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When I first read the synopsis for Psych-Out, I expected it to be incredibly stupid, but once I watched it I decided otherwise. This film provides a rare look into a time too offen reduced to nostalgic simplicities. A true time capsule, watch and see. NOTE: It is quite embarrassing when Nicholson is miming (on guitar) a bastardized version of Purple Haze, but the scene is enjoyable nonetheless. Great music by Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Seeds (both bands perform live in the film). The STP sequences are fun to watch. Another part is where Elwoood (Max Julian)fights a bunch of garbage gargoyles in a local dump, but since he ate a hit of acid, he sees them as knights and dragons. Bruce Dern plays a good role in this film as 'The Seeker' who is being looked for by his sister Jenny (Susan Strasberg). Dave (Dean Stockwell) is an acid freak and his role is equally effective. But the main treat is seeing Jack Nicholson (as Stoney) with long hair saying 'out of sight' and crashing around in a van with his psychedelic band, Mumblin' Jim. Although not for everyone, this film can be incredibly enjoyable.
If you try and take 'Psych-Out' seriously you're making a big mistake. This
is Haight-Ashbury presented by Dick Clark after all! But as 60s camp it's
great fun, and dare I say it worth watching more than "real" head movies
from the period like 'Chappaqua' and Antonioni's 'Zabriskie Point'. This
mightn't be what the 60s were really like, but after watching Mumblin' Jim
and fans at the Ballroom, or the happiest funeral ever, music courtesy of
garage Gods The Seeds, you'll wish that it was, and that you were
Jack Nicholson stars as Stoney, the leader of small time psych rock band Mumblin Jim'. His band mates include Adam Roarke ('Dirty Mary Crazy Larry') and Max Julien ('The Mack'). Deaf beauty Jenny (Susan Strasberg, 'The Trip') is a runaway looking for estranged brother Steve (Bruce Dern, 'Silent Running'), now known locally as "The Seeker". Dean Stockwell ('Paris, Texas') returned to the screen after a few years absence as tripped out oracle Dave ("It's all just one big plastic hassle", "reality is a dangerous place",etc.). Also look out for future directors Gary Marshall (an uptight cop) and Henry Jaglom (a classic zombie-hallucinating freak out scene!), and performances by Strawberry Alarm Clock.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all just as long as you stay away from the rednecks at the rubbish dump, avoid playing in the traffic on STP, and nobody doing the dirty dishes. Grooovy baby!
It's a rock band - hippie gang trying to protect a deaf runaway girl while on the search for her missing brother, but instead, they're taking The Trip to nowhere. Director Rush, who gave pony-tailed Nicholson some star treatment in HELL'S ANGELS ON WHEELS, delivers this pretty good view of offbeat, sublime hysteria pertaining to the drug frenzy that popularized late 60s culture. One troubling factor, though: it was made to immoralize society as we once knew it. Just say "wicked", and you'll enjoy this cinematic acid trip that isn't half-bad. RATING: * * 1/2
Most everything people have already said about this movie is how I think
about it, too. However, I would like to say for the Seeds fans out there
that might try to see the film so they can see the Seeds footage that it's
way too brief. I love the Seeds and I wanted desperately to see some
closeups of the guys in action. Maybe see some good dancing by Sky or even
get a good group shot. I was pretty disappointed to see Sky rocking out to
some bad synchronizing on part of the audio engineers. It makes him look
like he has no sense of rhythm! And you only get to see him for half seconds
at a time. And Daryl Hooper (organist) isn't even shown when the band plays!
It spends more time showing Jan Savage's fingers playing guitar than it
spends on the any other Seeds shot. Quite a disappointment, especially since
there is hardly any footage of this amazing band anywhere.
Aside from that, the Strawberry Alarm Clock get great coverage, which is
The plot of the movie is really entertaining as well. But I wonder, why didn't Jenny talk like a deaf person? I guess it's because you're led to believe she really isn't deaf.
Either way, it's a good movie with some good tripping scenes and cool clothes and lines: "Why are you dancing alone?" "I'm not, I'm dancing with everybody!" yikes! that's heavy! haha
A 17 year old deaf mute (Susan Stasberg!?!) tries to find her brother
(Bruce Dern) in 1968 San Franciscos Haight-Ashbury area. A musician
(Jack Nicholson) and his friends try to help her.
