Thursday, April 9, 2015

See Me, Touch Me

So, speaking of musical movies and psycho-sexual freakouts: Ken Russell's Tommy (1974).

I guess we first saw this in its first or second run - I say "we" because Ms. Spenser and I saw it around the same time, but not together, as we were not an item yet. I'm trying to remember what our stance on the Who was back in 1974. I don't think our crowd was too into the rock opera Tommy. Who's Next was big in my high school: Every senior class would graffiti a big rock near the school and our year painted "Teenage Wasteland". It proved enduring, and I'd say 90% of senior classes for the next 20 years just repainted it. In college, we were more into the Maximum R&B sound of Live at Leeds. Post-college, I tried to get into punk, but when me and some friends got tossed out of a punk club for being hippies, we went to see The Kids Are Alright. But Tommy was never a big deal.

A couple of things about the movie: I love the fact that there is no dialogue. It is sung-through, like a real opera. Also, Ken Russell is nuts, so there are lots of weird things going on, in particular, Ann-Margaret as Tommy's mother swimming in soap suds, baked beans and chocolate sauce. She probably does the best acting - mostly because Oliver Reed is playing such a swine and Roger Daltrey, who plays Tommy, can't really act.

Elton John's "Pinball Wizard" number was not great, but I loved Tina Turner's "Acid Queen". All in all, we didn't think this really held up.

We also watched Quicksilver (1986), which you can't get on Netflix, so we bought it. It stars Kevin Bacon as a hot-shot stockbroker who loses everything and becomes a bicycle messenger in San Francisco. It's pretty fun, with lots of cycling stunts, real SF locations, and a big chase at the end. It's pretty much by the numbers, but well done. It's got a nice little part for "Larry" Fishburne. And why do I mention it?

That dire 80's Giorgio Moroder theme song, "Quicksilver Lightning"? That's Roger Daltrey shouting out the lyrics.

No comments: