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Roadgames
by Richard Franklin
Essaness Pictures (1981)
Roadgames
The thought of Quentin Tarantino wriggling with delight is enough to get young Ann Everton to watch a movie--and it was under these conditions that I came to see the great film Roadgames, which is an Australian movie from 1981 starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Stacy Keach. The film is directed by a man called Richard Franklin, who is a complete fiend for Alfred Hitchcock movies and went to college with John Carpenter at USC. (Thanks, Wikipedia, once again you have made me seem classier that I am.)

Roadgames itself is inspired by Hitchcock's 1958 stone cold jam Rear Window, which is about a dude balls-deep into spying on someone who he thinks is a vicious killer of ladies and burier of bodies in the yard--as if you didn't know that already. (If you really didn't know that already, see Rear Window--Jimmy Stewart goes nuts in a full-on, classic goose-on-the-loose-style and Grace Kelly looks like a well-kept bar of soap. It's on point.) However, Roadgames, as one could possibly infer from the title, is like Rear Window, but on the road, man. It follows truck driver Pat Quid (Keach) as he drives pig meat to Perth and becomes obsessed with finding out whether this dude in a green van killed these pretty girls and cut them up and put the girl pieces all over the place.

Now all you straight male readers, if you're having a hard time getting girls, I feel like Stacey Keach's character in this movie is a good model to emulate if you wish to win over girls like Ann Everton. Stacey Keach (as the character Quid) wins over girls like Ann Everton by eating a lot of raw vegetables as an early eccentric 80s fashion statement (see Peter Weller in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), Aidan Quinn in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), or even, despite myself, Sly Stallone in Rhinestone (1984). I'm only flesh and blood after all), having strong muscular legs and facial hair in general, keeping a pet dingo, and being patient with Jamie Lee Curtis when she pulls eleventeen year old riot-grrrl/sass styles. JLC does her damn thing in this movie, but I do have to admit, she's easier on the eyes with a little age on her. There's an awkward youth thing going on here which should remind us all that our salad days should be yet to come, even if you're 54.

The movie is beautifully shot, and has that sort of circular narrative where you know exactly where the plot will take you, but are never quite sure, so there is suspense, and characters keep reappearing like themes on a Moody Blues record--as if you didn't know that already. (If you really didn't know that already, listen to To Our Children's Children's Children (1969), by the Moody Blues. Another band that rivals the repeating themes style of the Moody Blues is a totally unrelated act, The Associates--who put three songs on their one record The Affectionate Punch (1980) that are almost exactly the same. Good thing The Associates rule and all the songs are jams.) Roadgames is also gross and gristly and the nefarious character looks like Channing from Pink Flamingos (1972). Netflix its ass.

"I think you have much more fun sitting up here with your stereo and your air conditioning and your dingo."--Jamie Lee Curtis in Roadgames
Posted by: Ann Everton

Video Reviews (July 10th, 2009)

Tags: stacey keach ann everton TLF


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