Saturday, November 6, 2010
The Warriors (1979)
There was a saying that my mother always said that I really should follow: "Don't keep hating on something or your always going to see what you hate".
I kept saying I hate the seventies and then I kept seeing seventies movies. But one thing I have to grudgingly admit is that alot of cult movies came out during that decade. Alot of the movies I like from that decade are cult and just far off the beaten path. I don't think there were alot of restrictions and censorship during that decade so filmmakers just went NUTs.
One of my favorite cinematic treasure is finding a movie that seems stupid and pointless but really has deep meaning to it. Here, I present "The Warriors".
This movie was screened during my story telling class a few weeks ago and I am still thinking about it. I am completely shocked and indignant that I did not know of this movie sooner! Even without knowing the backstory or any other history, this movie was just plain ridiculously awesome. The kind of awesome where you can't believe how lame and epic it is at the same time.
This movie is based on a greek tale of Xenophon. Xenophon is in a mercenary group led by Cyrus. Cyrus leads the group into enemy territory to fight a huge war. During the fight, Cyrus is slain. Xenophon and the rest of mercenary group now have to battle through various groups of enemies in order to make it to the ocean to head home.
"The Warriors" involves the various gang members of New York city. "Gang" as in very silly and descriptive small groups of young people. There are the "Furies" who are baseball bat weilding guys complete with baseball outfits and clow makeup. "The Boppers" who were very shiny purple tops. There is a gang of mimes( I know...mimes..). There is a group of lesbians called "the Lizzies". There is just too many.
"Warriors" are a gang from Coney Island. They receive a summons to join a delegation of a gang meeting. The leader of one of the largest gang, in New York, Cyrus, has invited all the gangs in order to speak of alliance to run the town. Despite the overwhelming positive support from the gangs, Cyrus is shot and the "Warriors" are framed.
Cyrus's gang," Grammercy", uses their intensive network throughout the city to alert all the gangs to capture the "Warriors". The "Warriors" then begin a desperate retreat back to Coney Island.
This movie was just absolutely fun to watch. True to seventies fashion there is a lot of pointless scenes that emphasize sex and just sexism in general. The fight scenes are pathetic for today's standards. You know what? They had a MIME GANG. It's hard to expect expert martial prowess after seeing a MIME GANG.
I did have a problem with the sexism in the movie. I understand that "Mercy", the female cast was to be the love interest. But damn did I hate here. "Swan", the leader, treats her with complete unmasked contempt instead of lust and she follows him pathetically. Ugh! She never did anything to redeem herself or anything. Just another sex object. Psst...I can see your nipples...
I have no idea how the gang violence truly was in the seventies. I can only imagine that they were pretty wild and stupid as they are now. I doubt that they were as colorful and full of personality as the one in the movie. I love that. There are already so many depressing movies that try to tap in to the core of the gang culture only to exacerbate gang violence by glorifying it through movies. I did wonder that it there were any gang members who did watch this movie in the theater, did any of them cringe and become disgusted at calling themselves a gang member? Especially after seeing the lame gang on rollar skates onscreen?
On a selfish note, I very much appreciate that the "Warriors" were bare chested. Although he was a chauvinist dick( damn I hate the bench scene), he was absolute eye candy.
Despite it being a really silly movie, you can still tell that the filmmakers really enjoyed making this movie. I can't explain how I can tell this. There is just a difference you can detect in someone making a movie because they love and someone who makes a movie because that's their paycheck.
The closet example I can give is the franchise that released "Date Movie", "Epic Movie", and "Disaster Movie". I've seen "Date Movie" and I actually enjoyed that one. The jokes were coming from someone who has watched alot of romance movies. "Epic Movie" I actually watched the whole through and it is just awful. The jokes are forced and there is this sense of coldness. I can only suffer through five minutes of "Disaster Movie" before my neurons shriek.
"The Warriors" was made in a heavy consideration of the story and the cast. The jokes were natural. Awkard but natural. There is a seriousness to this story. So much so that you can sense the desperation in getting home.
From the opening sequence I was already excited to watch. Even with the hiccups this was just a great movie. I am kinda bummed that there was only one female gang and they were shady lesbians. Maybe I can make a female version of the "Warriors"...I would love to don that vest...
Can you dig it?!