Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Straight to Hell

I blame Todd. Well, I often blame Todd -- he is uniquely blame-worthy for any number of things -- but this time I blame him for getting me to participate in a new (regular) meme. But it's better than doing the work I really need to be doing (then again, after a snowy and slushy and now icy start, they've cancelled classes for the afternoon, so there it is).

So my first offering for Tuesday's Overlooked Films: Alex Cox's Straight to Hell. Yes, it's true: some films are overlooked for a reason. It's not really a good film, to be honest. But it's a fascinating one. I know it looks like a bunch of mates went to Spain for their holidays to drink, make music and play cowboys --- well, it kind of is.

But what friends! There's the Pogues first off; the reason I went to see it and got the tape and soundtrack and eventually the DVD despite that criminally ugly cover. Shane MacGowan with most of his teeth and that insane laugh, the fabulous Spider, the lovely Jimmy Fearnley, Phil being sweet and the rest playing bad guys with all their hearts.

Then there's Elvis, too, playing a butler and the incomparable Joe Strummer repeating my second-favourite line in the film. Eddie Tudorpole! Cameos by Jim Jarmusch, Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones. All the usual stalwarts of Cox's films like Xander Berkeley, Zander Schloss and the poor man's Samuel L. Jackson, Sy Richardson. Dick Rude! Catchy songs!

Kathy Burke as a psychotic caretaker. Genius.

Although it was her first starring role, for some reason Courtney Love never lists this on her resumé. Huh. It's got the ambling humour of Repo Man and the punk sensibilities of Sid & Nancy, but it's totally loopy and silly and a loving (if dissolute) tribute to the spaghetti westerns they all love.

Well, I recommend watching it with lots of beer and friends -- in Spain if you can swing it. You can just watch it on YouTube, but what's the fun in that? Prove to me I'm not the only fan of this film, folks!

See all the overlooked films over at Todd's blog.

13 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Alex Cox picked a public argument with Harlan Ellison. Somehow, that doesn't seem unlikely to have been inevitable, does it?

Thanks! I will repent at leisure...

Kel said...

Added to my netflix queue...

K. A. Laity said...

@Todd -- who hasn't argued with Ellison?

@Kel -- you won't be disappointed (um, well as long as you read this and you're not expecting stellar quality). It makes me laugh.

Oh, and my fave line? "I don't know what love is!" followed, of course, by a burst of machine gun fire.

K. A. Laity said...

Also tops -- and repeated by me ad nauseum in far too many situations -- "Look at all the skulls! I want to touch one."

Todd Mason said...

I would say that I've respectfully disagreed with Ellison, over the quality of TC Boyle's work. Of course, it was a judo situation, since my (honest) contention was that Boyle's work often resembles a pale, failed imitation of Ellison's good and better work. Which also tends to incorporate why Ellison might like Boyle's work better than I do.

So, there's one. And I've even had two direct conversations with the man.

K. A. Laity said...

Did you have stoop? [rimshot]

I think maybe Garth Marenghi was a little bit based on him (plus Dean Koontz and a little Stephen King) but definitely Ellison's ego. I haven't had the dubious pleasure of speaking with the Groper. I don't tend to get along well with arrogant men.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, the Willis incident was Unfortunate, to say the least. But at least one each in those conversations I managed to hit on sore spots with Ellison w/o intending to. I'm good at that, alas...did it with Maria Bamford and Penny Patterson, too.

Garth M. was a Whole Lot of Stephen King. And a bit of Ray Bradbury and Roald Dahl and Stephen Cannell, who all did similar goofy introductions to anthology series adapting their short stories or in SJC's case featuring only his scripts.

K. A. Laity said...

Face it, you have a keen psychic sense for people's vulnerable spots. That's why you laughed and pointed at my peg leg! Cruel, cruel, cruel.

Todd Mason said...

But you were wearing strapped to your head, as you danced a quadrille with your two natural legs (but, oddly, tangoed with the rest of your body). How was I to know that that was a rite? OK, OK, that you'd filled the hollow part with Velveeta and Spam should've tipped me, I know. So I suppose that makes me the Bad Guy, because you do one of those Non Traditional Religions, like those Buddhists or Catholics or Bahais or something.

K. A. Laity said...

Non-traditional!? What's non-traditional about Bokononism?! A long and honored history.

Todd Mason said...

You bunch of heretical deviants from Al-Mutaism.

Anyway, I was just doing what Kipper told me to do.

Kipper said...

No...what I said was, "Put more kibble down. And clean my box. And do something interesting to entertain me." Don't drag me into your apish squabbles about things that can't pat or feed you.

K. A. Laity said...

But it's what we apes delight in! Oh, Todd, you've fallen under Kipper's spell. You will never be free now that you've drunk the Kool-Aid.