Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
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The only thing stranger than the fact that this picture has barely been seen anywhere (officially, anyway) is that it was financed by a major studio. "Nothing Last Forever" is not a movie that mainstream '80s moviegoers would have flocked to see. Quite the contrary, if it had been widely released there's absolutely no question that it would have been an epic bomb... which is exactly the appeal.
Filmed mostly in black and white (with a few color sequences), it's simultaneously an homage and a parody of classic films. There are many breathtaking visuals and wonderful performances (from an amazing cast) and the film manages to get stranger as it rolls along, blending shadowy noir with kitschy sci-fi and light drama with heavy farce. As another reviewer pointed out, it's difficult NOT to draw comparisons to Terry Gilliam's "Brazil," which was made on a grander scale but is equally as offbeat, surreal and impossible to accurately describe. In other words, like that film, "Nothing Lasts Forever" is truly a work of art.
Here's hoping MGM will one day give the movie the lavish release that it deserves. While it'll never be a multi-billion-dollar draw, there's definitely a huge cult audience waiting to discover this lost gem.
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It was directed by Tom Schiller, who did short films for Saturday Night Live, and features a surprising cast including Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray (who's great as always), Imogene Coca, Lauren Tom (currently the voice of Amy Wong on "Futurama"), Mort Sahl, Eddie Fisher, Calvert DeForest, and Lawrence Tierny. Everyone in the cast acts as if they were in a "normal" movie.
So if you can find this, it's worth watching. I liked it. Yup. Sure. It was good. Uh-huh. Yeah. Affirmative. Yes-sirree-bob-a-roonie. It was SWELL. Great. Cool. Ginchy. Yup. It was super-duper, superlative, and neat-a-rific. Yup. Sure. It was good. Uh-huh. Yeah. Affirmative. Yes-sirree-bob-a-roonie-doonie-woonie. It was sweet. Great. Cool. Ginchy. Yup. It was phat, super-duper and tip-top. Yup. Sure. It was both pleasant and quality. Uh-huh. Yeah, yup, yes-sirree-bob-a-roonie. It was SWELL. Great. Cool. Ginchy. Yup. It was super-duper, superlative, and neat-a-rific. Did I say that already?
SPOILERS: This Film is A Tale of Adam, A False Piano virtuoso, Who at the Start of the film, Can bear this Heavy weight No More! And, Reveals that He (and the Group He works for) are shysters. After this tumultuous beginning for our Main Character he Sets out on his journey, not knowing what Road Lies before him. Well shortly there in A Kind Hearted soul helps Guide him, to A Proper Path, to Become an Artist! This Leads him to Return to The United States, Specifically New York City, which appears to be the 1930s (which through out this film invokes the mystique of The Golden Age of Cinema). There is a Totalitarian Presence felt as Adam must Supply Papers for A Second time when entering the city. This is where the social commentary Starts to Take off in this Film.
Adam is told he must produce "Art" and bring it to A "Government Art office", within 48 Hours, other wise he will be deported. Shortly There after Adam Stays with his Aunt and Uncle temporarily. Now the Film from now on Screams at us through allegory. We first see this as Adam arrives and we are first introduced to them, while Concordantly we see they are holding A Party. His Aunt, uncle, and their Whole social Class, do nothing but put on heirs. Through the way they Act and Talk, and also through Symbolism within the Film. When we see individuals put on heirs there are either masks, Statues, or Objects behind them which gives the individuals Horns.
Next within the Plot Adam goes to the Government Art Office where they Keep on demanding that he presents Art. Yet, Adam Keeps on telling them that he wants to be an Artist, but currently knows No Art. Well A Supervisor comes by and next thing we know Adam must Take an Art Test, which by the way is to Draw A Nude women in only 3 minutes (Which is Ludicrous)! This is an Absolute Brilliant allegory upon several Areas of society. In One Instance it is talking about how society tries to identify select Few things as Art, which correlates to the Smug, pompous, Elitism that we witnessed moments Prior at the Party with the earlier scene. It is also talking about how in all walks of life, society will try to Label an Individual, to A Set Construct, as to define A Person as A Set thing, rather than defining A Person as the essence which is their inherent being. No Two People are alike so why does Society try to make it that way through Brute force?
Alas he Fails the test (According to Societies Standards) and is Given A Job so he can Stay in the city. The Job by the way is a Cross between a Toll booth/Border Patrol in a Sense. Well here Adam Meets the Women he saw Before, to whom he had to draw Nude, and he Befriends Her. He Joins her after work and goes to an Under Ground Art Area, which is also A Cafe. Well from here on out She becomes his Love interest (Temporarily) while also being A Tutor for him for what Society calls "Art". which Again is A Brilliant Conversation on Society. No One Can Tell You what Art is for it Lies within the Eye of The Beholder. Some People may Love A Certain Piece of Art, or Style, or Type; where as others will absolutely Hate it. Technically all inner Artistic expressions of Man is Art! No One can say it is Not! Now for the film to have Adam become an Artist, by repeating what others do, and going by what others say is an Incredibly Deep and Intelligent Joke.
Through Out the Film Adam Does Acts of kindness which eventually leads him to A Secret Society. Which when he once First Enters the film Slowly becomes Color. This is to signify that he is Getting A New Great Understanding. Now The Film Brilliantly shifts things and At First Glance it appears that this group is actually an occult at Face value, that is until Adam Goes into The Inner Sanctum. We Find out that he has entered A Spiritual Plane and that Vile, Carnal desires of the Physical plane had to be Burned off to purify him. He is then Told that the people there are spiritual helpers who help guide people on The Right Path. For Man is like a Lost Child who Pursues Power, Money, and things that do not matter. Which Speaks Volumes for Societies come and Go over Time, again, and again. Which now is an Intelligent Play on The Title of the Film.
We Basically Learn that All Life is Important, and that Materialism is A Total Waste. Next we Find Out that Adam Has A True Love, who lives on The Moon. So Basically the Film is saying, "Life may not Go as how we have Planned, but if we do that which is right, we will have A Wonderful Life! Yes... that which is most Important, Love, May appear to be as far as away as the moon, but if we are Good, and have Faith, Love will help Guide us, it will Lead us, and above all else Give us that which is most Important of All, True Love".
I had never heard of this film until I saw it on TV last night. Someone rightfully decided to bury this piece of junk, and it should have stayed buried. It's not the worst film ever made, but it's hard to imagine that, somewhere along the line, the people who worked on it didn't stop to realize they were laboring over mediocrity.