Underground U.S.A. (1980)
“This whole set-up is a mess.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
— dates his book in ways that the majority of his writing doesn’t, given that he notes it “has had some success as a midnight movie (particularly in New York) and has played on PBS as an example of arty/avant-garde independent films currently being made.” He writes that he wishes writer-director “Mitchell hadn’t decided to make another variation on Sunset Boulevard, especially since Andy Warhol had already made a pretty good counterculture version in 1972, Heat” — and “at this point the story hasn’t many surprises left.” *
Peary points out that “from this film it’s hard to tell how talented or original Mitchell is” — and while “there are some interesting scenes, use of color, and camera angles,” “in general [he finds] the characters uninvolving, the dialogue trite, and the pacing too slow.”
I’ll say! Even at just 85 minutes long, this movie feels positively glacial. I was only able to start understanding the “plot” about a third of the way through, and the uniformly amateur acting didn’t help matters any. These days, this arthouse film is incredibly challenging to find, with zero user reviews on IMDb; it will primarily (perhaps exclusively) be of interest to devotees of this particular time and place in cultural history.
* Spoiler alert: things end badly for Astor’s character.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
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