What if Lisa Marie Picked The Oscar Nominees!


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010!)

2015 Best Picture Nominees

Best Picture


The Fault In Our Stars


The Grand Budapest Hotel

*Guardians of the Galaxy*

The LEGO Movie


Palo Alto

Under the Skin



Best Director

Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler

Jonathan Glazer for Under the Skin

James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy

*Richard Linklater for Boyhood*

Jean-Marc Vallee for Wild


Best Actor

Macon Blair in Blue Ruin

Nicholas Cage in Joe

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

*Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler*

Tom Hardy in Locke

Michael Keaton in Birdman


Best Actress

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Emmanuelle Seigner in Venus In Fur

Shailene Woodley in The Fault In Our Stars

*Reese Witherspoon in Wild*

Gary Poulter in Joe

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin in Inherent Vice

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Ethan Hawke in Boyhood

*Gary Poulter in Joe*

Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash


Best Supporting Actress

Patrica Arquette in Boyhood

Laura Dern in Wild

Emma Roberts in Palo Alto

Rene Russo in Nightcrawler

Emma Stone in Birdman

*Mia Wasikowska in Only Lovers Left Alive*


Best Voice Over Performance

Scott Adsit in Big Hero 6

Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy

Kate del Castillo in The Book of Life

*Vin Diesel in Guardians of the Galaxy*

Morgan Freeman in The LEGO Movie

Chris Pratt in The LEGO Movie


Best Original Screenplay



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The LEGO Movie


The One I Love

wildhorsedern 4

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Fault In Our Stars

Gone Girl

Guardians of the Galaxy

Palo Alto

Venus in Fur


Lego Movie

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6

The Book of Life

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

*The LEGO Movie*


Best Documentary Feature

Art and Craft

*Jodorowsky’s Dune*

The Last Patrol

Life Itself

Private Violence

Under the Electric Sky


Best Foreign Language Film




The Raid 2

*Venus In Fur*

We Are The Best!

Boyhood Image

Best Casting





Under the Skin


Palo Alto

Best Cinematography

California Scheming

A Field In England


If I Stay


*Palo Alto*


Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One

In Secret

*Into the Woods*


Film Review Under the Skin

Best Editing



Guardians of the Galaxy


*Under the Skin*



Best Makeup and Hairstyling


*Guardians of the Galaxy*

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods



Best Original Score

California Scheming

A Field in England

Gone Girl

Guardians of the Galaxy


*Under the Skin*


Best Original Song

“Lost Stars” from Begin Again

“The Apology Song” from The Book of Life

“Split the Difference” from Boyhood

“Yellow Flicker Beats” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One

*”Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie*

“Sister Rust” from Lucy

“Mercy” from Noah

“Hal” from Only Lovers Left Alive

“Rock Star” from Palo Alto

“Summer Nights” from Under the Electric Sky


Best Overall Use Of Music

Begin Again


A Field in England

*Guardians of the Galaxy*

Only Lovers Left Alive



Best Production Design

*The Grand Budapest Hotel*

Guardians of the Galaxy

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods


Winter’s Tale


Best Sound Editing

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

A Field in England


Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

X-Men: Days of Future Past


Best Sound Mixing

*Captain America: The Winter Soldier*

A Field in England


Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

X-Men: Days of Future Past


Best Stunt Work

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

*Dawn of the Planet of the Apes*


In the Blood


X-Men: Days of Future Past


Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Edge of Tomorrow


*Guardians of the Galaxy*


X-Men: Days of Future Past

Number of Nominations by Film

14 Nominations — Guardians of the Galaxy

9 Nominations — Boyhood

8 Nominations — Nightcrawler

7 Nominations — Wild

6 Nominations — Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lego Movie, Under the Skin

5 Nominations —  A Field in England, Palo Alto

4 Nominations — X-Men: Days of Future Past

3 Nominations — Birdman, The Book of LifeCapt. America: The Winter Soldier, The Fault In Our Stars, Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, Into the WoodsJoe, Only Lovers Left AliveVenus in Fur

2 Nominations — Begin AgainBig Hero 6, California SchemingDawn of the Planet of Apes, Fury, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part OneMaleficent, SnowpiercerUnder the Electric SkyWhiplash

1 Nomination — Art and CraftBlue Ruin, BorgmanThe Box Trolls, ChefDivergent, Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Ida, If I StayIlliterate, In SecretIn the Blood, Interstellar, Jodorowsky’s Dune, The Last Patrol, Life ItselfLocke, Lucy, NoahThe One I Love, Pompeii, Private ViolenceThe Raid 2Raze, We Are The Best!, Winter’s Tale

Numbers of Oscars By Film

5 Oscars — Guardians of the Galaxy

3 Oscars — Boyhood

2 Oscars — The LEGO Movie, Under the Skin, Wild

1 Oscar — Capt. America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Plaent of the Apes, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Fury, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into the Woods, Joe, Nightcrawler, Only Lovers Left Alive, Palo Alto, Venus In Fur


2014 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 26 Favorite Films of 2014

Well, here we are!  This is my favorite part of the TSL’s look back at the previous year!  Below, you’ll find my picks for the 26 best films of 2014!