The plot is unbelievable from the word "go" and, despite location shooting in Haight-Ashbury, this is a very Hollywoodized look at hippies. Everybody is so healthy, friendly, helpful and they live in colorful, spotlessly clean huge houses happily. That was NOT the way it was--any documentary on the 60s could tell you that. Realism aside, this is one of AIP's best pictures.
The dialogue is VERY dated (and hysterically funny) as are the situations, but the film never stops moving, is shot in deep rich color, has good acting (considering) and is never once dull. Check out a most interesting "funeral" in the film and a very funny sex sequence. However, at the end, it gets VERY serious and has a depressing ending. Too bad--it's totally at odds with the rest of the film. Still--well worth seeing.
It also stars Dean Stockwell (who has the best lines) and Garry Marshall (!!!) in a bit as a cop! Produced by Dick Clark!
I purchased this movie recently as one of those "MIDNITE MOVIES", that MGM
has put out as a double feature on DVD. I absolutely love this movie. If you
want to know what 1968 looked like, really looked like in the hippie world
at that time, this movie is for you!
Some people might think it's a bad movie, or corny. Well, it's 1968, when people acted more like philosophers than the arrogant, ignorant "HEY YO" types of today. I would much rather have the former than the latter.
In my opinion, 1968 was the Best of times, and the Worst of times. We had Vietnam, the end of the Johnson era, and the beginning of the Nixon-Agnew regime. (and those were the good old days!) There was the young people's movement on College Campuses, War Protestation, Untimely demises of leaders such as Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. What was once a small exclusive lifestyle in San Francisco California blossomed into a lifestyle for this country and the entire world ultimately. It was the movements of the mid-late 1960's that still fuel us today!!!
Jack Nicholson classes up any movie, and he does so here! I love Susan Strasberg, and there are many other great young actors. Bruce Dern, Dean Stockwell, Adam Rourke, to name a few. The music is mostly by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, and there is a scene called "The Beads of Innocence" that you shouldn't miss!!! The Colors, the Sounds, the Lights! It's all good!
So if you are in a mellow mood to tune in and trip out, then Psych Out is your movie! I give it a full five stars! Loved it!
Psych-Out is as much a skewed look at the world of hippies as much as it is
a praise-full one- Clark knew that he couldn't show hippies as they really
were, despite that he could get filming rights in Haight-Ashbury and other
sections of San Francisco, but hey if you're not going for realism, go for
ciche! And what ciche it is: Strausberg is a deaf runaway looking in San
Fran for her brother, played by Bruce Dern (a near Jesus look-a-like), named
the Seeker, and yet instead falls in with a psychadelic rock group called
Mumblin Jim, headed by Stoney, Jack Nicholson in a pre-Easy Rider look. The
plot is used as a thread to showcase various cliched scenes; the pad filled
with hippie-people, the acid-freak out, the scuffle with the fuzz (one of
which a young Garry Marhsall), the scuffle with the regular folk, and the
music scenes, one of which is a abhorrition on Hendrix's Purple Haze (it's
the opening chords played backwards!). Yet, I can reccomend this movie to
nostagia-fanatics, ex-hippie film buffs, and for those who'd like to see
Nicholson before he started making money in Hollywood, and this is not
saying he's bad in this, he's quite good considering the tripe of a
screenplay. Another small plus is Kovacs on photography.
And hey, don't forget the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the seeds! B
This cool, little movie (directed by Richard Rush of Stunt Man fame) stars
Susan Strasberg (good actress; daughter of Lee); she hung out with all these
cool nobodies (then) as a deaf chick on Haight_Ashbury streets looking for
her older brother (Bruce Dern as the Seeker). This is a YEAR befor Easy
Rider (a great movie) and the plot just rolls in a exploitive-psychelic
Roger Corman way that's totally the perfect drive-in movie that is not a
realistic hippie, 60's, whatever statement) for 1968. Dean Stockwell plays
the cool, cynical head-band dude, Nicholson is Stoney, the level-headed
pot-head guitar player, Max Julien as mr. intense, Henry Jaglom as the
"artist" and The Strawberry Alarm Clock" first hit single (with a real plot)
on location, and then Bruce Dern later in the film, while Strasberg carries
the story (deaf); It's totally cool. I assume everybody hip as scene this
Universal film by now, no matter what you're into.
