I Saw A Film!
An odd little slice-of-life film highlighting the jealous and violent nature of South Florida bone-fishing guides, and the women who love them. The pack of actors in this film is what’s fun, you’ve got Peter Fonda (such an ugly guy compared to big sister), Harry Dean Stanton (also an ugly guy, but such a terrific stalwart of the industry, I always cheer when he appears) and Warren Oates (a seriously ugly guy who I resemble somewhat).
At any rate, these losers are vying for the attentions of a few well off customers while trying to keep their crappy, low-draft fishing platforms going. Warren Oates is the violent one, a human 2×4 with a nail sticking out of it waiting for your foot to drop so he can lay into you. He reminds me too much of fellows I grew up with, always looking for a situation to dominate someone to feel better about themselves. Within the first few minutes of the film he manages to gaff someone with a literal fishing gaff. Ornery SOB that he is he manages to not go to prison as everyone had to be hoping he would.
I know I listed Stanton and Oates and Fonda, and neglected to mention William Hickey in a stand-out role as Fonda’s dad, and the Penguin himself Burgess Meredith as his grandpa who has little use for any of his offspring. Margo Kidder is Fonda’s cute girlfriend, she doesn’t have a lot to do however stands out anyway. Hickey is really wonderful as the frail father. I’d have given anything to hear him start playing that mandolin and sing a tune. Hickey had a long-ass career but never really had big parts. I especially loved him as the eccentric priest, friend to Sean Connery’s character in The Name of the Rose.
Tom McGuane wrote and directed this thing and the “western” (in terms of the popular film style) feel of it probably has a lot to do with this style of storytelling. McGuane was good buds with one of my fave writers Jim Harrison who also had a style that was “western” in feel and also lacking in frills. Fishing and hunting and making outstanding meals were the purview of said fellows. Poets and rivers and fish and fighting, the stuff of life right there.
We don’t get much poetry from our sour fellows. Harry Dean’s wife is a bit of a hoot as a terrible housewife trying to relive her glory days as a marching baton twirler. I felt for her as she tried to impress some goons at their boathouse. In fact, other than being reminded at how hard it is to deal with the knuckleheads like Oates’s character (how do we deal with people so willing to become violent assholes?) she was about the only feeling I had.
However, things don’t go well for anyone really. It’s got a Camus-like existential (and by that I mean immanent extinction) feel to them.
Follow this film up with a good dose of some comedy or fantasy!
It’s Free on Prime and my apologies to Film – Authority as he just reviewed this as I added it to my list. Hopefully he still enjoys my efforts! 🙂