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And you're right, nobody even knows about it. A film that's content was way before its time. Ron Leibman has never been better, as a conniving fast talker, who has had enough with society, and decides it is his turn to get even. Beau Bridges does a nice job as well, but it's Leibman who steals the show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** In this funny little world in which we
all live everyone chooses to what extent they will react, conform, or
resist. "Your Three Minutes Are Up" shows us two very different
characters: there is Charlie, who tends to conform to society's
pressure and the pressure put upon him by his job, his fiancé, and his
friends; and there is Mike, who resists everything displeasing to him
such as his job, romantic commitments, and bill collectors. "Your Three
Minutes Are Up" shows us what happens when these two men are placed
together and how the more submissive of the two attempts to imitate the
Ron Leibman is Mike, an easy going ladies man who is bright enough to make the most out of modest scams whenever they present themselves, but without the forethought or concern to plan for the future, which may or may not be a character flaw. Beau Bridges plays Charlie, who is nearly the exact opposite as a man whose only thought of the future involve the bills he must pay, the woman he must marry, and the job he must keep. He appears to envy Mike's carefree attitudes and romantic success, but can he resist a lifetime of conforming long enough to have a good time on this movie's road trip?
The beginning of the film shows Mike losing hold of his financial grip as his car is repo'd, his unemployment insurance is cancelled because he went to an interview in a bath robe (as described by his benefits case worker, not actually shown), and his money has run out. He calls an ex-coworker with whom he has nothing in common, but who has a car, and persuades him to go for a ride that turns into a weekend road trip.
Charlie is the kind of guy who can't say 'no' to anyone unless it's because someone else has told him to do so. Allured by Mike's tall tales of romance and good times and the chance to breathe free from his burdens for even a minute, Charlie acquiesces, and off they go. Their first stop is something that the younger viewers might not remember--a green stamp redemption center where Mike makes a stand against a stubborn clerk who insists that six twelfths is not the same as one half. It's just another in a long series of petty scams for Mike, strictly small time for him, but it's like a magic potion for Charlie to do something against the rules. Only such a strict conformist as Charlie could get so much pleasure from copping a toaster oven.
So it goes for Mike and Charlie during their little road trip. Mike shows Charlie how to get by on the simplest grift, but as Charlie's inhibitions to obeying the law, the rules, and all the signposts along society's streets are released, he seems to have an extreme reaction to his newfound freedom. Mike knows how to play the angle just right and squeeze every ounce of cash from each opportunity, but Charlie can't understand the subtleties of the game. For him it's either blind obedience or, eventually, blind aggression.
In addition to being the title, "Your Three Minutes Are Up" is a line from within the film that comes to symbolize Charlie's need to be told what to do and when to do it. When his three minutes of freedom are up and he has to choose what path to take, his true character is revealed.
Ron Leibman is fantastic in this movie as a fast-talking scam artist who can lie, flatter, or rebuke with eloquence. Not available through normal channels on VHS, but several specialty shops have it for sale. Otherwise, watch the late night listings and set your VCR. This is one of the best movies from its period.
Very low budget film that looks like a tv movie with a supporting cast that can best be described as 'stock characters'. Bridges fiancee (played by Janet Margolin) is particularly annoying. However, despite these drawbacks, it's the two main characters and their interactions with each other that make this film so interesting. Both represent the different ends of the american spectrum. Leibman is the free spirit who goes through life like it's just one big party. Yet he has no job and mounting debt. Bridges is the responsible one with a decent job and a beautiful fiancee. Yet he feels shackled and bored. Together they try to escape themselves by going on a long carefree trip. Slowly the trip begins to unravel, exposing the thin line that is out there, and how everyone and everything has their limits. A rather caustic view of the EASY RIDER syndrome in this good, but not great, movie.
This appears to have been some kind of "homemade" movie, one of many to come
from this period. (Like the 90s, everyone was making a movie in the 70s.)
The sound and some of the editing is very crude. Other than that, this is a
really good movie! It's not really a comedy, more like a drama with plenty
of (light) comic moments. The characters are very interesting in what they
do and say. Even if you dislike talky philosophical arty movies, like I
usually do, I think you'll enjoy this. The movie also gives us a great taste
of what the 70s were like.
