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Psych-Out, yeah, that's a pretty accurate title for an art movie of
I saw this movie with a couple of friends, and we all had a ball. If I would see this movie again, it would be under the influence of something a bit more "psych", although some scenes in the movie could freak you out..
If you like new "stoner movies" like Half Baked and such, I recommend you to watch this movie.
Because I feel that this movie has probably been an inspiration to those movies. What I'm talking about is the dialog.
The camera-job on the other hand, is a work of art i've never seen before. They have managed to make it look like a documentary, which was good for me that's born in the 80s and never got to experience the crazy 60s in San Fransisco.
But for heavenly waters, Do Not Watch This Movie like it have a good storyline, No!! Just watch it completely wasted and enjoy the ride!
This is an incredibly hilarious portrayal of a sixties psychedelic band helping a young, deaf, square chic find her brother, a drugged up messiah-type whilst at the same time the band, or Nicholson as the band leader attempt to break into the big time music league. Nicholson, Dern and Stockwell are incredibly funny and this film deserves to be watched just for the chance to laugh at these three great actors go through motions of portraying the SF hippy scene in all its glory. Stockwell in particular is almost knee-tremblingly funny as the philosopher-type figure. The films other saving grace is the chance to hear Sky Saxon and the Seeds. Don't take it too seriously. Just sit back and think, "is this what our parents really got up to in the sixties?" I don't think so!
This movie might seem appealing to someone who didn't live through the era. Having lived through it in California, I can assure you that little was appealing about screaming students being wheeled away on ambulance gurneys and helpless, drugged girls wandering naked around my university campus after having been raped by various guys. This cynical movie is typical of Hollywood's exploitation of the self-destructive behavior of children and young adults. There was nothing beautiful about the period, and this movie revulses and dispirits. (More lines added to meet 10-line requirement: There was nothing beautiful about the period, and this movie revulses and dispirits. There was nothing beautiful about the period, and this movie revulses and dispirits. There was nothing beautiful about the period, and this movie revulses and dispirits. There was nothing beautiful about the period, and this movie revulses and dispirits.)
If you look very closely, during the opening main-title sequence, you can spot local Haight-Ashbury residents, including Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, hanging out on Haight Street. It's too bad that Jack Nicholson's contribution to the script, and those of the screenwriters, didn't keep the story moving along at a better pace in a way that would have made the film an interesting, honest look at what the Haight was all about: people searching for peaceful, more spiritually rewarding lives, seeking media attention (to promote their message), while simultaneously shunning the commercialized "straight" world and the materialism of mainstream society. Dean Stockwell's characterization of Dave alludes to that, but the film is so rambling that it never quite gels into what should have been a really good time capsule in the way that Saturday Night Fever was and still remains.
I love this movie! Jack Nicholson is so funny and so campy. The premise of the movie really isn't a comedy, and it ends on a depressing note (not too, though). The funniest part of this movie is when Jack and his "band" are performing and play a song that sounds like a bad Purple Haze knockoff. It's so funny to see him then and see him now. This is a great late-Saturday-night with popcorn and beer movie. Not as serious as Easy Rider. Jack is almost giddy throughout this movie. I thought the female lead in this looked a lot like the female lead in "The Savage Seven", but she's a different actress. Dean Stockwell as the stoned philosopher hippie is a riot, too.
Oh, I love this movie! My 16 yr.old son watched it, in spite of himself...mostly in total disbelief. My 18 yr. old thought it was stupid, but was impressed with Dean Stockwell. But this movie is wonderful in its badness! First, Jack Nicholson with long hair, who plays guitar without moving his fingers, and who can flatten the bad guys with a single punch. And that robe he wears looks a lot like the robe in Witches of Eastwick....in fact, this is what the devil must have been up to in 1968. Bruce Dern chews up the scenery in his short screen time as The Seeker, a long-haired, Manson-eyed Jesus Freak. And Dean Stockwell...charming and handsome hippie-dude, man, who lives on a San Francisco rooftop....both my daughter and I agree that he's the best part of the film. If you want a glimpse in to the silly, hippy-dippy-trippy sixties...rent this movie...and catch reruns of Laugh-In.
