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  Glen and Randa Nothing But Flowers
Year: 1971
Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Steven Curry, Shelley Plimpton, Woody Chambliss, Garry Goodrow
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Decades after a nuclear war which decimated the world's population and left the survivors as scavengers, a young couple make their own entertainment in a more rural area than the bombed-out cities. Glen (Steven Curry) and Randa (Shelley Plimpton) don't know much about the world that came before them, but he is willing to learn, and when they find the wreck of a car jammed into the branches of a tree and overgrown by moss, they climb up inside it. Glen dreams up a reason for it being here, settling on the idea this place used to be a used car lot which was transformed into trees over time - that inquisitive mind is going to set him on a journey sometime soon...

By 1971, director Jim McBride was still best known for David Holzman's Diary, and experimental feature that proved very influential, but he was not about to give up his experimental roots so easily if Glen and Randa was anything to judge by (he however promptly did give them up in his next film, a soft porn comedy spoof of the Archie comics). Despite its setting in the future, everything about this film screams seventies; well, not so much screams as does a bit of rambling musing over the fate of mankind while blissed out in a cloud of marijuana smoke.

McBride fully admits that he was stoned himself half the time while this was made, and you can imagine much of the rest of the cast and crew were in a similar altered state of consciousness, so much so that it may assist your potential enjoyment of watching this if you place yourself in a relaxed frame of mind. Not that I'm advocating drug use to get through the film, but otherwise you could well discover why many commentators have viewed this as one of the most boring science fiction movies ever made. It certainly appears to have been created without a sense of urgency, never mind a sense of purpose.

You cannot imagine anyone tackling the subject of the apocalypse and its after effects in this way nowadays, as even Roger Corman's Gas! or It Became Necessary tro Destroy the World in Order to Save It which came out the same year presented its armageddon with a lot more oomph and imagination than is to be seen here. Yet here the gentle tone is not a dead loss, so if it looks like ninety minutes of semi-improvised noodlings (McBride, Lorenzo Mans and fashionable writer of the day Rudy Wurlitzer are credited with the script), it can leave you contemplating the journey we have taken from there to here as well as the journey from here to whatever lies ahead.

As with Wurlitzer's script for Two Lane Blacktop, this is a road movie too, or it would be if there was much of a road left, so Glen gets it into his head to travel to a city, out of curiosity more than any imperative reason, and Randa follows along in his wake to what they hope will be the path to the Metropolis they have heard of in comic books. This might have been more palatable if the couple had been appealing, but as it is Glen is whiny and patronising, and when Randa does do anything it's pretty spaced-out useless. If the intention was to show how the hippies could show the way to a simpler life, then what it actually shows is that any intelligent survivor would have been driven up the wall by their fellow wanderers' ineffectual cutesiness. Although we are shown a demonstration of how Glen can catch fish, so he's not a total washout. If you're in a quiet mood, then this will appeal, but it remains unenlightening.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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