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From the writer of LOVE STORY comes another somber slice of downbeat romance as a man looking for love gets mixed up with a selfish and free-spirited blond hippy-chick junkie. It starts with her already dead and we look back on how they met and her mental decline to the inevitable overdose on heroin. The guy hides her body in his piano and then his car trunk until he can figure out a way to get rid of it. There's potential here for some dark humor but it's never really exploited as the film stays on its tragic trajectory to an ending that at least does bring closure to the story. The film has a slow deliberate pace which makes this film really boring because who cares about these people, especially the girl. The best part was an early appearance by Robert De Niro as a high-strung gypsy taxi driver which is about as far removed from Travis Bickle as you can get. See it if you love obscure counterculture cinema of the late 60s/early 70s.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Michael Brandon and Tippy Walker play a couple of rich, apathetic morons who meet in Venice, smoke grass, have sex and then hook up in New York at a later date, at which time Walker has moved on to shooting up heroin and walking on the ledges and precipices of high places, but isn't worried about breaking her neck because "I have no neck." This is one of those post-sixties burnout movies that should be avoided at all costs unless you are, like me, inexplicably drawn to post-sixties burnout movies, in which case you'll want to give this one a shot. Just don't expect anything resembling a good movie. And director Noel Black's wacko editing style does little other than reveal that he's seen too many Godard movies; he even throws in a "Weekend"-like car accident, in the movie's most berserk moment, when Brandon is being terrorized by junkie hippies hurtling after him in a hearse-like car painted in the colours of the American flag.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's a paradox in some bad 70's drug movies that, in the end, what
seemed fun turned out to be just a bad trip.
Antonioni failed with Zabriskie Point, which began with political conviction but turned into a pointless odyssey. The star of that movie was so identical to his character that he left Hollywood, joined a cult, robbed a bank and died in prison just a few years after the film.
Jennifer On My Mind could be described as an "enjoyable flop." The most disappointing thing is its potential, how it lures you in to the 1971 scene but goes nowhere.
It's an attractive film, well shot in some nice European and Long Island locations, with a hauntingly beautiful theme and a couple very good actors. Intelligent, interesting actors who, unfortunately have to walk through this journey with nothing to do in their life and nothing to tell us except they have all this money and are just going waste their lives.
With rival films like Easy Rider and The Panic In Needle Park, the characters knew they were in deep trouble, but they were helpless and desperate. They reached a point of no return, so we watched sadly, knowing it would end.
Jennifer On My Mind has a happy feeling. It could have been a romantic comedy. It doesn't have a sad or depressing vibe to it. Jennifer & Marcus are smart, upscale kids who could easily be in a graduate program at NYU. They smoke a little pot, but in the context of traveling the world and talking like civilized, educated adults, that's not even an issue. They are not street addicts in the slums, they are sophisticated, classy people.
There is no sign of drug addiction from them or their families. The movie just throws that in because that was the scene at the time. Marcus goes to a drug dealer to buy some hash for Jennifer's birthday. It's funny a scene with the dealer pulling an entire pharmacy out of his refrigerator.
Another hysterical scene follows, as Marcus, stumbling wasted through New York escapes a couple thugs following him, into a taxi driven by a very young up & coming Robert De Niro. In his 40+ year career, I've never seen De Niro as funny as in this brief 10-minute scene. He takes Marcus to Jennifer's house, where she is being entertained by two musicians. As Marcus approaches, they give her a shot of heroin. Are we supposed to presume and believe in the short time they separated, she became a junkie? There was no plot to suggest that.
She comes to visit him one day and it appears to be a happy reunion. But out of nowhere she begins screaming & freaking out. When he goes to check, she is cooking some heroin, then walks on top the wall of the deck, outside his high-rise apartment. This leads him to throw her in his car & take off. And in a final bizarre scene, some crazy motorists on the interstate decide to terrorize him & run him off the road. The movie literally crashes & burns.
I can imagine the Steppenwolf song "Snowblind Friend" playing in the background. The epitome of the drug generation, that song is a tale of an old friend who got in with a bad crowd, became an addict & slowly demised. It would have been a perfect addition.
Jennifer was played by a beautiful, smart, sexy actress named Tippy Walker, who had a short career, and quit acting after this film. Why? Turn on, tune in, and drop out, I guess.
