Nothing Lasts Forever (1984) Poster

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A Homeless Man Told Me All The Secrets Of The Universe Today!
Joseph Sylvers28 April 2009
Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame, stars in this strange lost film, from a former SNL writer, Tim Schiller, in the 80's. This was produced by Lorne Micheals, and features cameos from Dan Akroyd as a Holland Tunnel inspector (who uses the only instance of profanity, this movie is PG) and Bill Murray as the villainous Captain of an interstellar bus which transports the elderly to the moon. Galligan is a young man whose been abroad for years, and returned home only to find that the New York Port Authority has seized control of the city, due to traffic problems. Galligan is a naive but kindly upstart who knows only that he wants to be an artist. After failing the mandatory "art test" used to determine, who is an artist and who isn't, he is forced to work at the Holland Tunnel with Akroyd, but not for too long, as he meets a fellow artist, falls in love and is taken through a short montage of the new york art world. The setting is essentially timeless, at one point, it suggests the thirties, at another they mention the 50's as part of the past, and at one brief moment, there's a strong hint of 80's, but the film is shot in black and white mostly, and made to resemble a science fiction from an earlyish period from the last century, 30's, 40's??? The plot takes a few turns from here which are surprising and fantastical and not to give away too much, but unfortunately since this movie has NEVER been released on home video or DVD(and doesn't seem likely too), I'll give a way a little more of what's to come...New York as you know it may be an illusion, the homeless are the secret masters of the city and possibly more, and the elderly have been taking routine bus trips to the moon since the 50's, they have chips in their heads which make them say "Miami" every time they even think the word "Moon", so they can't tell anyone. All of these plot elements are told with a matter of factness and a touching sweetness, at no point does this film become cynical, mean, perverse, or pretentious (not something most films as rare and surreal as this can claim). Others have rightly compared it to both Terry Gilliam and Woodey Allen at their most fanciful, but there's a sweetness to this, which gives it a charm all of its own. It's completely unique, very clever, and unusually heartwarming. See it by any means necessary, and as the secret society of bums commands,"Fear not, love all".
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A completely surreal lost oddity
VinnieRattolle29 April 2011
A wide-eyed young man (Zach Galligan) arrives in New York with aspirations of becoming an artist. Once inside the confines of the city (which is VERY confined in this totalitarian society) he's prepped to become a working stiff, but an eccentric homeless person whom he has been overly generous to eventually guides the boy to his true fate.

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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An extraordinary film, neglected
drrap14 July 2014
Since a version of this film was "leaked" - if that's the right term -- to YouTube a few days ago, it's had a second life worthy of the film's own protagonist, liberated from a job yelling at bad drivers in the Holland Tunnel to a bravura performance at Carnegie Hall. There have been many evocative or pastiche films of the classic era -- Woody Allen's Purple Rose of Cairo, Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, or Gary Ross's Pleasantville -- but none has more vividly, sweetly, and yet ironically invoked the magic of the movies as has this film. Don't be distracted by the Dan Ackroyd or Bill Murray cameos (fun as they are): keep your eye on the veterans, who've been in more films than you can count, and who bring their considerable powers to bear here: Sam Jaffe (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Bedknobs and Broomsticks); Paul Rogers (Billy Budd, The Homecoming) and the incomparable Imogene Coca, all part of a secret underground league of New York artists who seek to aid any who will give their all, unreservedly, to the cause of art. This film deserves an immediate DVD/BluRay release -- one can only imagine how richly it will shine -- and shame on MGM, Turner, Warner, and all who have kept this gem in their dark, dim, Gollum-like cavern of oblivion.
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Weird And Wonderful
Profess Abronsi9 February 2001
A truly bizarre film, but all the more entertaining because of it. Starts off in the style of a 1930s science fiction, and just seems to get stranger and stranger. I particularly liked the guided tour of the lunar surface for the paying tourists who laughed when their guide made a comment on the crashed Soviet probe she drew their attention to. The idea of native "moon people" (who look like native Hawaiians), also being another nice touch. Obviously, there was a very creative mind at work here.
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A charming and engaging comic fantasy
barfly9919 May 1999
It is rare that you find a film that is truly unique, but NOTHING LASTS FOREVER is one of those films. It looks at times like a 'thirties romance, at others like a 'fifties B-movie, but plays like neither. Clever, witty dialogue is spiced up with pretty songs, and Zach Galligan is surprisingly likeable as the aspiring artist in a surreal New York. Although in many ways a slight and insubstantial film, its gentle, off-the-wall charm makes it a quite unforgettable viewing experience. After all, how many other films have you seen recently featuring an Hawaiian dance routine set on the moon?
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A friendlier version of "Brazil"
ubercommando9 February 2004
This movie shares some similarities with Terry Gilliam's "Brazil". The mixing of 1930's and 1980's, the totalitarian state that pretends to be caring, a mix of freaky supporting characters and subtext behind every shot and concept. But Nothing Lasts Forever is lighter and more optimistic in tone and a modern (ish) fairy tale of searching for one's talent and purpose. The concepts of the Manhattan Port Authority taking control of New York, underground Angels, going shopping on the Moon in a bus and Bauhaus German techno artists in a mock 30's setting all show great creativity and originality; often missing in a lot of American comedies. And it also works the soundtrack (a mix of original and classical music) into the story extremely well.
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Forgotten Films
Murat Bekar16 September 2014
Never officially released, neither theatrically nor on home media, Tom Schiller's surreal science fiction fantasy Nothing Lasts Forever stars Zach Galligan as an eager young artist struggling to find his creative outlet in a New York City under the tyrannical rule of the Port Authority. Shot in black and white (for the most part) and with the sound recorded in mono, the film replicates the Classical Hollywood style of the late '30s and early '40s to create a dreamlike work that, had it been made during the indie boom of the '90s, would have easily found a cult following. Featuring strong supporting work from the likes of Dan Aykroyd, Lauren Tom, Apollonia van Ravenstein and Bill Murray – not to mention a midpoint shift in narrative that will leave an unsuspecting viewer reeling – Nothing Last Forever is an oddity of a film, perhaps too unusual for its time, that deserves, at the very least, a proper worldwide release. Movie And TV Database
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Not even cold November rain?
zmaturin22 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of those neat little movies that I had never heard of, but when I saw it I knew it was something special, like "Forbidden Zone", "The Big Crime Wave", or "The Projectionist". It's one of those movies that must be experienced as it's full of weird surprises, odd tangents, and imaginative details. It starts out like a perfect imitation of an old 1950s black and white movie, and I might have thought it was if not for the presence of a fresh-off-of-Gremlins Zach Galligan. It blends old stock footage with new stuff seamlessly, and slowly gets more and more strange, until the film starts fading in between B&W and color as Galligan discovers a secret society under New York City and ends up being sent to the moon to find his true love.