(Why 26?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers.)


Before looking at the list, there are two things that I would ask you to keep in mind.  First off, these are my picks and my picks alone.  There are 12 writers here at the TSL and we are all very opinionated individuals.  Needless to say, we don’t always agree.  Just because I love a film doesn’t mean that Arleigh, Leonard, Ryan, or anybody else here agree or disagrees.  (Even my own sister occasionally disagrees with me…)  When the other writers get around to posting their picks, I imagine that some of the films below will appear on those lists. And some of them most definitely will not.  Vive la difference!

Also, it should be understood that, unlike some film critics, I only list movies that I’ve actually seen.  Unfortunately, since I live in the middle of the country, that means that there are a few 2014 films that have yet to be released in my part of the world.  Over the upcoming two weeks, I plan to see Inherent Vice, Selma, American Sniper, A Most Violent Year, and The Imitation Game.  Any one of these films could potentially end up in my top 26, in which case I will update this post to reflect that.

(1/10/15 Update — I have updated the list to include Inherent Vice.  And, since I don’t do odd numbers, I also added Blue Ruin so that the list is currently an even 28 films.)

Under the Skin

As for my list, as I look over it, I have to admit that I’m a little bit surprised by some of the films that made the biggest impression on me this year.  Whereas in previous years, my favorite films were far outside of the mainstream, my favorite film of 2014 was the epitome of blockbuster entertainment.  The list is an interesting combination of spectacle and existential dread, featuring everything from the latest entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a few neglected masterpieces of ennui.

(If you’d like to see my picks for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, click on the links!)


And without further ado, here’s the list!

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy
  2. Wild
  3. Boyhood
  4. Under the Skin
  5. The LEGO Movie
  6. Nightcrawler
  7. The Fault In Our Stars
  8. Foxcatcher
  9. Palo Alto
  10. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  12. Joe
  13. Birdman
  14. Venus in Fur
  15. A Field in England
  16. California Scheming
  17. Gone Girl
  18. Chef
  19. Snowpiercer
  20. Cold In July
  21. Jodorowsky’s Dune
  22. Whiplash
  23. Inherent Vice
  24. Begin Again
  25. The Purge: Anarchy
  26. Devil’s Due
  27. Only Lovers Left Alive
  28. Blue Ruin

Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments below!


Previous Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2014

  1. 2014 In Review: Things Dork Geekus Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of His Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best Of Lifetime and SyFy
  3. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of 2014
  4. 2014 In Review: 14 Of Lisa’s Favorite Songs Of 2014
  5. 2014 In Review: Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014
  6. 2014 In Review: 20 Good Things Lisa Saw On TV In 2014
  7. 2014 In Review: Pantsukudasai56’s Pick For The Best Anime of 2014
  8. 2014 in Reivew: Lisa’s 20 Favorite Novels of 2014
  9. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2014

The Austin Film Critics Did Something Wonderful!

Gary Poulter in Joe

Gary Poulter in Joe

Earlier today, the Austin Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2014.  It’s not surprising that they picked Boyhood for best film.  It’s an Austin film, after all.  However, what brings tears to my mismatched, heterochromatic eyes is that they give a special award to the late Gary Poulter for his outstanding performance in Joe!

Way to go, Austin!

(h/t to awards daily)

Best Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Best Actress: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Best Original Screenplay: Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Best Adapted Screenplay: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Best Score: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Best Foreign Language Film: Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)
Best Documentary: Citizenfour (Laura Poitras)
Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)
Best First Film: Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
Breakthrough Artist: Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Best Austin Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Special Honorary Award: Gary Poulter, for his outstanding performance in Joe

AFCA 2014 Top Ten Films
1. Boyhood
2. Whiplash
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Birdman
5. Snowpiercer
6. Nightcrawler
7. Selma
8. The Imitation Game
9. TIE: Inherent Vice and Gone Girl

Arleigh’s Top 9 Films of 2014 (Front End)

We’re now past the halfway point for the film season of 2014. The year has seen it’s share of hits, bombs and surprises. Many look at the box-office numbers some that these films generate as a sign of their success. Others look at how the critics-at-large have graded these films as a way to determine whether they’ve been successful.

