Monday, October 22, 2012

American movies, 1970-1979

Steve Rash's The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
This film follows the standard conventions that have calcified and hardened into that dead-end but omnipresent genre of nonhuman pseudo-feeling, that robotic checklist of events so beloved by Academy Awards voters and hack directors and screenwriters: the celebrity biopic. However, because this was the 1970s, the film still had atmosphere, a lived-in feeling, and a cast full of oddball character actors and show biz types (Don Stroud, Charles Martin Smith, Paul Mooney, Fred Travalena, Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles). Gary Busey may seem like an odd choice to play Buddy Holly, especially considering what he's become, but he acquits himself nicely. The film isn't much to look at, but it has scrapbook charm. Steve Rash later went on to direct Pauly Shore in Son in Law, Whoopi Goldberg in Eddie, and straight-to-DVD sequels to American Pie, Bring It On, and Road Trip. Carrie Fisher and Chevy Chase were coke-addled enough to be in Rash's Buddy Holly followup. A clip is here, though I have to warn you that it's three minutes you'll never get back.  

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