Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Oh... why not? The full movie is up: 1977's Roller Coaster. Let me give you a little bit of background: my brother and I were quietly, and then loudly, obsessed with this movie in the late '80s. My brother even named his band after it. It had been on late-night TV a couple of times, we taped it on VHS and kept the copy for rainy days. There were many such days. We knew it wasn't really that good - an enjoyable '70s thriller B-movie, at best - but something about its feel captured our imagination. It boasts a great cast who don an outrageous collection of '70s gear throughout (I think the fact that it was made in 1977 - THE YEAR OF PUNK - and based partly on the west coast of the USA, somehow piqued our interest as a cultural artifact), and the plot, about a pleasant young psycho who blows up roller coasters and bribes authorities in the process, moves quickly and rather stupidly, with the always hamfisted George Segal holding the dramatic *cough* weight of the pic, as well as its lame attempts at humour. None other than Henry Fonda is in there for a minute or two, speaking his lines w/ his hand out, waiting for this cheque, and you also get the great noir character actor Richard Widmark (you might not know the name, but you'll know the face) and a walk-on appearance from, err, a pre-fame Steve Guttenberg. The other great element of the film to recommend is the 'special guest appearance' from none other than Sparks(!). I've been on a bit of a Sparks bender of late - a report will hopefully come soon - and their live performance is something to behold. Roller Coaster is ultimately a pretty square film probably aimed at the family multiplex/drive-in market, so how Sparks, of all bands, wound up in it remains a mystery. I read that the Mael brothers had moved back to the US after years of success in the UK and Europe, and wanted to finally crack their homeland, so I guess they figured a brief role in a piece of schlock like Roller Coaster might do the trick. Who knows? You could do worse than kill under two hours of your life with this film. Thank or blame me later.