I know some people would list nothing but independent arthouse films as their best. They look at genre and big-budget films as not being worthy of being the best of the year, so far. It’s that sort of thinking that limits one’s appreciation of film, in general.

Does having a 150 million dollar budget mean that a film cannot be one of the best of the year. Past history will suggest that’s not the case. Yet, there are cinephiles out there who will dismiss such films because they consider it as being too Hollywood. The same goes for people who look down upon genre films like horror, scifi, westerns and many others that do not fit their slice-of-life drama study. They’re not existential enough for some.

I’ve come to look at all the films I’ve been fortunate enough to see through the first six months of 2014 and picked 9 of the best (I picked a random odd number since Lisa Marie already does the even numbers thing) no matter their genre, type of film and budget. I’ve picked a couple of scifi films, a documentary, an action-packed blockbuster sequel, a wonderfully made 3-D animated film (itself a sequel), a neo-noir Western, a brutal crime-thriller, an indie horror-thriller and one of the best comedies of the last couple years.

In no special order….

noah-banner222Noah (dir. by Darren Aronofsky)

capawsmovarthc-cvr-a91f8Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dir. by Anthony and Joe Russo)

cold_in_july_ver2_xlgCold in July (dir. by Jim Mickle)

HTTYD2How To Train Your Dragon 2 (dir. by Dean DuBois)

JodorowskysDuneJodorowsky’s Dune (dir. by Frank Pavich)

the-raid-2-berandal01The Raid 2: Berandal (dir. by Gareth Evans)

Snowpiercer (dir. by Bong Joon-ho)

GrandPianoGrand Piano (dir. by Eugenio Mira)

22JumpStreet22 Jump Street (dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)

My honorable mentions: All Cheerleaders Die, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Joe, Edge of Tomorrow, Lego: The Movie, Blue Ruin, Locke, Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Sacrament

The Eternally Frustrating Nicolas Cage


Just put yourself in my 4 inch heels for a moment.

You’re a film blogger who, though her tastes may be quirky, can usually defend her opinions fairly well.  You make an effort to see films that others may have missed and you pride yourself on your willingness to take and defend unpopular positions.

And let’s say that you’ve defied the conventional wisdom of so many of your fellow bloggers by declaring that Nicolas Cage is still a good actor and he still has something to offer the film world, beyond bad movies and weird performances.  You’ve even reviewed a film called Joe and triumphantly declared that this film proves that Nicolas Cage is a “great actor.”

And maybe, when certain people on Facebook laughed at you for using the terms “great” and “Nicolas Cage” in the same sentence, you argued that Cage is about to make a Matthew McConaughey-style comeback.  How?  By playing challenging roles in intelligent indie films.  You might have even said, “McConaughey had his Killer Joe and Nicolas Cage has Joe.”

And then this trailer for an upcoming film is released:

Nic, I still believe in you but, oh my God, you do test me sometimes.


Film Review: Joe (dir by David Gordon Green)

Joe and Cop

A lot of people have given up on Nicolas Cage.  I’m not one of them but I can understand the sentiment.  After all, it was hard not to feel a bit frustrated watching an obviously talented actor continually give performances in films that were so obviously beneath his ability.  For every Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, there seemed to be a dozen generic action films in which Cage seemed to be mostly concerned with positioning himself to get a supporting role in the next Expendables film.  To many viewers, the conventional wisdom seemed to be that Nicolas Cage just didn’t care anymore.

Well, for everyone out there who has given up on Nicolas Cage, I recommend that you make the effort to track down and watch a film called Joe.


Cage plays Joe Ransom, an ex-con who is struggling to stay out of trouble.  As the film quickly makes clear, that’s not always easy in Joe’s case.  Joe is in alcoholic with a quick temper and a thing for prostitutes.  He’s been arrested enough times that he’s on a first name basis with every single cop in the backwoods Southern town that he calls home.  Interestingly enough, the film doesn’t go into the details of Joe’s past.  Even when he explains how he ended up in prison in the first place, both the script and Cage’s performance gives us reason to believe that he might be lying.  In many ways, Joe remains an enigma throughout the entire film but Cage gives a performance of such power and focus that we feel like we know who the character is even if we don’t always fully understand him.  One need only look at Cage’s haunted expression or watch the brilliantly acted scene where a drunk Joe searches for his dog to understand both the character’s demons and his heart.

