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James A. Watson Jr.
This is the kind of movie that only could have been made in the 1970's in that its HERO is a drug trafficker (albeit, also attending Harvard Law School), yet rather being a morality tale, it's actually a love story! The casually amoral attitude towards drugs and drug-dealing and the low-budget 70's counterculture vibe makes it somewhat similar to "Easy Rider" (many forget that the anti-heroes in that movie finance their motorcycle trip across America with a big cocaine deal). Unlike "Easy Rider" however, this is not an iconic touchstone for what over the next 40 years would become the Most Annoying Generation (i.e. the Baby Boomers), so it's easier to appreciate this movie based on its own, admittedly flawed, merits. The beginning of this movie is kind of like "Easy Rider" in that it seems to not only be about people who smoke a lot of dope, but also made BY people who were smoking a lot of dope. About halfway through though it turns into a pretty decent counterculture crime drama.
A Harvard law student (Robert Lyons) is sent from Boston to San Francisco to smuggle back a shipment of dope. There he falls in love with an uninhibited young girl (Barbara Hershey). Back in Boston, he convinces the campus drug dealer (John Lithgow) who sent him to have the girl bring out another shipment, so he can see her again. She ends up getting busted, but the pair realize that half the load was apparently pinched by a corrupt cop (Charles Durning), so they plot to steal it back from some Cubans he sold it to. Unfortunately, complications arise when they accidentally steal $80,000 in heroin as well as the $4,000 in dope. . .
Robert Lyons was a semi-successful movie actor at the time (at least in weird counter-culture flicks like this and "The Todd Killings"), even if he's mostly a television actor now. He's a little stiff at times but generally functional as the lead. John Lithgow, in one of his earliest roles, is great as a fey Harvard theater director who is also the major campus drug supplier. The love story in the middle of all this would be pretty far-fetched if the girl in question were not played by uber-sexy Barbara Hershey, who was THE quintessential early 70's hippie chick. And right behind her in the quintessential early hippie chick race was Joy Bang, who is also in the cast as Lithgow's tough-as-nails girlfriend and financial partner. Good cast. Decent movie. Check it out.
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