Tuesday, August 11, 2015


This was my second time watching Masked and Anonymous. On my first viewing it didn't seem to be as bad as some critics had made it out to be, but after a second viewing I have to agree, it's pretty darn bad. Written by Larry Charles and Bob Dylan (using the pen name Sergei Petrov) the dialogue is heavy-handed and juvenile trying to deliver "important messages".  Dylan's acting is so bad, that even though he's basically just playing himself, he can't seem to pull that off. Bob surrounded himself with a great bunch of actors, all working for scale in order to be in a film with Bob Dylan. Unfortunately, having a great cast of good actors just made Dylan look even worse.

The plot, such as it is: In a dystopian future Jack Fate (Dylan) is in prison, but is released to do a benefit performance. As Dylan proceeds to the concert site and prepares for the show, we meet a variety of characters, all played, for the most part by famous actors. Dylan sings several songs (the oddest of which, to me, was "Dixie") and the soundtrack provides more Dylan tunes covered by different artists. As noted above, this movie seemed to be striving, but definitely not succeeding, in providing some message about politics, or society, or Dylan himself. Your guess is as good as mine.

Most days I'm a Dylan fan (probably why I didn't think this film was so bad on my first viewing), but I consider this movie to be one of the lower points in his career, even worse than his Christmas album and his Sinatra covers album. If you want to see Dylan in a movie, I would recommend "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid", where Dylan actually acts,  or even the laughably bad Hearts of Fire, which is still better than Masked and Anonymous.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I have an obsession with AIP (American International Pictures) and had never seen a movie from AIP  that didn't entertain me in some way or the other, either in my youth or now in my AARP years, until Cult of The Damned destroyed that axiom. Not only is this the worst AIP movie I've seen, it's also one of the worse films I've ever seen. One bright thing about the film is Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann composed the songs, so at least there are a few decent tunes in the movie. Released originally under the title Angel Angel Down We Go, a year later it became Cult of The Damned to capitalize on the Manson murders (yeah, Hollywood, what a way to show your sympathy....or maybe you were showing your sympathy......for The Devil!)

The plot (and I use that word loosely) follows Tara (Holly Near), the overweight daughter of one of the richest families in the world. Her parents hire a rock band for her coming out party. The lead singer, Jordan Christopher doing his best Jim Morrison impression, plays rock star Bogart Peter Stuyvesant, the charismatic leader of the band (which also features Lou Rawls).

Jennifer Jones is cast as Holly's gold digging mother. It seems mother was a porn star in her former life. Her father is rich and gay. Eventually, Christopher seduces Holly Near, Jennifer Jones, AND the father. For any of you fans of Holly Near, who have always ached to see her naked, this is the movie for you. There's a lot of talking in this film (and that includes piles of bad dialogue), but the main problem with the movie is the director tried to make so many "arty" shots that it just made a mess of the whole film. I'm sure at the time (1969), the director thought he was sending a "heavy" message. The only thing that got heavy with me was my eyes, which kept wanting to close and not watch this piece of crap.