This movie isn't available on video, and is only rarely screened on TV, so keep your eyes open for it, because you might not get a second chance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been wanting to see this again for years! I saw this in British TV
once when I was quite young (10 maybe? The early '80s in any case) and
I've barely even heard of it since (I found it listed in Leonard
Maltin's book, finally found it mentioned on the 'net). It really stuck
with me, I don't know why. It seemed to carry a message, but it was
hard to verbalise what it was exactly. If anybody has any ideas as to
how I might ever see this film again, I'd be happy to hear from them.
It's so long since I saw it, and I was so young, my judgement may be
clouded, but I'm sure it would still hold up as a great film if I saw
it again today.
I ticked the 'spoiler' box, because one thing that I wanted to say was - what sticks in my memory is the very downbeat ending, which I realised later was a kind of vogue at that time, established by 'Easy Rider' and continued in other films such as 'Electra Glide In Blue'. Even now it still feels odd to see a film with an unhappy ending, I think it's a natural impulse for filmmakers to tie things up nicely at the end. Funnily, the other thing that I remember is a scene in a motel where the two guys have some good-time gals drinking with them and are putting ice-cubes down the front of their dresses (!)
I usually only comment on (A)my favorite relatively unknown movies, or (B)movies that are vastly overrated, or (C)good movies that receive no press or bad reviews. "Why that happens who knows?" I first caught Your Three Minutes Are Up (1973) like I caught most of my older movies on late night television about 10 years ago. The Film stars Beau Bridges as sad sack Charlie who is about to get married and is starting to feel the world close in on him. But where the movie really starts to shine is when Ron Leibman as the wiseguy Mike shows up. Mike is the old friend that when you get married you tend to lose as a friend because the wife considers him a bad influence. A film containing alot of comedy but still has drama sprinkled throughout. Overall a great movie especially if you are a guy. The movie is probably out of print on VHS and has not been released to DVD. I would love to see the uncut R rated version of this on DVD. Hopefully someday those studio heads will figure out what good films are.
I saw this in a small theater in Germany while in the Service. Liebman
looked and acted like a porn star. He had the better lines. Bridges was
a Caspar Milquetoast character. He let the other characters get him
I remember just two scenes. One was a scene where Liebman acted outraged because a clerk would not help him. Another reviewer said it was an S&H Green Stamps office. I would have said unemployment office. Liebman stood in a crowded room and berated the clerk. When he finished, the others in the room cheered him. But his speech was dreck. He was wrong in what he wanted. His speech was meant to show that he was the champion of the downtrodden, but it came off very poorly.
The other scene was set in the morning after a party. A gorgeous woman is pulling on her very tight jeans. After that excellent shot, she approaches Bridges, kisses him, and then leaves. Bridges turns to Liebman and asks, "Did I sleep with her?" Liebman replies, "No. Yes. I don't know." Liebman was great in that scene.
I'm off to YouTube to see if they have that scene. She has to be in her 60s now, but I wouldn't mind seeing those jeans again.
Your three minutes are up (referring to a warning from telephone operator) is a true hidden gem. The story of two friends, one straight and square, trapped in a projected lifestyle with nothing to hope for in the future but material possessions, mortgages and wife that will make sure his life doesn't derail from that track,(as Ron Liebman's character said, "you'll be shooting hippies on sight") and the other,communicative, "don't think about tomorrow and have as much fun as you can" kind of guy, played beautifully by Ron Liebman, is both funny and sad, both entertaining and thought provoking, and the two leads, Bridges and Liebman give a fabulous performance. Both of them envy the life of another, and both are trying to escape from their own life by taking a road trip into "the great wide open", finding that there really is no escape. This film will cheer you up, and make you think about what the real point in life is, and after it ends, you'll be sitting in front of the TV for a while. It's hard to get, but that's what "hidden gem" means. Complaints about editing and stuff are from those who never watched or dislike the movies that were made before nowadays, when movies are all about editing or effects, and no story, especially the one that has any real human emotions in it. Films like this they just don't make anymore. Track down and enjoy!
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