Monday, August 04, 2008

This Car Won't Start

In an effort to expand my viewing habits, I decided to participate in the popular monthly horror event known as Final Girl's Film Club. Horror is the one genre I just about never watch so with stretching in mind I set out to view The Car (1977). Here I am trying to watch it with a tight deadline and something is wrong. The first image I see is a frozen looping one of Jamie Bell leaping onto the screen. Over and over again he joyously bounces and freezes. I'm quite content to watch Billy entering a frame but unless he's about to get run over by a killer car, something is wrong with this DVD. I attempt to skip ahead and I see only these static images for the first few minutes...

I can hear the soundtrack in fits and starts. Scary music plays and then I guess (can't quite see it) these bikers cycle their teen selves into a dark tunnel. When scary music is playing one must never enter dark places! Don't actors ever learn? Later I hear car sounds and and see a bicycle wheel. The kids are obviously still alive and probably outside the tunnel but something must be wrong: screaming can be heard. And then the damn DVD force quits. It's like my Mac knows that I'm a wuss and that even a PG horror movie might be more than I can handle.

I'm going to guess that the kids got run over. And then maybe the title appeared? If you've seen the film perhaps you can tell me how close I am.

Trying again...

[audio] indecipherable voices male and female [video] a woman with a blue robe --where are her hands? OMG where are her handsssssss!?! [audio] doors slamming shut [video] doors wide open in the frame! How creepy [audio] birds chirping [video] trees with (probably fake) foliage.

This movie is so abstract.

My fourth attempt.

James Brolin naked!?? I'm catching just this one frame glimpse. Am I missing 70s era nudity here or is he just wearing low riders? 70s nudity is the best. It's so real. No body doubles or surgically inflated parts. If I'm missing dangly Brolin Bits I am going to feel very cheated by and angry with Netflix right now.

This DVD I have cleaned and polished but it just ain't gonna play. I can't even view the trailer without static frame choppiness. I'm left with fleeting images of Brolin with his police officers. Brolin with mustachioed face. Brolin face-offs out in the desert with a gun. James Brolin might just be up against something primordial, supernatural... something unidentifiable EVIL. It's all very Llewelyn Moss vs. Anton Chigurh actually (well it is to me since I can't watch the movie). I can't ever see this car for more than two seconds so for all I know its license place reads BARDEM.

like father, like son... right down to the mustache

The only other thing I see is lots of shots of an ominous black car. Its windows are either dusted over or they're fully blackened out which is very Near Dark --are there vampires inside? I have no idea what this movie is about other than Brolin is a cop and he's being haunted by a black car that likes to rev its engines and (presumably) run people over... though I have no proof of this.

At one point I see a very brief fleeting image of Brolin superimposed with the grill on the front of the car (what's that called again? What? I don't drive. I live in NY where driving is utterly foolish. You can get everywhere faster on the train and cabs are just as dangerous as The Car) Confronted with this unintended double image, my mind races to Psycho and that final shot of Norma Bates and "Mother". And then the only thing I can think of is 'James Brolin is married to Barbra Streisand!' It's one of those common knowledge celebrity trivia that I always forget until something reminds me. That's Nuts, I know... but the faulty disc is playing headgames with me.

Babs was totally loveable in her 70s era incarnation so I don't mean to equate her with vehicular manslaughter. I can't help where my movie addled brain goes. Yet if Barbra Streisand were to psychically possess a car with murderous intention, I doubt that her hubby would be her chosen target. I'm thinking more along the lines of...

They'd better start running.


Now, go to Final Girl for more from bloggers who were actually able to sit through this 70s picture. And if you like group activities, check out the first edition of the Musical of the Month. Any blog that participates will help determine September's Musical.


Anonymous said...

Best review of The Car I've read today! Truly an awesome job!

I'll be poking around your blog to see what other treasures await.

Catherine said...

That was a fun review - plus, I dreamt about Brolin last night.

Jason Adams said...

By Brolin's beard!

Sorry, I've just been wanting to say that. Carry on.

It's a shame you missed the car (or excuse me, The Car) flying through the air through someone's house and decapitating them. It was a PG rated decapitation too, so I think you would've been okay with it. As much as one is "okay" with pretend decapitation of course.

It's too early for me to be writing a comment.


"By Brolin's beard" is indeed a catchphrase worth uttering... only... he doesn't have a beard. I've read it in so many places.

tis but a mustache. A manly 70s big mustache. But still...

why is it that i sometimes think mustaches are so cool in movies and then i see them in real life and am like "ewwww"

Anonymous said...

James Brolin is married to Barbra Streisand. Elliot Gould was married to Barbra Streisand. Both Brolin and Gould star in Capricorn One. The mind boggles.

I did see The Car when it was released theatrically. I kept on wondering whatever happened to the guy who directed Cat Ballou and A Man called Horse?

PIPER said...

I watched this with my son a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid. He fell asleep and I stayed up and watched it. It's corny but it still holds up pretty well for me.

The whole time I'm watching Brolin with that stash I'm thinking No Country For Old Men.

Corey said...

I think I might have liked the version you saw better than the full film.

Ja, "By Brolin's beard" will soon be sweeping the nation. Love your profile pic, btw.