Joe is in charge of a group of laborers who, under the direction of the local lumber company, spend their days poisoning old trees and planting news ones in their place.  As the film makes clear, Joe may be a fuckup in his personal life but “professionally,” he’s a hard worker and a good boss.  When Joe hangs out with the members of his work crew (all of whom are played by nonactors, which brings a good deal of authenticity to the film), he’s confident and responsible in a way that he can never be in the “real” world.

When 15 year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan) and his alcoholic father Wade (Gary Poulter) join the crew, Joe starts to find it difficult to maintain his usual detached attitude.  Despite his attempts to remain aloof, Joe becomes a bit of a mentor towards Gary.  Once he discovers that the alcoholic Wade is both beating his son and prostituting his daughter, Joe is forced to take matters into his own hands.


As good as Nicolas Cage is, the rest of the cast deserves a lot of credit as well.  Gary Poulter turns Wade into a pathetic but frightening monster, a man who shows hints of his former humanity even while doing some truly disturbing and viscous things.  Wade is a terrifying villain because he’s real.  When, halfway through the film, Wade commits one of those most shocking (and pointless) acts of violence that I’ve ever seen, it’s effective because we all know that there are countless real-life Wades out there right now.  Gary Poulter, himself, was a homeless street performer who was recruited off the streets of Austin.  He made his film debut in Joe and sadly, he died before the film was released.  Those who assume that Poulter was just playing himself are doing both him and the film a great disservice.  Regardless of how much his background may or may not have mirrored Wade’s, it takes genuine talent to give a performance as effective and thought-provoking as Gary Poulter’s work in Joe.

Gary Poulter in Joe

Gary Poulter in Joe

Joe was directed by David Gordon Green, who comes from my hometown and who obviously has a feel for and an understanding for the type of rural community that most film directors either ignore or treat with the usual yankee combination of condescension, fear, and loathing.  As directed by Green, Joe is a moody and atmospheric southern character study.  It’s also one of the best films of 2014 so far.


(Interestingly enough, this is actually the 2nd film called Joe that I’ve reviewed for this site.  You can read my review of the 1970 Joe by clicking here.)



Film Review: Joe (dir. by John G. Avildsen)

(Warning: This review contains some spoilers.)

On Monday night, my movie before bedtime was an old one from 1970, John G. Avildsen’s Joe.  Though Joe is an occasionally uneven and rather heavy-handed film, it’s also a brutally effective one that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since watching it.

Joe opens with Melissa Compton (played by Susan Sarandon, in her film debut) and her boyfriend, Frank Russo (Patrick McDermott).  It is quickly established that Melissa is a “rich girl” who has dropped out of society while Frank is a drug dealer.  Frank, incidentally, is probably one of the least likable characters in the history of cinema.  When we first meet Frank, he’s taking a bath but it makes no difference as the character just seems to covered in a permanent layer of grime.  Both Frank and Melissa are also drug addicts.

Patrick McDermott (left) and Susan Sarandon

When Melissa has a drug overdose and ends up in the hospital, Frank doesn’t really care but her father, advertising executive Bill Compton (Dennis Patrick) does.  He promptly goes over to Frank’s apartment and after Frank taunts him by saying that Melissa “had a real hang-up about you,” Bill beats Frank to death in a fit of rage.  Shaken by his actions, Bill goes to a neighborhood bar where he runs into a factory worker named Joe Curran (Peter Boyle).   A drunken Joe rants about how much he would like to kill a hippie.  Bill replies, “I just did.”

This leads to an odd relationship between the two men.  While Bill originally fears that Joe wants to blackmail him, Joe appears to just want to be his friend.  Soon, Joe is introducing Bill to his bowling league and Bill introduces Joe to his colleagues at the advertising firm.  Bill and his wife even have a memorably awkward dinner with Joe and his wife.  Bill’s wife worries that Joe might be dangerous but Bill smugly assures her that he is Joe’s hero.

Meanwhile, Melissa is released from the hospital and moves back in with her parents.  One night, she hears them talking about how Bill killed Frank.  Melissa flees from the apartment and when Bill chases after her, she shouts at him, “Are you going to kill me too!?” before disappearing into the New York night.

Searching for Melissa, Bill and Joe go to various hippie hangouts in Manhattan.  Every hippie they meet tends to be dismissive of the suit-wearing Bill and the uneducated Joe.  However, once Bill reveals that his car is full of drugs that he stole from Frank, the hippies are suddenly a lot more friendly.  A group of hippies take Joe and Bill back to their apartment.  At Bill’s insistence, both of the men smoke weed for the first time and then have sex with two of the hippie girls.  While they’re busy doing it, the rest of the hippies steal their money and all of the drugs.

