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ok... the review listed here already is pretty accurate and explains the
mechanics of the film... a couple things id like to mention
i saw this one night and it totally blew me away... i was really bored and i thought i might as well sit through it... it reminded me of some other really lousy movies that might get shown at like noon on a sunday on the local station that only ever shows reruns... it has this painfully stupid song which is like this rock/country 70s type junk which completely fuels and drives the film... it repeats at least 3 or 4 times, and the most "exciting" moments of the film are arranged to it... its as bad a catchy theme song could ever be and has some twangy hicks singing "pinball... pinball...". the character described as the "whale" dances (whilst playing pinball) and seems possesed by this song and pretty much LIVES to hear it...
but beyond that... it was deep. brooke shields' performance was adequate for like the 9 or 10 year old girl she is... but its not really HOW she acted... its WHAT she seemed to be... if i may quote twin peaks... "the owls are not what they seem".
the relationship between her and the budding musician she attempts to save (like some sort of ethereal spirit or angel come to help) is very strange... he is like a little puppy to her and i think he bursts out crying to her at some point...
she uses her incredibly pinball skills in a battle against the "whale"... (of course to the tune of "pinball... pinball...") afterwards, when he tries to compliment her on being a good little lady or something... it was so creepy... she stares at him and slowly and sternly says "im NOT a little lady"...
i ended up shaking my head at the theme song but i was just blown away... ive wanted to show this movie to some other people... it really tried to make some sort of statement... and since it really felt like it was aimed at little kids i was just blown away at what i THOUGHT was going on...
look for it... you might hate it in 20 sec... but i really believe that things are NOT what they seem in the "tilt" universe...
made me wanna read moby dick...
Brooke Shields in a slightly awkward phase (she never did go through the braces-and-glasses thing, but she's a skinny smartass here and for her that's awkward enough). Her pinball wizardry catches the eye of a con-man and together they take on all-comers. Critics at the time singled out Charles Durning's performance as if he were the Second Coming; truth is, his role as the all-time pinball champion hits the picture a little too late in the game. It has already exhausted us with its low-rent production and aimless plot line. I did think Brooke showed some spunk here, but she's no Kristy McNichol (who might have elevated this to a somewhat substantial level, or at least given it some different shadings). As it is, "Tilt" is a dim bulb. *1/2 from ****
One of the many things I miss about the late 70's is that the kid's
movies back then we're often completely inappropriate for children.
Maybe it was because our irresponsible parents were off snorting coke
at discos or having wife-swapping "key" parties, and they just didn't
care what the hell we were watching when they gave us three bucks and
sent us down to the local cinema. Still, if I had to choose between
that kind of parental neglect and having the kind of modern-day
"helicopter" parent who insist on going to movies with their kids or
calling them right after on their GPS-tracked cellphones to "discuss"
whatever they've just seen, I'm afraid I'd choose the late 70's any
day. But I digress. . .
Brooke Shields was famous when she was young for appearing in movies that were usually not appropriate for someone her age to see. A lot of these movies really sexualized her, especially the more "respectable" ones like "Pretty Baby" and "The Blue Lagoon". This one doesn't do that at least; it's much more weird. Thirteen-year-old Brooke plays a runaway, but she doesn't resort to prostitution or drugs like a normal runaway, no, she's a pinball hustler. She hooks up with an older guy, who was also once a pinball hustler, but is now a (very bad) country singer. They hatch a scheme to finance his music career through pinball hustling, but they make a detour back to his hometown of New Orleans in order to try take on his old nemesis, an overweight hustler called "the Whale" (Charles Durning).
First off, pinball hustling?!--c'mon. Who the hell ever heard of that? The plot is stupid, the music is bad, the acting, generally, is horrid (even Brooke Shields looks good relatively). But Charles Durning gives a performance that is WAY too good for this movie, and the twist his grossly overweight crime-boss type character takes at the end is very interesting. The screenplay was actually written by talented Hollywood maverick Donald Cammell (who was actually English), and it occasionally shows through the incompetent directing of Rudy Durand and the terrible acting of pretty much everyone but Durning. And lest you think this movie might be too appropriate for children, there are scenes like the one where one of my favorite 70's character actors, Geoffrey Lewis (sidekick of Clint Eastwood/father of Juliette), shows up as a horny trucker who picks up a hitchhiking Brooke and hits on her, but then gets offended and calls her a "prevert" when she facetiously offers to do a three-way with his wife! This is by no means good, but they literally do not make movies like this anymore, only in that much more morally confused--but much more honest-- time called the 1970's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie could have been a lot better with a lot less Charles Durning. He's a great actor but his character should have been edited down some. It was as if the indie filmmaker was so happy to have a very talented "heavy" (literal and otherwise referring to a bad guy) appear in his film that he had to devote a lot of screen time to him. (He had extra weight added to his already large girth and seemed like he was trying to emulate the Orson Welles character in "Touch of Evil".) (Durning's put-on accent was almost exactly the same as "Doc Hopper" in "The Muppet Movie".) More should have been focused on Brooke Shield's character, "Tilt", a rebellious young girl who is very good at pinball. Although I don't think she has a very fitting nickname; calling a pinball champion "Tilt" is like calling a football player "Clip", isn't it? But nonetheless, this movie was wasted on long bouts of dialog between Durning and Shields, and Durning and Ken Marshall who plays a young musician who uses Tilt to save up money for a demo. Also there was too much time wasted on Marshall's character as he and a very bad acting buddy try swindling people until they meet their prodigy pinball queen who can help them rake up dough by means of hustling; the hustling scenes were good but there should have been more of them. All in all this is a so-so little movie, relaxing to watch on an afternoon when you don't have to work. I bought the VHS and I don't know if I'll ever watch it again but it was okay while it lasted. I guess what I'm trying to say is the film lived up to the name. It was alright for a while, and then just kind of... titled.
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