Off The Marquee
Martin Scorsese’s 1985 film After Hours tells the story of computer programmer Paul Hackett, who after a particularly mundane day, goes on a late-night excursion to connect with a stranger named Marcy. Paul’s patience and sanity suffer when he clashes with Marcy after the unsuccessful date. In this scene, Paul loses his patience with Marcy and pushes her away making a strange excuse as to why he has come to see her in the first place: Paul’s short trip into Soho turns into a surreal struggle when he loses his keys and his cash and can’t find a means of transportation home. He encounters a strange array of unsympathetic characters as he traverses the fashionable SoHo neighborhood trying to collect himself. In this scene, Paul tries to buy a subway token from an uncompromising subway cashier: The dialogue exhibits an unusually slow brand of anarchic humor and the noir shooting style turns New York City into a playground for the disenchanted and makes for an unusually dark comedy. After Hours is a fun film and an interesting portrait of SoHo in the 80s.
After Hours has recently been released by The Criterion Colletion on DVD and BLU-RAY. After Hours
After Hours is also featured in Billups Allen’s book 101 Films You Could See Before You Die: available through Goner Records.
Off the Marquee on the web.
Dolemite Is My Name (2019) R & B singer and comedian Rudy Ray Moore had a long show business career. In the 1970s, Moore created the wildly popular character Dolemite and made several feature films as the street-wise character. The recent biopic Dolemite is My Name is the story of Moore’s conception of the character and the struggles he faced finishing his first Dolemite film. Moore is portrayed by Eddie Murphy who puts in not only a hysterical performance, but is also captivating and charming as the titular character. One of the movie's biggest assets is the strong ensemble cast. The project succeeds at first through the efforts of an unlikely team of Moore’s old friends and some young film students. While there is a lot of spirit and camaraderie in the production, the production eventually runs out of cash. Rudy Ray Moore continued performing as an actor and singer for the rest of his life. He never gave up on his dreams, and it made a difference to those around him. Dolemite Is My Name is not only a hilarious tribute to Moore, but an inspirational one.
For a great double feature, check out the 1994 Tim Burton film Ed Wood, the story of low-budget filmmaker Ed Wood,and his struggle to produce films in 1950s Hollywood.
Billups Allen’s book 101 Films You Could See Before You Die is available through Goner Records.
Off the Marquee on the web.
Tender Mercies (1983) In 1983, the film Tender Mercies brought a new type of country music narrative to the screen. Robert Duvall portrays Mac Sledge, a famous country singer who has hit bottom with his drinking and rowdy lifestyle. Marooned at a gas station in rural Texas, Sledge befriends Rosa played by Tess Harper and her young son Sonny played by Allan Hubbard. As he pursues redemption, Sledges’ past catches up with him when a reporter played by Paul Gleason comes to the small town to get a story. Sledge starts over in the small town and begins to face his past. With an amazing performance by Robert Duvall and a terrific supporting cast, Tender Mercies is a great movie about country music and also an insightful meditation about what it means to be an artist. Read more about Tender Mercies in Billups Allen’s 101 Films You Could See Before You Die available now on Goner Records.
Event Horizon (1997)
Event Horizon is fun summer sci-fi with a story that escaltes in surprising ways.
Read more about Event Horizon and other cult films in Billups Allen’s 101 Films You Could See Before You Die, available now on Goner Records.
The Blob screens at the Malco Drive-In as part of the Time Warp Drive-In series’ Humans vs. Aliens program Saturday, June 24th alongside two great sci-fi action thrillers: Starship Troopers and Edge of Tomorrow.
More of Billups Allen's writing can be seen at offthemarquee.com.
His most recent book, 101 Films You Could See Before You Die, is available on Goner Records.