Suddenly, Joe takes charge of the situation, leaving Bill to watch helplessly as Joe repeatedly slaps one of the girls until she tells them where her friends have gone.  (I’ve seen a lot of movies and I like to think that there’s little I can’t handle watching but the scene where Joe interrogates the girl was genuinely disturbing and I actually had a hard time watching it.  This was largely due to the intensity of Boyle’s performance.)  Joe drags Bill to the commune where the hippies live.  Standing outside the house, as snow falls around them, Joe gets two hunting rifles out of his car and tosses one to Bill before the film reaches its inetivable conclusion. 

Joe With Friend

Like many films released in the early 70s, Joe is distinguished by a continually shifting tone. The film’s opening (which feature Susan Sarandon getting naked and then watching her disturbingly unhygienic boyfriend shooting up) feels almost like it’s composed of outtakes from some lost Andy Warhol Factory film while the scenes immediately following Melissa’s drug overdose feel like a melodramatic Lifetime special.  After Bill kills Frank, the film briefly becomes a Hitchcockian thriller just to then segue into heavy-handed social satire as we watch the development of Joe and Bill’s unlikely, hate-fueled friendship.  The awkward comedy continues for a while until, somewhat jarringly, Joe suddenly becomes a violent revenge film.  While many films have been doomed by the lack of a consistent tone, it actually works here.  Joe‘s odd mishmash of comedy, tragedy, and exploitation actually perfectly reflects the uncertain worldview and hidden fears of Bill Compton.  Much as the audience is often times left uncertain whether they’re watching a comedy or a tragedy, Bill is a man who is no longer sure how to react to the world around him.

And make no doubt about it, Joe may be the title character but the film is truly about Bill Compton.  It’s Bill’s repressed anger (and desire for his own daughter) that fuels the plot.  As played by Dennis Patrick, Bill Compton is the type of smugly complacent figure whose outward confidence hides the fact that he’s been rendered impotent by the world changing around him.  For the majority of the film, Bill looks down on both sides of the cultural divide, looking down on both his daughter’s hippie friends and his new blue-collar acquaintance Joe.  (He assures his wife that Joe would never attempt to blackmail him because Joe “looks up” to him.)  It’s only at the film’s conclusion that Bill realizes just how powerless he is to control anything.  In those final scenes, Dennis Patrick’s face reveals what the audience has already figured out.  By trying to place himself above it all, he’s left himself with nowhere to go. 

Dennis Patrick (left) and Peter Boyle

That said, the film truly is dominated by Peter Boyle’s demonic performance as Joe.  For much of the movie, Joe is a buffoonish figure (he even gets his own mocking theme song “Hey Joe” which plays as he wanders around his house and scratches his navel) and it’s sometimes hard not to feel like you’re watching a long-lost episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Frank Barone remembers the time that he killed a lot of hippies.  However, once Bill and Joe find themselves searching for Melissa among the hippies, Boyle slowly starts to pull back the layers and a new, far more threatening Joe emerges.  By the end of the film, Joe has become a nightmarish figure and we’re forced to reconsider everything that we’ve previously assumed.  By the film’s end, Joe almost seems to be a direct personification of Bill’s Id, a man who exists solely to force Bill to do what he’s always secretly wanted to do.*

When Joe was first released back in 1970, it apparently made a lot of money, generated a lot of controversy, and even managed to score an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.  Oscar nomination aside, Joe is the epitome of a well-made and effective exploitation film.  While Joe and Bill are basically counter-culture nightmares of a murderous American establishment, the film’s hippies are portrayed as being so smug and so scummy that I’m not surprised to read that apparently audiences cheered once Joe and Bill started gunning them down.  (Peter Boyle, however, was apparently so shocked that he swore he would never make another film that “glamorized violence.”)  By embracing the best traditions of the grindhouse and attempting to appeal to both sides of the cultural divide in the crudest way possible, the filmmakers ended up making a film that, over 40 years later, somehow feels more honest than most of the other “generation gap” films of the 60s and 70s. 

As any film lover knows, any film made between 1966 and 1978 tends to age terribly, to the extent that often times they’re impossible to take seriously when watched today.  (And anyone who doubts me on this should track down films like R.P.M, Thank God It’s Friday, Skatetown  U.S.A.,  Getting Straight, and Zabriskie Point.)  However, watched today in our present age of Occupiers and Tea Partiers, Joe still feels relevent and, at times, downright prophetic.


* In many ways, Joe Curran is a cruder, balder version of Tyler Durden.