In the mid seventies, every friday night, CFCF TV (Montreal) was showing American International Pictures. My friends and me have lots of fun viewings cheap gems like Carnival Rock, horror flicks with Vincent Price, surf movies with Annette & Frankie Avalon, bikers movies and this one! I remember searching for the soundtrack album because of the Seeds! Other music includes the Strawberry Alarm Clock who sings Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. What a great title song! And there's a lot of cliche about the psychedelic era, but it's today a true document to watch real sequences of the San Francisco Haight Ashbury! And we thought that Susan Strasburh was very cute! Bad movie? Surely! Boring movie? Not at all! It's American International Picture, who were making cheap movies with what the teenagers of the 1950's and 1960's wants to see. Not More or Zabriskie Point stuff! Just cheap good funny movie about hippies, bikers, surfers, rock and rollers, monsters!
What's Vietnam? "Psycho-Out" paints the 60s as if it was all a bed of
flowers (no pun intended). I knew this wasn't going to be a film I
could take seriously the minute "Incense and Peppermints" is played on
the soundtrack (a song which I have heard far too many times in
parodies). Did you really expect a serious look at the peace and love
generation from producer Dick Clark? That being said, this is glorious
camp. A lot of these films from AIP were decently well made, but the
scripts were just too silly and they date horribly. Viewed today, both
this and its counterpart "The Trip" are great fun. "The Trip" is a more
well made film, but "Psych-Out" is more entertaining.
Part of the camp appeal comes from watching all these young stars, including Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern, who are not "groovy" in any sense of the word. Its weird to see such iconic actors and familiar faces early in their career. Susan Strasberg actually turns in a good performance as a deaf runaway. Strasberg was one of the most beautiful and appealing actresses of the era, its a shame she didn't become a bigger star. Richard Rush was a competent director who went on to make the brilliant "The Stunt Man" and the abyssal "Color of Night". The STP trip at the end is actually quite suspenseful, especially when compared to the goofy shenanigans taking place earlier. Still, this is the highest camp of the hippie era. For Dick Clark at his most far-out, you can't go wrong with "Psych-Out"! (6/10)
I doubt San Francisco ever looked like this, even in 1968! Here, a deaf girl searches the city for her brother but becomes involved with a hippie rock band. Dick Clark-produced relic has jaw-dropping, pot-soaked set-pieces and clichéd characters galore ("Pleasure Lovers", according to the ads). Susan Strasberg and Jack Nicholson, playing a fellow named Stoney (!), head up quite an interesting cast; Jack is charismatic, as usual, and Adam Roarke proves yet again he had real star power. Unfortunately, the script by E. Hunter Willett and Betty Ulius, from Willett's original story, is a stinker. Richard Rush directed, in scattershot fashion. * from ****
A sickening style and a bland story with poorly executed elements make "Psych-Out" spin out of control very fast. A young deaf woman (Susan Strasberg) who can read lips goes to San Francisco looking for her brother (Bruce Dern) who has disappeared and seemingly left society all together. She falls in with a bunch of hippies (led by Jack Nicholson and Dean Stockwell, both way too old even in 1968 to be believable as flower children) and they all decide to look for Dern. Of course Nicholson falls in love with Strasberg and vice versa, but naturally Nicholson believes in free love man and sleeping with many beautiful women that might catch his fancy (real eye rolling material). Stockwell makes himself out to be a medicine man while Nicholson is a would-be rock'n'roll superstar who refuses to conform or follow. Director Richard Rush (a film-maker whose work has always been over-rated in my mind) tries to make a movie to reflect its time period, but really the whole thing is a dud. Nicholson is wasted with the sorry material (as he was throughout the 1960s until his career break with "Easy Rider") and the other people (Dern and Stockwell in particular) are not even around enough to become noteworthy. A forgettable piece from the 1960s. Turkey (0 stars out of 5).
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