Sunday, August 26, 2007

"We're Off To See The @%#$ing Wizard!"

My Australian correspondent Sam Antony Milazzo and I made a little temporary swap: I would lend him (through snail-mail) the Russian Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda (1974, stop frame animated, 2-disc) and he would lend me Oz: Rock 'n' Road Movie on DVD. (I have an all regions "unlocked" DVD Player.)

It's 1976. Dorothy is a groupie. The Scarecrow is a surfie. The Tin Man is a mechanic. The Cowardly Lion is a bikie. The Wicked Witch drives a semi. The Good Fairy is gay. The Wizard is a rock superstar. Any questions?

Here's my rundown on the story: Dorothy and her friend become groupies for a rock and roll band. On their first trip, they run off the road and Dorothy is knocked unconcious.

Dorothy finds herself walking into a town where everyone quietly stares at her. She finds a shop called "The Good Fairy," run by a gay man who tells her she can call him Glen. He presents her with a pair of red sequin-studded high heel shoes in return for killing a nuisance around town. However, the dead man's brother threatens that he will get Dorothy. She notices a picture of a strange-looking man on the wall, who Glen identifies as "The Wizard," a rock superstar who is having his last performance. Glen advises Dorothy to hitchike to the City.

Along her way, Dorothy is helped along by the silly "Surfie," who worries about sharks, the greasy "Greaseball," a mechanic, and the non-violent, motorcycling "Bikie," who wears a "Lions" vest.

Dorothy manages to get into the Wizard's concert, but is afterwards kidnapped by "Trucker." She is rescued by her three friends, and then they go to find the Wizard, who Dorothy finds behind a curtain... a shower curtain. (Yes, she joins him.)

Let's close by saying that those shoes help Dorothy return to reality, after she realizes that "fame and fortune really f*** you up!"

If you've heard of the sexual content, yes there is some, after the first hour. Really, the sensual stuff is not as bad as the recent film The Last Kiss with Zach Braff. Still, it's an example that it's not for the kids. The Wizard is only seen in a VERY skimpy costume or with his genitalia covered by a blanket, shower curtain, or towel. Truckie forces Dorothy to strip. (One of her nipples is visible in a shot, and we get a fleeting shot of her bottom.) Dorothy offers to have sex with the doorman at the concert to get in. (She doesn't.) The Wizard and a girl resembling Dorothy's friend are seen having sexual intercourse.

There is profanity all through the film. Characters do drugs, smoke, and drink. But, surprisingly, up until the Wizard's concert, the film is actually enjoyable. But you'll need strong nerves to finish!

Like I said, not for the kids.

The music is so-so. It was probably top-quality back in 1976, but unlike the classic 1939 musical, the songs have aged. In fact, the headlining song, "Living In The Land Of Oz," is pretty racist... I'm not going to mention exactly why, but people of African origin will not go for it at all.

As an adaptation of the Baum story... you have to use your imagination a little to try to figure out where certain elements were pulled from, in this case the Baum book or the MGM movie.

Worth a watch? If you're interested after reading this, yes. If not, no.


1 comment:

mb said...

Could you post a clip on Youtube?