Serial Film Details
Overview: It’s the end of the 1970s. Hippies are assimilating, women are raising their consciousness, and men are becoming confused and ineffectual. Don’t expect to be able to keep track of all the …
Tagline: “Honor thy wife, and everyone else’s.”
Review: My distinct recollection of this film is that it was released without any publicity on a Friday and, within a week, sank like a stone. And deservedly so, because the film is an insult to Cyra MacFadden’s edgy, perfectly realized novel, sort of like having Thomas Kincaid paint his version of the Mona Lisa. The film’s screenwriter and director are justifiably angry at the 70s, which ushered in brilliant films like Chinatown and Nashville, rendering their brand of tripe–which shovels innuendos onto a tinny, schmaltzy soundtrack–completely irrelevant. MacFadden’s novel satirized the consciousness-raising culture but wasn’t particularly nostalgic about the past. The movie, on the other hand, really seems to hate all it surveys, which is why so many of its gags land with a thud. A little boy is given a doll to play with called “Gay Bruce” which comes with its own closet. That might merit a smirk or two, but the follow-up is having the kid explain why he no longer has the doll: “I killed it because it was a faggot.” That wasn’t all that funny in the late 70’s, and now, following the AIDs epidemic and the murder of Matthew Shepard, it’s positively stomach-turning. The film piles on even more gay-bashing at the end, but we barely notice it because of the insistent message that everything new is bad: all therapists are mercenary charlatans, all hippies are slobs or sluts, all spirituality is bunk. A cult is a cult is a cult, whether it’s Synanon (satirized in the film) or psychotherapy. It’s designed to make folks in the fly-over country (of which I am one) feel vastly superior to those wacko Californians. Woody Allen had already done this with much greater flair and economy in “Annie Hall,” when he had a panicked Jeff Goldblum announce, “I think I lost my mantra.” So what else is new? Well, apart from inadvertently capturing the Angry White Guy zeitgeist that swept Reagan into office, the film also demonstrates what happens when TV hacks get a rare and undeserved opportunity to make a film. (Bill Persky, the film’s director, is best known for keeping Marlo Thomas ever-virginal in “That Girl.”) Given a chance to stretch, he relies on the same stupid gags and shtick that you’d find on that 70s chestnut, “Love American Style,” but with gutter language thrown in for good measure. Pity poor Tuesday Weld who has to utter the C-word at least twice as well as Richard Nixon’s favorite 10-letter homosexual slur. Since the cursing serves no dramatic or comic purpose, the effect is very curious, indeed–suggesting the true audience of “Serial” is not merely bitter, middle-aged men but 14-year-old boys as well.
Duration: 86 min
Also known as: Serial,Sista skriket,The Serial,Crazy Family – Eine total verrückte Familie,Sekobileet,Сериал