Monday, March 29, 2010

The Unseen #24: Rock N' Rule

Why’d I Buy It?: I haven’t written about it before on this site, but one of my favorite movies is Walter Hill’s Streets Of Fire (Not joking). It’s a movie I love dearly because its so batshit crazy that I have to constantly remind myself that its something that actually exists, rather then something my subconscience dreamed up while having a fever dream under the influence of Cough Syrup. “Oh Streets Of Fire, isn’t that that one movie where Willem Dafoe, dressed in rubber overalls, kidnaps Diane Lane and has to fight Michael Pere, Ed Harris’s wife and Rick Moranis as a tough guy? And the whole movie takes place in this weird retro future Studebaker based fifties dreamland that looks like what Meat Loaf sees when he sniffs airplane glue while reading SE Hinton and then drives around Cleveland for an hour and a half? Isn’t it a rock opera? And hasn’t the ultimate form of music been discovered to be a blend of Motown Doo Wop, 50’s rockabilly and 80’s synths. And isn't a lot of the movie, including the incredibly overblown concert scenes, shot in ways that are unironically innovative and genuinely stylistically exciting, thus elevating the movie above simple kitsch and thus confusing your poor brain? And isn’t there a scene where Willem Dafoe walks out of a burning building, then turns around and walks back in? Holy fuck this thing actually exists?”

I feel that its important at this time to point out at this point that the film's title is not a metaphor. Yes. There are literally Streets Of Fire in Streets Of Fire.

Oh wait... I'm not actually writing an article on Streets Of Fire.

I’d only heard one movie with a premise as remotely insane as Streets. Rumors of an animated Rock Opera that made Heavy Metal look like a Merchant Ivory production. The plot goes a little something like this. “So it’s hundreds of years in the future and mankind’s dead. But Dog’s Cats and Mice have evolved to replace them, and they’ve become supertechnologically advanced. Everyone walks around like nightmares from a furry's tortured sub conscience. So there’s this struggling bar band of rock n’ roll playing dogs, and their lead singer is picked to summon a demon, by Lou Reed whose basically playing Swan in Phantom Of The Paradise except now he's a rock and roll space wizard and he wants to end the world, which he will do by summoning a Lovecraftian Space Demon played by Iggy Pop to destroy the entirety of existence with the power of Rock. It’s a cartoon. Its Canadian. Earth Wind And Fire contributes some songs. Oh and the singer whose going to do all? Debbie fucking Harry.” No I did not just make this shit up.

Fuck. Yeah.

Why Haven’t I Watched It?: I had a bitch of a time finding this movie, I luckily came across it in the great Hollywood Video Closing that just happened recently (expect to see that sentence pop up a bunch of times in the next dozen or so columns I picked up some kick ass stuff) Basically I put it on as soon as I could.

How Was It?: In away films like Rock N’ Rule are tough to review, because no matter what problems you may have with it they’re inconsequential to the fact that it features Lou Reed as an evil Space Rock Star who summons a demon played by Iggy Pop to destroy the world with the power of his rocking.

Main character an underwritten douche? Space Demon.

Way too much time spent on sub Borscht Belt gags? Canadian Mutated Dogs traveling to a place called “Nuke York” featuring half the cast of SCTV. Nothing in this movie makes a lick of sense? Earth Wind and Mutherfucking Fire.

The film’s animation is impressive in a pre computer animated, Don Bluthy sort of way (that’s good eighties Secrets Of Nimh, Land Before Time, American Tail Don Bluth not Pebble And The Pengu- OHJESUSCHRISTMYEYESHAVEBEGUNTOBLEED Don Bluth).

But overall it must be admitted that the movie never rises above kitsch. True rising above Camp is a lot to ask for a Canadian cartoon about Rock N’ Roll Mutant Dogs, but there it is. I always hate it when critics say “You already know whether or not this movie is for you.” But in this case its true, your either excited out of your mind for this oddball mutant bastard of a movie, or you couldn’t give less of a fuck.

It’s less a movie then an artifact. A gloriously tacky artifact. Where synthpop both destroys and saves the world.

Wallace Beery. Wrestling Pictures.


The Film Connoisseur said...

Im pretty sure i would enjoy this one, I loved the fuck out of Heavy Metal, with all its flaws and all.

Theres something to be enjoyed about these saturday morning cartoons with balls! Ive tried to see this one, but it's not available on netflix, which sucks.

Recently did a review on Heavy Metal over at my blog, in which I mentioned this one and also a couple of other Ralph Bakshi animated movies.

Also, now I have to see Streets of Fire. Thanks!

J.D. said...

I am a HUGE fan of STREETS OF FIRE and even wrote about it on my blog. Such a wonderfully bizarro film that totally got pooped on when it came out but has slowly been amassing something of a cult following over the years.

Bryce Wilson said...

@ FC trust me. You'll thank me.

@ JD Its funny that's one of those films that will occasionally come up in conversation with non film fans. And this light will come into their eyes. Always the people you least expect to.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Bryce, I will be watchingit and reviewing it soon! I did some research on it a while back, and it was a monumental fiasco when it was shot! It was such an expensive film that didnt make its money back. Still, that doesnt make it a bad movie.

Look for my review of it soon!