Tippy Walker and Michael Brandon were very convincing as young trust fund loafers who meet and fall in love. Jennifer is irresistible and she knows it, leading Marcus on and always leaving him. But he's attracted to her and keeps coming back. Anyone who was young in 1971 knows that girls like Jennifer really did exist...beautiful and teasing but noncommittal. Secrets .....secrets that forced them to live a clandestine life filled with sadness, wanting to break free, but ultimately chained to addiction.Marcus is so in love and wants everything to work out, but Jennifer is a user. Just a sad and powerful statement of he rampant drug culture that destroyed so many young lives back then.Sadly, Tippy Walker bowed out of acting after this film...a shame, because she turned out a powerful performance here. Actors have won Oscars for less.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jennifer on My Mind is a black comedy film that was adapted from the
novel Heir,written by Roger L.Simon.It stars Michael Brandon and Tippy
Walker together with Robert De Niro. It tells a story of a young woman
named Jennifer,who left New York to visit Venice.He falls in love with
a young man.This led them to using drugs and Jennifer dies because of
it in the end upon returning to the Big Apple.
Too bad that this is nothing but a thinly written movie about the effects of drugs and how one got introduced to it in a romantic relationship.It simply showed how one life is destroyed particularly in a time when it became "the thing" during its release back in the 70's.The only thing that makes this relevant is the presence of De Niro,who remains popular at present.
Jennifer on My Mind (1971)
BOMB (out of 4)
Rich boy Marcus (Michael Brandon) meets rich hippie chick Jennifer (Tippy Walker) on a trip in Italy and follows her back to America where she's constantly wanting him to get her weed. We're told all of this in flashbacks because in the current time Jennifer has died and Marcus is trying to figure out a way to get rid of her body. When then go back to the flashbacks to see Jennifer dump, disrespect and humiliate Marcus at every chance she gets. United Artist was apparently so embarrassed by this movie that the ended up cutting out fifteen-minutes worth of additional footage including some of Kim Hunter. It's also clear that the studio was embarrassed by this thing because for nearly forty-years it was impossible to see as it never had a VHS, Laserdisc or DVD release but thankfully MGM finally put it on Netflix just so people can see that the film's horrid reputation was deserved. I'm really not sure where to start on this thing because every single second is a complete disaster and for the life of me I can't understand what they were trying to do with this thing. The screenplay is without question one of the worst I've ever had the misfortune of seeing because the thing jumps around so much that you have to wonder why. Even stranger is why on Earth they have Marcus head over heels with this girl when there's never a single reason for him to care about her. They really don't have any relationship outside her treating him bad and the screenplay never makes it clear why he keeps going after her. The screenplay also doesn't know if it wants to be a comedy or drama because one second drugs are cool and then the next they're bad. One second you have some sort of fake love story trying to be told and then you get comedy adventures of Marcus trying to get rid of the body. One of these adventures includes him being attacked by Hells' Angels and another has a group of rednecks running him off the road. Brandon seems lost for the majority of the running time and Walker doesn't do much better. Her heroin fit towards the end of the movie is extremely poor and almost seems like an outtake from some of those drug movies of the 30s. I had been wanting to watch this movie for a good two decades now because of Robert DeNiro playing a Gypsy taxi driver. He's only in the film for a few minutes but there's no doubt that his steals the film and actually delivers a rather funny performance. Barry Bostwick and Jeff Conaway have small roles as well. JENNIFER ON MY MIND is without question one of the worst films of the decade but at the same time it's almost a must-see just for how bad it is. Fans of DeNiro will certainly want to see his pre-Scorsese trip in the taxi as it's the only thing that saves this from being one of the worst of all time.
I first saw this film in a theatre as a teenager and recalled it as perhaps the worst movie I'd ever seen. It was on TMC a few days ago, so I watched again to give it a second chance. I wanted to see if it WAS truly hideous or if it was just a teenage opinion that I'd outgrown. The movie is basically unwatchable, it is unbelievably atrocious! In some societies in might be termed cruel and unusual punishment! However, I do have to give credit to the cinematography, which was very interesting. That would've been something I would've never noticed as a teen. This movie should be viewed only with the sound off!
Yet another of the myriad early 1970s films about drugs.
The movie itself is pretty bad, but remains a curio due to its elusive nature (never released on video in the U.S.) and for the presence of Robert De Niro, in the small, prophetic role as the "gypsy cab driver".
*1/2 out of ****
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