Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Nothing Lasts Forever

Nothing Lasts Forever
Nothing Lasts Forever - Let's make forever never!

Released in 1984, 'Nothing Lasts Forever' is an obscure pastiche of classic Hollywood schmaltz, and in a roundabout way, everything else that happened in the Twentieth Century. It follows Zach Galligan's quest to become an 'artist', a quest which brings him to a New York ruled by a Communist-style Port Authority; an underground society of secret rulers who also happen to be tramps; a consumer-oriented Moon populated by moon girls and... well, other stuff just as weird. All of this would be 'so Indie' were it not for the off-putting presence of stars like Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray and a score by heavyweight composer, Howard Shore ('Lord of the Rings').
I first saw this way back on Moviedrome, a film slot on BBC2 hosted by Alex Cox in the '80s. Somehow it stuck with me and I have kept my eyes open for it ever since. I came across it the other day and had to watch it one more time.
It's still weird. Ostensibly set in the 1930's, and using stock footage beautifully, the film flippantly refers to the '50s, video and other anachronistic bits and pieces that confound this general feel. Though shot in black and white, the film bursts into colour 'Wizard of Oz'-style when Galligan enters the underground kingdom of the tramps or lands on the Moon, and all this evokes fantasy films of the '40s where colour was still a novel way of indicating a change of world (done in a typically idiosyncratic way by Powell and Pressburger in 'A Matter of Life and Death'). The story, which is more a string of episodes than a solid tale, doesn't make an awful lot of sense, but instead follows a dream logic that seems to remind us of early Hollywood too. It's totally bonkers, yet oddly coherent. All in all it reminds me of another film that mixes up its Twentieth Century elements willynilly; 'Brazil'. While being nowhere near the masterpiece that film was, it's just as successful in creating that sense of a Twentieth Century that never was.
A writer from Saturday Night Live, writer/director Tom Schiller somehow gives an authentically 'nostalgic' feel to the whole enterprise. The cast play it beautifully straight too with Gremlin's Zach Galligan in particular being stunningly naive throughout. Again this is no masterpiece, and I half suspect this kind of thing appeals only to very odd souls like me. However, it deserves a DVD reissue at the very least. As the fetching lunar maiden sings, 'Nothing lasts forever, If this must be, Let's make forever never.' Ahem, yes, quite.

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