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« Market Vs. Culture? | Main | More on DFW »

March 05, 2009

"Vanishing Point" Fails to Vanish

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A general cultural point that movie history often drives home is this: You probably aren't a good predictor of what the future will make of the culture of your own time. Richard Sarafian's 1972 "Vanishing Point" is one of a zillion examples. At the time of its release, the film was largely taken as a fun exploitation pic for stoners. A long life was not predicted. These days, though, it's still influential, as well as a big fave with such cultureshaping coolguys as Richard ("Donnie Darko") Kelly and Quentin Tarantino. Had you watched the film back in '72, would you have predicted that? Come on, be honest. The film's director Richard Sarafian recalls making the film.



posted by Michael at March 5, 2009


I've seen Vanishing Point, not that long ago, on the Fox Movie Channel, so it vwas unedited, letterboxed and all that. My reaction was "Ho-hum."
Don't really see what the hoopla is all about, really.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 5, 2009 7:39 PM

I would have bet on The Driver, but not Vanishing Point. I did have a feeling about Office Space, but then I also had a feeling about Frankenhooker (James Lorinz is a great actor!), so I know nothing.

Of course, a lot of this boils down to the precious nostalgia of grown up boys who are in a position to give interviews. Nerds taking notes.

Posted by: Chip Smith on March 5, 2009 10:37 PM

Peter -- Yeah, I never saw a lot in the movie either.

Chip -- I liked "The Driver" too. Funny how it seems to have been totally forgotten. But ... maybe it's making an impact among hipsters I have no contact with. Who knows?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 6, 2009 2:08 AM

I remember Vanishing Point as being something of a bore.

The Driver has some great things in it despite the (to me) silly J.P. Melville-inspired stuff. (The movie plays like Le Samourai with car chases and...Ryan O'Neal.) Walter Hill could direct the pants off an action scene. Loved the one where O'Neal interviews for a job by systematically destroying an expensive car by driving it into things. Thought that had some of the kooky ingenuity of a Buster Keaton comedy routine.

Still, my fave car movie of the '70s is Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. No intellectual pretentions to that one. Plus Susan George.

Posted by: ron on March 6, 2009 8:34 AM

I think if you see *any* movie--even a crappy one--at a really impressionable age it can make an impression. I saw a lot of really crappy '70s-era TV movies as a kid and they've stuck with me. A number of influential culture-meisters obviously had the same thing happen to them with drive-in fare like this.

Too bad that this happens only rarely with an oddball little charmer like "Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins," which didn't play forever in drive-ins.

Posted by: Steve on March 6, 2009 10:54 AM

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