomness, the silliness, and hyper gleefulness lends an almost hallucinogenic feel to the film.

Frighteousness= 0

Storytelling = 2
People break into song and dance at any moment, which is lovely.... but there's simply no story. It's so odd, so absurd, that it is actually worth a watch.

If you drank a beer every time you said "WTF?" in this movie, you'd die of alcohol poisoning
Tons of super short skirts - perhaps the film's only redeeming quality
Oddly enough, the film makes even less sense with the English subtitles ON
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Bedazzled (1967): A total loser makes a deal with the devil to get his dream girl.  Agreements between to man and Satan typically don't go so well, and this is no exception with Dudley Moore winding up worse for wear.

Star Quotient = 6
Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Raquel Welch - sounds just about perfect, but Welch's part is woefully short

Badassitude = 6
Cook is the Prince of Darkness with a wry devilish wit; makes Pacino (The Devil's Advocate) and DeNiro (as Luis Cypher - worst devil name in history BTW - in Angel Heart) seem boring.

Action Fraction =0
British wit aplenty, but alas not a car chase to be found

Laughtermath = 8
This brand of humor is so brilliant, it takes a minute to acclimate. In fact, if you watch a full episode of How I Met Your Mother (utter shit), and then watch this, your head will implode upon itself.

Sexitivity = 7
Raquel delivers the goods, but it's from behind an annoying mesh curtain, and her scene is over way too soon. Eleanor Bron is in a miniskirt throughout.... you could do a lot worse.

Disturbulence = 1
It's not exactly upbeat; the comedy can be pretty dark. But, nothing too traumatizing here.

Frighteousness= 0
Turner and Hooch was scarier than this.

Storytelling = 7
Masterful - keeps you involved at every step.... unlike that Brendan Frazier train wreck that came out in 2000. What a godawful mess.








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Billy Jack (1971)



Billy Jack is the ultimate hero - part Native American, part ball busting Marine.... and he's got a school full of hippie children to protect from close minded rednecks.  When the hicks step over the line, Billy must put away his peace-loving principles, and beat some redneck ass!


Star Quotient = 2
Tom Laughlin and Delores Taylor aren't exactly Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but who gives a shit. Am I right?


Badassitude = 9
Billy Jack would be a perfect 10, if he didn't try to be such a hippie.  This is the most conflicted movie ever made: On the one hand, Billy Jack is an ex Marine that totally whoops ass - this is where the movie shines. Yet, it also tries to be a pro peace film (?)  I understand violence is sometimes necessary, even for the biggest pacifist, but this movie, at times, relishes the shit-kicking.

Action Fraction = 7
Although the action is sparse, it's a matter of quality over quantity. The scene where Billy confronts the redneck sheriff douche-bag is absolutely iconic. "I'm gonna take this right foot.... and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face... and you wanna know somethin'?... there's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it." 

Laughtermath = 0
I would love to give this a negative number simply because of Howard Hessman's horribly awkward comedy routines.  They last forever, are not remotely funny, and are gut-wrenchingly embarrassing. Perhaps hippies found these routines funny at the time, but they are an absolute clusterfuck now.  Hessman, thankfully, got a lot funnier on WKRP.

Sexitivity = 0

Disturbulence = 5
The whole story is fairly contrived, so it's hard to be disturbed by the tragedies that ensue.  However, Delores is raped towards the end of the film, and it's pretty awful.  Remember how you felt when Edith Bunker got raped? (Holy shit that was a horrible episode) This is probably along those lines.

Frighteousness= 0

Storytelling = 5
The story is pretty predictable; however, Laughlin is so engaging as the conflicted Billy Jack, you can't look away. 

 

10 comments:

  1. Keep it up. I enjoyed these reviews and I may have to check out the switchblade sisters.

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  2. The way I see it, any movie that isn't Billy The Kid VS Dracula is automatically a winner. That movie still haunts me. Oh the horror of a truly horrible movie.

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  3. You need to be sure to check out my (almost) weekly updates on what's new for retro fans on instant. http://www.retrohound.com/tag/netflix/ While not as extensively detailed as yours, I try to give a little info on each new movie.

    I was working on my top 50 movies and was going to do them one a week this year, but like you it takes me too long to write each one. When I was doing them that fast I didn't like the writing.

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  4. Enjoyed these! Like to see more!

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  5. Switchblade Sisters was re-released in arthouse theaters several years ago by Quentin Tarantino; it's a favorite of his.

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  6. Love the reviews!
    C.C. and Company - I've seen this one and it's pretty good. Ann Margret and Joe Namath make it a must see. There's a great scene where Namath makes himself a sandwich by opening up packages in a store and at the end just pays for a pack of cigarettes or gum (can't remember).
    For Those Who Think Young - haven't seen it but of interest because it has John (Gilligan) Denver and Tina (Ginger) Louise in a movie together.
    Switchblade Sisters - Haven't seen it but just for the title it's a must see.

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  7. Street People is one you might like. Roger Moore as a a 1/2 Sicilian and Stacy Keatch as a 1/2 crazy race car driver looking for drugs in San Francisco. My wife came home while I was watching it and said "500 movies to chose from, and you choose this crap."

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  8. I was a little confused at first with your set-up - I don't no nuthing 'bout no Instant Watcher - However as a new section of Retrospace I love it. Tese are some of the movies I saw on a saturday afternoon. It is funny how another comment-er made the same reference to Broadway Joe casually steally food in a store and you used the exact screen cap my brain had filed for this movie. I was 10 or so at the time I saw this on TV and thought what he was doing was really cool in a subversive way. These are great - do more definately.

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  9. Instant Queue is a home run Gilligan.............. you'll be able to get to SO many more films using this format...and thats a great thing!

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  10. A few from my queue:

    Gotcha!
    A Hard Day's Night
    Pulp
    Cannon for Cordoba
    Big Wednesday (Surfing)
    Who's Got the Action
    Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
    Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs
    Mrs. Polifax: Spy
    The Prisoner of Zenda (Peter Sellers)
    This is Spinal Tap
    My Name is Nobody
    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
    Diner
    Hud
    The Hustler
    The Life of Reilly (Charles Nelson Reilly that is)
    The Man Who Knew Too Little
    Roller Boogie
    Across 110th Street
    Enter the Dragon
    Salt and Pepper
    Crossplot
    Charlie Varrick
    Night Moves
    Beach Ball
    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
    Le Doulos
    The Russians are Coming...
    Redline 7000
    Fireball 500

    Lots of old TV shows:
    Misson: Impossible
    Rockford Files
    Hawaii Five-0
    Rat Patrol
    Incredible Hulk
    Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
    The Cosby Show
    Columbo

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