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A day in Hollywood, 1972, with young people looking for the 24 hours that will change their lives. Zach will open that night for a British rocker at Whisky a Go-Go; he lives in a canyon and plays impromptu duets with a mysterious guitarist he doesn't see. Tammy is a costume designer, open to quick sex with the various rockers she works with and loved from afar by Michael, a photographer recovering from a case of the clap. His good friend is Felix, a morose, alcoholic songwriter. On hand for comic relief is Marty Shapiro, a fast-talking record producer. Getting ready for the gig at the club, Zach's performance, and the early-morning aftermath comprise the film. Written by
Final film of John Randolph. It was his personal oxygen tank that his character totes around in his scenes. See more »
At the end of the movie when we are told Nick Stahl's character is inducted into the rock 'n' roll hall of fame his name is spelled "Zack". Seconds later in the credits it is spelled "Zach". See more »
After seeing the film for the first time last night, and then reading some of the negative reviews here, the only logical conclusion I can make is this; if you weren't closely involved in that era, in that place, then you probably won't enjoy the film. But if you did, you will love it.
For those who were there, "Sunset Strip" is amazingly accurate, and sometimes painfully so. The male-centric attitude women of that time had to endure from so-called "liberated" men was summed-up perfectly in the scene where Anna Friel's character is summoned - there's no better word for it - by her rock-star idol, and upon arrival at his hotel room, is asked to serve tea by some pompous jerk.
As stated much better than I ever could by "fastfilmhh" in her review of this film, it is a deadly-accurate portrayal of the time, places and attitudes back then, warts and all.
The only error that I found was when one character made reference to "bad 'ludes." While there was certainly bad coke, and bad weed, Quaaludes were far too inexpensive and easily available for anyone to waste their time knocking off fakes, at least in my experience.
But that small mistake was nicely balanced-out by the stage-whispered comment made during a party scene by yet another pompous jerk - there were lots of those back then - alerting a new arrival to the "real party" going on in a closed-to-the-less-than-super-cool back room. That sort of social status selectivity happened at every party ever held back then, and was called "cocaine politics".
The producers obviously took great effort to maintain an accurate portrait of the times, from using and recording actual Fender 'Strats, to only showing three-piece bands on the Whisky's stage, which was a hard and fast rule at that club, unless the band was currently uber-hot.
Sidenote: If you are interested in securing your grand-children's financial security, find and buy an original Fender Stratocaster like the ones used in the film, plus some strings, and place them in a large safe-deposit box. In a hundred years or so, those puppies will be worth their weight in Stradivarius violins.
Some reviews have mentioned the lack of character development in "Sunset Strip", and that is accurate, especially when compared to other film portraying that period, such as "Almost Famous." While I won't pretend to read the writer's and director's minds, I will say that, considering the accuracy of the rest of the production, it could be that they deliberately left the characters shallow because let's face it, ... they (we) all were shallow back then. You needed those high boots to wade through the wall-to-wall pretense. The only difference between the suits and the freaks was that the freaks were freaks on purpose. And just a bit more honest. Sometimes.
Anyway, if you want to watch a living textbook of that place at that time, "Sunset Strip" hits the nail on the head. Just don't say it's far-out and groovy, please, or you won't be invited to the real party.
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