I think this place is going to end up becoming “Let Me Trash Your List” central. Which is better than “another boring home improvement story” I suppose.
I’ve got a slew of links to lists at various sites (retrocrush, cracked, maxim, etc.) that people want me to write about. If you have a list you would like me to peruse/make fun of/bitch about, send it on over.
I saw a couple of “best cult movie” lists and thought I’d sink my teeth into that one today. Alas, my time here is running out. I need to stop at 7-11 and arm myself with the proper weapons to ward off nicotine withdrawal. I don’t think I can get an uzi at 7-11, so I’ll settle for some gum and sunflower seeds.
Rather than make a full list of my favorite cult movies, I’ll just write about one of my favorite ones. We’ll tackle the list later.
Teens gone wild. Matt Dillon. Need I say more?
I do? Ok.
Scenario: A planned community is built. Think Stepford community. Perfect little suburb, away from all the other dirty little suburbs. Everything you need in one place. Or is it? Because while the adults seem to have decent jobs and lives – lives which include pretty much ignoring their children while trying to make their little slice of heaven attractive to investors – the kids are kind of bored. And what do bored teenagers in the late 1970′s do? That’s right, they turn to the holy grail of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Well, I don’t remember a lot of sex in this movie, but I do remember the drugs and rock and roll: Ramones and Cheap Trick on the sound track and evil, evil marijuana being passed around and chased down with booze. And everyone knows that the rock music and the maryjane will turn any normal, suburban kid into a ticking time bomb of petulance, anger and rebellion. Really. You didn’t know that? See, this movie doesn’t just entertain. It teaches.
Eventually the booze and drugs and boredom lead to anger. And anger leads to violence. See Yoda had it only half right. Anger may lead to hate and suffering and all, but if you grew up in a stagnant, sterile suburb, then you know that anger leads to violence. Ok, we’re not talking about blowing up a Death Star here. Maybe breaking a few windows, stuff like that. But in this community, that’s almost like destroying Aalderan. Parents looking at their kids, saying “why the hell did you do that? We gave you everything you wanted!” And the kids looking at their parents like, “But we just wanted your attention, man!” Yea, that screws up my Star Wars analogy, but my brain is fried and when that happens I screw up my metaphors, which makes me remember scenes in movies that weren’t really there, like Matt Dillon standing up at the meeting in the rec hall and saying DO IT FOR JOHNNY!
Did not happen.
But what did happen was someone got shot. Because really, the movie would have went nowhere if the worst these kids could muster up was some underage drinking and a few broken windows.
But wait, there’s more! The kids get super pissed when they find out the town wants to sell the land their rec center is on to some investors to make an industrial park. The rec center is all they have. And that place even closes at 6. So without it, there would just be more hours in a day for the kids to fuck off and well, it won’t be long before the cans of piss beer turn into bottles of gin and the nickel bags turn into lines of coke and the broken windows become, hell, I don’t know. Drive by shootings. There ya go.
Of course it all comes to a head and it’s parents vs. kids vs. the community planners vs. kids vs. society vs. growth vs. parents…..well, it’s just a big old gang bang of conflict going on here.
And Matt Dillon.
He’s the reason you need to watch this. The whole teen rebellion thing is cool and the soundtrack is awesome and there’s a bunch of conflict and drama and all, but…Matt Dillon. He was 14 when he made this movie. I was 16 when it came out. This was my first taste of Matt. Before he made it with Tatum O’Neal in Little Darlings. Before he played the bully in My Bodyguard. Before Dally.
I spent many a night thinking about how I’d show Matt Dillon some of my own brand of teen rebellion.
Forget the social commentary here. Forget the lessons about suburban sprawl or paying attention to your children’s needs or greed or the inner turmoil of the youth of America.
Matt Dillon uttering the infamous line: “A kid who tells on another kid is a dead kid.”*
Hey, I was 16. At that age, you’re allowed to think Matt Dillon in a half shirt is cool.
Now it’s one of those movies I’ll watch just to remember how cool it was to watch it the first time.
And to make sure he doesn’t really say DO IT FOR JOHNNY in that one scene.
*Which is also a song by Nation of Ulysses that I don’t have time to upload, but you can listen to here.
What’s your favorite cult movie? (You know me and my strict definitions. You can find one, and a list, here).
Here’s a few of mine. By no means a complete list.
Evil Dead (by definition, a cult movie)
Drug Store Cowboy
And my time is up here. I may or may not finish this list later. But remember, I’m always looking for more lists to take on. The quirkier, the better.