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?
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Awful fantasy comedy that fails in every respect.
fedor87 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Fortunately this film doesn't last forever, either. An aspiring "artist" gets to become one when he proves to some (semi-) imaginary underworld hobo-society that he is capable of falling in love with an Asian girl that lives on the moon and does a bit of a hula-hula greeting dance for the geriatric Earth visitors. Sound stupid? It is. This ridiculous mess has maybe one funny moment, the rest consists of boring musical numbers and pointless dialog. The aim was originality, yet manages only to be dull. They tried to create an old-movie feel to it by using a more traditionally-oriented instrumental soundtrack, which is a lot better than the tiresome songs. It also tries to create an old flair by having a wide-eyed, innocent male lead. Excuse me, but how does that image fit in with the scene where he is shown humping the German girl? I hardly think Capra's films would have had the same impact on the viewers if Gary Cooper had been shown being ridden by his female co-stars. (Or that famous scene in "Gone With the Wind": imagine if Gable were coming inside Leigh and she complained about not getting an orgasm, to which he responds "Frankly, dear, I don't give a f***".) And what's with the b&w/colour transition? It makes no sense at all. This film is an example of what happens when a TV producer tries his hand on a feature film. Ackroyd (in a tiny role) and Murray (in a small role) can't help this time-waster, either.
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A Brilliant Master Piece!
draverd28 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Wow! This Film is A Classic that should be in the Hall of Cinema Masterpieces! I think the best way to describe this Film is to say that it is A Parable, wrapped in an Allegory, that is stuffed into an Enigma. At face Value one could Assume that this Film is Droll, but we must dig Deeper to what Lies Beyond the Surface. That being said, if you Love Cinema & Film, watch this Movie Now! Do Not read any reviews that can Contain Spoilers because that could quite possibly Rob You of this wonderful experience.

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".
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Mainly for fans of bizarre cinema
Wizard-819 January 2015
I had wanted to see this movie for years, but until just recently it was next to impossible to see, never getting an official release. But it finally popped on TV, and I made sure to record and watch it. After seeing it, I can only say, "Strange... very strange..." Note that I didn't say it's an *awful* movie. The production design is very good, managing to capture the look and feel of movies made forty or so years earlier. And it's so offbeat that you can't help but be curious enough to stick with it in order to see how things will work out. But the problem is that the movie concentrates more on being strange than working to have strong characters and a solid story. Eventually I got somewhat tired of the movie. But if you are a fan of strange major Hollywood studio movies, it is definitely a must see. And it's unlikely a movie like this would get made today by a major Hollywood studio, so you might want to grab the chance to see this rarity.
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Just as pointless and meandering as One From The Heart
bregund4 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What is it about the 1980s and really bad films? This cinematic misfire manages to ignore all the implied requirements of good filmmaking such as plot, decent acting, a cohesive storyline, and believable characters. The main problem with this movie is that it doesn't know what it wants to be: is it a dystopian future, a satire about consumerism, an allegory about capitalism, a fractured romance, a cautionary fable about oppressive government oversight, a musical? It tries and fails to be any of these things. Dan Akroyd appears for about two minutes of welcome comic relief. Bill Murray's role is a little more substantial, but not enough to rise above the cheap special effects or ultimate pointlessness of the trip to the moon so the seniors can buy things. See, when you push satire on an audience, you need to nurture relatable elements and draw them as broad allegories with which the viewer can connect; excellent writing can accomplish this, even with the obviously limited budget of a film like this; Terry Gilliam knows how to do this with films such as Brazil, my go-to example for an effective presentation of dystopia. We can connect with Sam because he's caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare. In Nothing Lasts Forever, we're given a never-ending parade of disconnected elements that don't form a cohesive whole or relate to anything. On top of all that, Zach Galligan's limited range renders an unconvincing hero, one who, by the way, doesn't learn anything other than how to play the piano. Yes, you read that right, that's the whole point of this film. He learns to play the piano.

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.
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