“Forty-two percent of all liberals are queer; that’s a fact.”
Businessman Bill Compton (Dennis Patrick) kills his daughter’s drug-dealing boyfriend in a fit of rage, and befriends a working-class bigot (Peter Boyle) who admires what he’s done.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary’s not a big fan of this scathing cross-generational commentary, arguing that the film supports the “contention of [the] era’s conservatives that all hippie girls were nymphomaniacs, that all long-haired young people took drugs and were untrustworthy, [and] that all members of the counterculture were vermin.” What he neglects to mention, however, is that all the characters in this over-the-top film are contemptible or pathetic in one way or another. As in Shoot (1976) and The Exterminator (1980), Peter Boyle’s Joe — a “loudmouth working-class stiff who has contempt for blacks, liberals, and hippies” — is portrayed as a gun-savvy veteran who’s itching to wreak damage on the “Others” in his community, just like he did back in Vietnam. After his chance encounter with Bill in a bar, Joe becomes a “Mephistopheles”-like figure, nurturing Bill’s “baser instincts” and encouraging their unlikely cross-class friendship. This eventually leads to the film’s tragic and violent denouement, which Peary refers to as “preposterous” and “hard-to-watch”, but which I see as a logical outcome of the tension that has been building since the very beginning of the film.
- Peter Boyle as Joe
- Susan Sarandon in her first screen role (she already radiates a special kind of charm and beauty)
- A powerful, if occasionally cliched, look at clashes between class, age, and culture in the 1960s
No, but it’s recommended.