Sunday, 10 July 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 215: Wed Aug 3

O.C. and Stiggs (Altman, 1985): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This 35mm screening is part of the 'Check The Gate' season at the Prince Charles, dedicated to presenting films on film that will run at the cinema from 9th July to August 20th. The film has been chosen by the Duke Mitchell Film Club and you can find out more details on their website here.

A.V. Club review:
Robert Altman famously managed to bend countless genres and forms to his will: musicals, comic-strip adaptations, detective movies, Hollywood satire, the political miniseries, icy psychodrama, plays, and even one-man shows. But according to conventional wisdom, it was the lowly teen sex comedy, the reviled Mad Dog 20/20 of genres, that ultimately defeated Altman in O.C. And Stiggs. The film was finished in 1984, but received such disastrous test scores that it was shelved for three years and released to vitriolic reviews and nonexistent box-office. Even the screenwriters distanced themselves from it. The pairing of Robert Altman and the teen sex comedy wasn't quite the mismatch it might appear. A prankish, youthful irreverence courses through many, if not most, of Altman's films, even his non-comedies. If '70s cinema were a lowbrow slobs vs. snobs comedy Altman would be the John Belushi-esque Dionysus tossing Peter Bogdanovich in the pool, shattering his monocle, and getting his silk ascot all wet in the process. Altman argues that audiences and National Lampoon wanted Robert Altman's Porky's and were flummoxed when he delivered a satire of teen schlock instead. I think O.C And Stiggs is a satire, but less of teen sex comedies than of the things that always enraged Altman: consumerism and hypocrisy and racism and the narcissistic self-absorption of well-fed Caucasians. Here Altman occasionally comes off like the misanthropic cheap shot artist his critics have always accused him of being – like pretty much all '80s teen sex comedies, this seems to think homosexuality is inherently a laff riot – but behind the snark lies a genuine shiver of revulsion towards the complacency and sun-baked decadence of the Reagan '80s.
Nathan Rabin

Here (and above) is the Duke Mitchell Film Club trailer for tonight's screening.

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