Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lions For Breakfast

(William Davidson, 1975)
The irresponsibility which is this cheapo's main charm is regrettably inextricable from the peculiarly ingrained maleness which is its downfall. It's a genuine and pleasant surprise to find a kids' movie that presents drinking, gambling, unencumbered premarital sex, and running away from home as manageable-to-agreeable facts of life, and as the brothers Danny Forbes and Jim Henshaw are almost as engaging as Jan Rubes as the hard-luck father figure who takes them on. But why did they have to portray all the women in the narrative as entrapping sentinels of the social order? Susan Petrie as the auctioneer's runaway daughter has as much or more to escape from as the guys, but rather than let her share in the fun they soon have her playing petty marriage-trap games that get her left behind pronto. The journey to the mystical verdant promised land they call "The Blue" leads them to a derelict farmlot, and somehow the kids convince themselves that true love and responsibility means not keeping to the road and following their dreams, but succumbing to guilt and joining Rubes in this neurotic nowhere for an eternal sausage party. A charming thought, sort of, but the film can't sell it; I bet they all start losing their minds well before the first winter's behind them.

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