Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Open Road; The Open Mouth

On Saturday night, I enjoyed a double feature of two Alex Cox movies: REPO MAN, from 1984, and SEARCHERS 2.0, from 2007. In between, three actors who are in both features (Del Zamora, Ed Pansullo, and Sy Richardson) along with fellow RM actors Dick Rude and Olivia Barash did a Q & A with the audience; and the three SEARCHERS actors stuck around through the second feature and chatted with the audience in the lobby.

SEARCHERS 2.0 is, in some ways, the stereotypical indie movie. It's shot on a tiny budget, on HD video, and is mostly talk. And talk. And a bit more talk. Fortunately for both the movie and the audience's sanity, the talk is fun and entertaining, and the characters just the right mix of sympathetic and obnoxious that we don't mind spending 93 minutes in their company.

The basic story would fit on the back of a cereal box. Two former kid actors from Western movies learn that a screenwriter who once abused them on a movie set will be appearing at a film screening in Monument Valley. They immediately embark on an Ill-thought-out mission to drive from L.A. to the valley and take revenge on the writer. Because they must take the SUV of the daughter of one of the actors, the daughter comes along on the trip. The actors engage in endless discussions about American films, primarily westerns about revenge. The daughter -- who rereads "The Fountainhead" obsessively -- alternately complains about the conversation, or critiques the underpinnings of American films. It's all fairly straightforward, but takes a Cox-like surreal turn when they get to Monument Valley. It's not entirely satisfying, and certainly not a work that captures the zeitgeist like "Repo Man" did 26 years ago. But it's certainly worth a viewing when it comes out on video next month -- particularly if you're a movie fan who can stand to see your favorite movies take a little needleing.

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