A rollicking comic spoof of a disaster that kills off anyone over 25, leaving a “road warriors” tribalism based around the hippies, the jocks, and the bikers. Much of the film is nothing but strung together vignettes and “deep” thoughts shoe-horned into the mouths of the various characters portrayed by the likes of Budd Cort, Ben Vareen, Cindy Williams and a slew of faces who got their opportunities here with Roger Corman!
And so it goes, we’ve got a joke of a disaster as a set up into a series of jokes for the likes of our young adults. It’s a curious parade of dune buggies and footballer’s hauling meat and chasing the cheerleaders around to improve their pillaging. As was popular in the day, everyone spouts some kind of philosophy–frankly, I wish we could go back to that instead of what we have now, which is just volume. When the sound of a bomb goes off, someone asks, is that a bomb? And his friend replies, no, it was too ironic for that. Someone points out that if you had the right fork you could eat music. Another young man climbs a tower to exclaim to a lady there that a good woman is like a steel brush, and for us to think about it. Ben Vareen gets to say: Hey, man, we all have our inconsistencies but that doesn’t stop revolution, does it? There’s a lot of such dialog, clearly written by clever potheads to amuse other potheads. Or, there’s an element of this subtle put-down, what can these kids do? If they didn’t have the “squares” to run the world, how do they get to be loaf-about artists and footballers? Perhaps the oldest of generational disenfranchisement. But, the story is written by Armitage (of Grosse Pointe Blank) himself a 25 year old or so at the time. So there are earnest concerns in how we train our people and how people naturally tribalize. The assumption is that it’s set in the future (from 1970) as Cindy Williams a few years before Three’s Company is marveling at all the golden oldies records she’s finding, but of course, they’re all current for the day.
At one point a group of our protagonists are having a faux gun-fight, not surprisingly dressed as western characters, each shot they take, they exclaim the name of a western star: Tom Mix! Gene Autrey! etc! No subtlety here, the industry killing us with our patronship, and hero worship.
Soon enough tensions come to a head, and the footballers are aggressively launching an attack on the pueblo based hippies. There is talk of fighting, but they know it’s a fight they can’t win and instead try a clever subterfuge. Since the antagonism and rough stuff is mainly suggested and “intellectualized” it looks more like a stage play, indeed this whole thing could probably be put on a theater stage without much difficulty. There are aspects of this thing that come across like Zabriski Point, or even MASH, but all in all it’s a bit more playful and less serious, making it a good deal more charming. No one has to die, not even the pets to get the angle being sought.
Off to the side, a black caped character, Edgar Allan Poe, we’re told, with an over the top thespian aspect, observes. He also communicates with a very “jewy” (to use Marc Maron’s term) God voice. God returns, makes himself known through voice and lightening effect. We’ve returned to the old testament I suppose, though the lives of the disaster’s victims are not much mourned, and the return to the agriculture and hunting would have inspired Pol Pot, we’re still only joshing around. There are no real reveals here, nothing in training or in thought really comes through to rescue any of the budding society’s needs. The footballers don’t trounce the hippies because of a bit of arcane knowledge left in the leader’s head from his long dead coach. He respects his training. . . and if that is the case, then we’ve kind of lost the point of the revolution. Or perhaps I’m worrying too much about inconsistency.
On Prime for nothing and well worth a look at only 78 mins.