Thursday, September 28, 2006

 

Hey Joe, Where You Goin' with that Gun in Your Hand?

Travis Bickle and Archie Bunker can both find cinematic roots in the character of Joe Curran. Directed by John G. Alvidsen, six years before he brought Rocky to the screen, Joe tells the story of a racist factory worker who hates "hippies and niggers" (a raw and unforgettable performance by Peter Boyle), who teams up with a fellow bigot and goes on a shooting spree. Susan Sarandon (as a druggie who escapes from a mental institution), made her film debut in this film, which initially seems to offer an answer to the counter culture messages that filled the screens during the late 60s and early 70s, but ultimately demonstrates how the gun carrying, knee-jerk conservative views of the main characters in this film comes at a terrible price. This is the kind of film you simply don't expect to see in theaters any longer, as the film industry has become more homogeneous and corporatize. Fans of Alvidsen's work (in addition to Joe and Rocky, he also directed Jack Lemmon to an Oscar in Save the Tiger and the first two Karate Kid films); or anyone interested in seeing the early work of Susan Sarandon or Peter Boyle should rent this film.

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