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Emerald Cities (1983)

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Emerald Cities, completing the trilogy, is a story about a young woman who runs off from her Death Valley home to seek her fortune. Her drunken dad still stuck in his Santa suit from the ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Kelly Bowen ...
Liam Cutchins ...
Lowell Darling ...
Debbie Krant ...
Freuda Morris ...
Ed Nylund ...
Arnie Passman ...
Young Santa
Dick Richardson ...
Carolyn Zaremba ...


Emerald Cities, completing the trilogy, is a story about a young woman who runs off from her Death Valley home to seek her fortune. Her drunken dad still stuck in his Santa suit from the local Christmas pagent, follows and soon comes in contact with the "new dark ages" of 1984. Juxtapositions of "on-the street" interviews (by Willie Boy Walker), punk performances by bands Flipper and The Mutants, TV shows of past-life hypnotism and nuclear destruction, and a crazed ex-con all finally intermix with the characters' own sagas. Written by Anonymous

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messy fun
8 December 2007 | by See all my reviews

For a good chunk of its running time, this movie gives proof to Schmidt's low-low-budget advocacy work (he is the author of "Feature Film-making at Used Car Prices" after all, which was a huge boost to my own aspirations). Grainy and grimy and gimmicky and goofy, cut with an incoherence that adds momentum until it finally starts to detract, it's built around such simple elements as a couple funny pals or a weird face mask or a Flipper song or an interview about Santa Claus or Ronald Reagan on TV. But it does have a structure, one that could even be described as narrative if you look at it from the right angle. The sheer goofiness of the whole enterprise plays off the pretentious undertow, kind of a Kenneth Anger meets X thing. It can't keep its plates spinning right to the end, I think the defection of the lead actress halfway through the shoot was a major problem even though the way Schmidt papers this over is pretty endearing. But it's fun and it captures its time and place in a way that I haven't seen before.

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