|Greatest Rock'n'Roll Comedy Ever Made.
Allan Arkush, dir
Malcolm McDowell, Lou Reed
is a quote from the
Amazon "Detail page" for this film:
"NOT YET RELEASED: The studio is currently not
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is that this
film will probably never appear on DVD, because the original sound
elements have been lost.
|This is, quite simply,
a movie that i do not believe could be made today.
The drug jokes, the non-PC scene at the blind blues man's funeral, the
general laid-back, loosey-goosey anything-goes scattershot approach to
movie making are simply too much of the 80s -- and the early 80s at
It's coming up on New Year's, 1983, punk has pretty well given way to
New Wave, but the music is still interesting, and promoter Max Wolf
(read: Bill Graham, and you wouldn't be far out, portrayed perfectly by
Alan Garfield) is planning another gala concert to celebrate at the
same time the fifteenth anniversary of the Saturn Theatre music hall
(read: Fillmore East, where Arkush was an usher -- he can be seen
onscreen in a hitchcockian cameo wearing his Fillmore East usher's
t-shirt) and the New Year. It'll be the summit of his career as a
Colin Beverley (Ed Begley Jr), CEO of Serpent Records, aided by his yes
men (played by actors whose names are too good to reveal, though many
younger viewers these days might not recognise them or their names...),
who was fired after three
days as a Saturn usher, years ago, wants to buy up the Saturn's lease,
tear it down and build an 88-story HQ building for Serpent on the spot.
Beverley will use any method he can, including terrorism, to get that
lease. he offers Max the chance to put on huge shows at his stadium
"I put on concerts where the kids can see the band and hear the music.
So screw stadiums, and screw you." Max answers. (Long Live
Rock'n'Roll!!! i say.)
Believing he is dying of a heart attack, fearing what evil Beverley
may be planning, Max decides this will be the greatest concert of his
life -- and he calls in his markers.
They'll all be there -- Nada (with special guest, Piggie)! (Lori
Eastside and Lee Ving) King Blues! (Bill Henderson) Captain Cloud and
the Rainbow telegraph! (Howard Kaylan, of the Turtles, hilarious as a
time-warped hippie) Reggie Wanker and his band (and his girlfriend,
Countess Chantamina) (Malcolm MacDowell out jaggering Mick and out
kinking Ray)... and Auden, existential folk-rock poet, the man who made
the Sixties what they are today! (Lou Reed in a deadly deadpan
And the whole thing rests squarely on the shoulders of Neal, the stage
manager (Daniel Stern) who, added to all his other problems, finds his
theatre infested with a severe case of 17-year-old spandex-wrapped kid
sister (Stacy Nelkin).
Not to mention sabotage (internal and external), over zealous fire
marshalls (Robert Picardo, long before "Voyager"), uncooperative bands
that won't play by the rules, Electric Larry -- the word's fastest dope
dealer -- running loose in the hall, bomb threats, fires, and general
brouhaha, the first stirrings of love and Max's geek nephew, who's
conspiring with Colin Beverley.
"It's... it's ticking!" "I know -- it's traditional..."
This is a movie for the rock'n'roll fan -- the more you know about
rock'n'roll, from its very beginnings up till the very moment that the
cameras began to roll on this film, the more you will enjoy it, though,
lord knows, even someone who barely knows Mick Jagger from Paul Simon
can still appreciate it.
The directorial style and cinematography are kinetic and
surreal/scattershot, we slide in and out of hallucinations, daydreams
and just plain weirdness (two Rastafarians come in escorting a seven
foot high walking talking spliff with eyes and a mouth, among the items
confiscated during body searches at the door are a 500-pound bomb and a
full keg of beer, not to mention a full length shotgun; the men's room
has to be seen -- and will be -- to be believed and the crowd are
Jokes are crammed in everywhere; as an example of the sort of thing i
mean, consider the drummer in the Wanker's band -- His name is Toad
(the title of a Ginger Baker drum solo piece), he is played by John
Densmore (drummer for the Doors) and looks and sounds like Keith Moon.
Reggie's private 747 is a loving tribute to the glory days of
rock'n'roll excess and Bad Taste (before the bean counters really
clamped down on spending). And watch out for references to other films.
In the end, of course, everything comes out exactly as it ought,
vilains paid out, virtue rewarded, the seventeen-year-old virgin (male)
on the stage crew gets over it, rather spectacularly ... and wait till
you see (or rather, don't see, but meet) the Wanker's new manager...
The usual ex-Corman-protege obligatory-cameo actors are on board --
Dick Miller, Mary Woronov and the late Dick Bartel, plus others.
And make sure you watch the end credits till the very end, and keep
your eyes open throughout for references to other films (especially
ones in which two or more members of this cast appeared together).
Since i wrote this
original review, i've seen an
interview with McDowell, in which he said that he hadn't read the
script - he was relaxing after his previous film, and when his
agent told him they wanted him for this, he said (without reading
the script) that he'd do it if they met his pay requirements ... and
So his first day on
the set, someone asked
him how he planned to play the scene with Reggie's "new manager" near
it was like "What have I
signed up for?!? Get me the script!"
||If you liked "Rock'n'Roll High School", you must not miss this.
(Conversely, if you liked this, you really need to see "R'n'R HS"
if you haven't already; things are often oddly symmetrical that
Get Crazy! DVD will include the video for Bette
Midler's cover of the Stones' "Beast of Burden" that Arkush shot on the
same set at the same time, in which both Stacy Nelkin and the *real*
Mick Jagger have walk-ons...))
|"Get Crazy!/Do a striptease down the supermarket
aisle/Get crazy!/Tell your boyfriend that you're pregnant, watch him