EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|HI, MOM! (director/writer: Brian De Palma; screenwriter: from the story by Charles Hirsch; cinematographer: Robert Elfstrom; editor: Paul Hirsch; music: Eric Kaz; cast: Robert De Niro (Jon Rubin), Allen Garfield (Joe Banner), Jennifer Salt (Judy Bishop), Lara Parker (Jeannie Mitchell), Charles Durnham (Janitor), Gerrit Graham (Gerrit Wood, revolutionary white director and NYU student); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Charles Hirsch; MGM Home Entertainment; 1970)|
valued mostly as a relic."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Early anarchist indie from Brian De Palma
Way"/"Snake Eyes"/"Femme Fatale") that
made for $95,000 and is now considered valued mostly
as a relic.
The offbeat comedy, a follow-up to De
Palma's unexpected hit
Greetings, is a
mess, but some
vignettes are strangely amusing in a threatening way.
Jon Rubin (Robert De Niro) is an unsettled young man
Vietnam military duty, with ambitions to make movies.
He rents a dumpy
apartment in Greenwich Village and buys a cheap movie
sleazy smut producer Joe Banner (Allen
give him a break,
if he makes a porn film. Jon uses the method of "peep
art," whereby he
mounts a camera from his apartment window to face the
windows of the
hi-rise facing his building (think Rear Window!). He
so he can date the loopy Judy Bishop (Jennifer Salt), someone he's doing a
Peeping Tom act on, and sets his camera so he can
capture them screwing. But he blows the shot as the
camera tilts during
the big moment, and the producer withdraws his offer.
Jon then gets the
part of a bullying white cop in an off-Broadway
production called Be
Black Baby!, directed by one of the other tenants (Gerrit
white NYU student
living in the apartment below Judy's, he's spying on.
The black actors,
for this black experience production, paint
their faces white and paint the white suburban liberal
audience's faces black. Then the actors cruelly
intimidate the audience verbally and physically by
feeding them soul food and pushing them around in a
When interviewed by the documentary television show on
the liberal audience
claims to have loved the experience.
Jon remains in the
plugging away as an urban guerrilla, as the radical
theater group (he's
now a part of)
attacks the near-by hi-rise, but gets repelled by a
with a machine gun. The discontented lad then marries
Judy and finds
work as an insurance salesman, and settles into a
short and unhappy
marriage of TV dinners and being middle-class before
blowing up the
building after assuring an interviewer he's against
De Niro was too
for the delicate comedy bits to be effective, but the
film is a good
example of how an indie film can afford to take
chances and can be
successful even if imperfect.
REVIEWED ON 5/31/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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