Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ten Statements About....THE WILD RIDE (1960)

"That's right...I'm manly."
"You used to be Top Stud. You never went shallow."

1) It's incredibly hard to take Jack Nicholson--who, quite frankly, looks like some sort of turtle monster who's too old to be in this kind of film--as a juvenile delinquent madman when he's dressed in an oversized sweat shirt. It's even harder to take him, period, when he's stripped to the waist in all his hairless glory.

2) Good f'ing lord, is the 'hip' dialogue in this movie inpenetrable. What does all this talk about 'going shallow' mean?

3) You know, when you're trying to do your own low-rent version of a movie, you shouldn't reference that same movie...because then you'll realize how awful your version is. I'm sorry, but Marlon Brando would beat the stuffings out of this iteration of Nicholson...

"I'll show you..I'll grow up, earn an Oscar, and fuck a whole
lotta chicks younger than me...and Angelica Huston."
4) The big conflict between Nicholson's Johnny Barron and Robert Bean's Dave revolves around Georgianna Carter's Nancy. Johnny insists that Nancy is a 'chick' that'll never fit with the gang...but after watching Carter's too wide eyes and joker-like grin, I have to wonder if she'd fit anywhere.

5) There's no real focus in this film...is Johnny a bad guy because he fatally injures a cop in a game of chicken? Because he cheats at the race track he's driving at? Because he won't pay for all the liquor he purchases for the rather limp 'beach party' we see about twenty minutes in? There's so much that this script wants to include that you feel there's no direct message it can offer....

6) The cops in this film are awfully lackadasical...they supposedly have a big file of evidence on Johnny, and yet don't arrest him until the end--even after the cop in the opening sequence dies off panel.

7) Given how these days gang members tend to kill each other over the slightest insult, these gang members that just throw charges of 'chicken' at each other and fistfight in the surf seem....quaint.

8) Man, that's the goofiest looking malt shop ever....

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stalker-in-training Georgianna Carter...
9) So this married woman Johnny was involved with gets introduced with nary a mention of her relation to the story until near the end; up until that moment, we just think she's some maiden aunt Johnny borrows ten dollars from at roughly the thirty-five minute mark.

10) There's this whole beatnik-manque soundtrack that just Won't. Shut. Up. Of the fifty eight minutes of this film's running time, about fifty or so is just bongo riff after bongo riff....and when Johnny demands all his gang members turn their transistor radio to a certain station, it's overpowering in its crapitude...

Overall...a really silly, sad teenagers-in-revolt film that is redeemed only by the novelty of seeing an Oscar-winning actor playing a prototypical Fonzie wannabe.

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