>>> Click here for the RMC FAQ'N RULES <<<


River's Edge

Tagline: None

The Preshow Entertainment was yet another Tubes concert. This one was to promote 1979's REMOTE CONTROL record. They opened with GETOVERTURE, which is an actual overture (instrumental song snippets from the album glued Broadway-style) to the album. Curiously, this song was not the first song on the record but the 6th. Go figger. Then Fee Waybill made his entrance and they swung into TURN ME ON, then TV IS KING. They followed this with their minor, earlier hit, the '50's pastiche DON'T TOUCH ME THERE. Man, if you ever need someone to overact, dial Fee.

This performance was filmed live at the Greek Theater here in L.A., though I saw it in Central Park at the Wollman Rink. The concert, though broadcast on MTV in '82, showed The Tubes in 1979 ahead of their time, as they were dressed in full blown '80s. Guitarist Roger Steen looked like he came from mime rehearsal with a high pants/suspenders/cotton shirt ensemble. Michael Cotton, one of two keyboardists (the other, Vince Welnick, would later join The Grateful Dead then kill himself), looked like a mad scientist with his huge headphones and a synth panel the size of the Berlin Wall. Playing with them was percussionist Mingo Lewis, who previously played with Billy Joel and would later play on the Byrne/Eno collaboration MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS.

The pizza arrived, and the movie began.

In 1985 and 1986 America was invited to observe teen life as frivolous and self-important. It was all about getting dates, laid and panties. BREAKFAST CLUB, PRETTY IN PINK (even ST. ELMO'S FIRE). But in 1986 writer Neil Jimenez and director Tim Hunter removed the sugar and the spice and revealed RIVER'S EDGE. And Molly Ringwald, she was nowhere to be found.

Populated with disaffected teens and their super disaffected parents in Small Town, America, RE begins with chubby teen Samson, played wonderfully dead-eyed by soon-to be character actor Daniel Roebuck (oft-remembered for his dynamite performance on LOST). He's pondering at the river's edge while his girlfriend lies beside him, naked and dead with eyes open wide. When he goes to school and tells his friends that he killed her, an ensemble of well drawn (and by drawn I mean one brushstroke short of a cartoon) characters, they don't believe him. So he takes them there. What happens next is an immorality play as the two main characters do what they believe to be the right thing- Layne wants to cover up the crime and protect Samson, Matt wants to go to the police. The others waffle, uncaring. The Nihilist Club.

RE was a breakout for Crispin Glover, whose Layne is equal parts mania and comedy. He's a Tex Avery character that is so out there he may just exist in real life. The film is also responsible for Dennis Hopper's re-emergence as go-to wacko (he would follow this movie with BLUE VELVET), playing the blow-up doll lovin' and peg-legged Feck, who won't leave his house because of a murder he committed decades ago. Keanu Reeves is Matt, who tries to keep his kid brother and mother (the textbook white trash family) off his ass. He does, however, attempt to protect his kid sister from the evils of both brother and mom. Maybe there is hope after all. Ione Skye is Clarissa, whose innocent looks deceive us, and even Matt. And then there is Tim, Matt's 12 year old brother who everyone watching the movie thinks is a girl (maybe the angel face, earring, and high voice had something to do with that). He may be the scariest character in this suburban horror story. He is so out of control he had no problem stealing beer, cars, and guns. Listing the bad things this evil tween does is like shooting fish in a barrel. Oh right, he also shoots fish in a barrel. The movie actually starts with Tim tossing his kid sister's doll into the river, which starts the triumvirate of "lifeless bodies in the water" (sister's doll, girl, blow-up doll).

There are walls up all over this movie- between friends, parents and children, teachers and students, cops and criminals. The gap is as wide as a river, and perhaps that's the metaphor. The entire film is a depiction of hopelessness. Everyone is frustrated with something. And no one really knows what to do about it.

When this movie came out there was nothing like it. It was truly the water cooler movie of the year. You just didn't see kids do these things, or talk like that, or even walk like that. It was both shocking and real. But it's not anymore. The movies got edgier. Larry Clark made KIDS and then BULLY. Today, RIVER'S EDGE pales, left naked and dead.

I wonder if KIDS and BULLY will be as shocking 20 years later.

"The only reason you stay here is so you can fuck my mother and eat her food. Motherfucker!! Food eater!" -- Matt (Keanu Reeves) yelling at his mom's boyfriend.

Tags: , , ,

Feed Burner Subscribe in a reader

Powered byFeedBlitz

About ...

RMC email address
Old RMC Men

RMC is not affiliated with Rochester Midland Corporation, makers of fine restroom disinfecting fluids and urinal mats since 1888.


Powered by Pizza, Red Vines,
& 6 Different Kinds of Soda



This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Random Movie Club. Make your own badge here.

((( Contribute to our Popcorn Fund! )))

Best Viewed With Firefox 2

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Technorati Favorites!

eXTReMe Tracker