1999 Steven Soderbergh film lime, Peter Fonda, Terry Valentine dreams of 1960, describes "a place that maybe only exists in your imagination you knew the language." Maybe later, Valentine's Day is corrected.
By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
In Scarecrow, as in many of these films, women are temptresses and trophies, expected to be loose enough to offer a good time to a man passing through, but rarely allowed to act on their own wanderlust or direct their own fantasies of freedom. This gender imbalance is sometimes knowingly played for tragedy — think Karen Black's repeated abandonment in Five Easy Pieces — but it's rarely redeemed.
So within this series, Play It As It Lays, the second half of the Pieces double bill, plays like a corrective — to male fantasies of "freedom," to the myth of New Hollywood as a total political break from the old, to the notion that the road itself could lead to anything like utopia. It's Easy Rider the depraved and deranged morning after. Tuesday Weld's Maria is literally last year's model, the female lead of a zeitgeist-defining biker pic who married her maverick director, who has in turn developed a "nose for commerce" and a total insensitivity to Maria and their mentally disabled daughter. Play's quick and messy visual montage and sound collage would seem to approximate the exact moment coke replaced acid as the creative drug of choice. Meanwhile, Maria, who accepts as a compliment a bigwig's statement that she's "not a cunt," is on a precipice between liberation and dependency. The boozing, screwing and aimless driving, "going further and further looking for The Answer," which passed as stabs toward enlightenment when practiced by the male heroes of the other films, mark Maria as hysteric. Often over the top and heavily coded, Play It As It Lays stands out for letting the girl drive, all the while acknowledging the extent to which she's only in control when behind the wheel.
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Region: Mid-Wilshire/ Hancock Park
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Weld has, shall we say, less to work with in A Safe Place, in which she played an early Manic Pixie Dream Girl just a year before Lays. Packaged with Jack Nicholson's first credited directorial effort, Drive, He Said, Henry Jaglom's debut occupies half of the rarity slot in Criterion's recently released box set America Lost and Found: The BBS Story. Also including Pieces, Rider, the far-out Monkees movie Head and Bob Rafelson's The King of Marvin Gardens, the ratio of must-see classics to curiosities here is remarkably high, but a few of the extras might be worth the sticker price on their own. My favorites: A book of essays featuring writings by Weekly contributors J. Hoberman, Graham Fuller and others; Greg Carson's talking-head documentary BBStory; and Notes on the New York Film Festival, tape from a 1971 chat show in which film critic Molly Haskell interviews the only two American directors accepted into that year's NYFF: Jaglom and a chain-smoking, pre-ascot Peter Bogdanovich.
AMERICA LOST AND FOUND: THE BBS STORY | Criterion.com
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