Check this flick (It blows away The Wild Angels and other cool exploitation films by the youth movement, even then);along with Hell's Angels on Wheels (Jack Nicholson and Sabrina Scharf - from Easy Rider) as one of the few films made on the Haight - realism would come later; like a year later because of Hopper, Fonda and, well ...you know.
(Minor Spoilers) Trveling to the Haight-Ashbury section of San
Francisco to find her hippie brother Steve, Bruce Dern, pretty but hard
of hearing Jenny Davis, Susan Strasberg, get's hooked up with a number
of local hippie musicians and an high hippie Guru. The Hippies soon get
her addicted to their free love and drug lifestyle that in the end
almost cost Jenny her life.
Not that hip with what's happening Jenny falls for smooth talking Stoney (Jack Nicholson) ,by reading his lips, and ends up being bedded down by him at his pad together with a number of his other girlfriends.
Turned on to dangerous hallucinogenic drugs not only by Stoney but hippie Guru Dave(Dean Stockwell) who thinks he's the real deal, when it come to the free-love hippie lifestyle, that his fellow hippie Stoney's isn't. Jenny's brother Steve it turns out is on the run from a gang of thugs who dislike his free-love philosophy. When Jenny and her hippie friends Ben & Elwood, Adam Roarke & Max Julien, together with Stoney go to the junkyard, where Steve had made his home away from home,their attacked by these goons who try to rape Jenny. In the end they gets their butts kicked in by the suddenly non-peaceful but hard hitting hippies.
The fact that Steve, and artist, has his masterpiece on display at the Warren Gellery ,where Stony & Co. are staying at, has him sneaks in at night in order to retrieve it. Confronted by Stoney Steve is told that his sister Jenny's looking for him.
Complety blowing his cover Steve's trapped in a burning building by the thugs who've been looking for him and ends up possibly killed. Were never really shown what happened to Steve much less told just why these thugs were so hateful to him. Since he was just one of thousands of hippies in the city who shared the same ideas that he did; so why did they single him out for special treatment? Jenny is later turned on by Dave, who should have know better, on acid that blows her mind and causes Jenny to drift out on the dangerous Golden Gate Bridge.
With Jenny staggering onto the bridge's roadway and about to be run down and killed by the oncoming traffic Dave, in a moment of redemption for what he did to her, heroically saved Jenny's life but at the cost of his own.
Pretty good film about the 1960's counter culture with guest appearances by the popular late 1960's musical groups "The Seeds" & "The Strawberry Alarm clock". With Jack Nicholson looking more like an extra from the Mel Gibson American Revolutionery epic "The Patriot" then a 1960's type hippie.
As I was about two years old when this movie was shot, I missed the
whole psychedelic/hippie/Sixties era/attitude/thing, except maybe the
very tail end of it. So I was always curious about it. While I realize
this is just a movie, even a distorted glimpse of that truly odd and
wonderful time and place in America makes watching this more than
worthwhile. Nicholson is great as usual. Susan Strasberg is fascinating
to watch. Dean Stockwell in a toga and head band is a riot with the
line of the film: "It's all one big plastic hassle."
The music is awesome, BUT! I must make a note that this is not genuine San Francisco hippie music. The two groups that are heard and seen in the film, the Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Seeds, were both L.A. groups! While both had a distinct sound of their own, neither of them sounded exactly like the classic San Francisco groups such as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape or The Charlatans. (Many L.A. bands would play in San Francisco, and still do, but groups like the SAC would probably be derided by Bay area hippies as too-slick, plastic L.A. bubblegum) A C.D. reissue of the soundtrack would be quite welcome though...
Although obviously there was some on-location shooting in San Francisco, many of the scenes were lensed in L.A., including the interiors at Jack's house (shot in a Victorian house in L.A.) and the coffee house/art gallery scenes (shot on a soundstage). Also look out for writer/producer/director Gary Marshall in the coffee house scene at the start of the film, as "The Man"! A lovable time capsule of an era that couldn't last and had to slip away too quickly.
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