The Last Movie Film Details
Overview: After a film production wraps in Peru, an American wrangler decides to stay behind, witnessing how filmmaking affects the locals.
Tagline: There is a time to die and a time not to
Review: Within Dennis Hopper’s infamous post-EASY RIDER flop, THE LAST MOVIE, are several movies with great potential had they been more fleshed-out – or if at least one took center stage… These include an American-made cowboy picture being filmed in the main location of Peru where a stuntman dies, leading Hopper’s character, Kansas, an extra and stuntman, caterer and acquirer of horses, to deal with the conscious-brooding aftermath… A psychotic local, after witnessing the Western being made, filming his own makeshift movie with bamboo cameras, actual punches pulled and real gunshots fired without blanks… A melancholy priest dealing with how his small town is altered by the Ugly American production, having come and gone with all its bogus yet influential, shoot-em-up violence… A gold-seeking expedition-plan between Hooper and his scruffy (future OUT OF THE BLUE) sidekick Don Gordon… Or our moping American film-worker falling in love with a beautiful Peruvian prostitute, Maria, played by natural beauty Stella Garcia… The latter holds the most value since it’s the only subplot with actual layers: Which includes a pretty, classy, uptight yet progressive wife and daughter of a broom factory owner: the first awkwardly seduced by Hooper’s Kansas in THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON scream queen Julie Adams and TV actress Donna Baccala as this non-linear, documentary-style odyssey goes from the gorgeously green and/or canyon-backed Peru exterior to a grainy night on the town, as an unrefined love triangle ensues… Hopper’s lady-friend, Maria, hired her workmate… future COLUMBO victim Poupée Bocar as a bisexual nightclub singer… to entertain the ragtag group. And the following daytime scene involves a seemingly important conversation about Don Gordon’s supposed gold mine followed by a quick, unrealized trek to find it – lasting less than most scenes would need to begin… Which is the main problem with this extremely problematic LAST MOVIE, an anti-film that has the title appearing twenty-six minutes in as nothing really begins or ends but goes on a continuous forward motion – without the characters gaining insight or qualifying for the audience to take part in their eclectic quests. But during the intentionally distracted psychedelic era, is all this surrealistic piecemeal intentional? What everything boils down to is Hopper’s Kansas in love with a whore who’s more real, capable, experienced and tough than he is. Meanwhile, the stunt man’s supposedly pivotal death, mentioned in plot-summaries ranging from the back of VHS copies to the new Criterion Blu Ray, means close to nothing. In fact, we only catch one quick moment of his final plummet which, strangely enough, is shown after the movie-within-a-movie has already packed up and gone away… Before which is a collage of blink-or-miss cameos of Hopper’s cinematic cohorts ranging from John Phillip Law to Henry Jaglom to EASY RIDER Captain America himself, Peter Fonda to the b-Western’s director played by real life gritty auteur Samuel Fuller… Meanwhile, Kris Kristofferson provides a disjointed Roman Chorus of sorts, crooning his most famous ballad made famous by Janis Joplin, ME AND BOBBY MCGEE, and the likes of character-actor Severn Darden and lovely hippie chicks Toni Basil and Michelle Phillips glide in and out like in some deranged oasis, especially during nighttime parties where we possibly learn what this deliberately confusing film’s really about… Since Hopper’s Kansas is merely a caterer, having to provide alcohol to the selfish and raucous cast and crew while brooding outside of both the real and fake film’s perimeter, it could be this LAST MOVIE is Hopper’s way of not only being a dissociated artist but playing one in his own disassociated motion picture… One telling moment and perhaps the best scene overall has Kansas demonstrating to the insanely-inspired Peruvian “director” how a beaten-up “actor” should throw a punch instead of continuing to bloody each other up. After which this director/dictator informs Kansas that his picture isn’t fake like the Western that Kansas worked on… Perhaps the askew logic is: Since those bamboo camera’s aren’t actually filming anything, real life isn’t being captured like the kind of trickery… or “game” as the priest calls it… that inspired this local violent mockery. In other words, anything being recorded for posterity is futile and worthless compared to the real thing: just as Maria is more of a real person than Kansas. The problem is that both the actual-fake and fake-fake movies are all being filmed, and have to seem real to the audience. So Hopper’s attempt to make a distinction between the two are somewhat futile in the end… Either way, the misplaced yet strangely intriguing bedlam leads to a rushed third act that ultimately implodes upon itself: Especially in one scene as Hopper sits with the two leading Peruvian/Spanish characters… the priest and the loco-local director… and says, with finality, “To Hell with it!” Which would occur a few years later when Hopper’s frantic hippie photographer in Francis Ford Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW says the world will end with a whimper, not a bang, followed by “I’m splitting, Jack” before vanishing from the scene, and movie, altogether. But it’s one thing for a character to take off, and something else entirely when it’s the film’s own director… In actuality, this irritated exodus, after Kansas becomes a bloody martyr/captive of the Peruvians violent “passion play” (taking on the same expressive guilt he did concerning Jack Nicholson’s EASY RIDER death during the acid trip), is entirely redundant: Symbolically, Hopper crashes and departs from his own party while drowning with a life-preserver on… If he had had more fun and action within the chaos instead of so much art-house distraction, we, the viewer, could have shared in that pandemonium as if it were ours as well as the director’s: Experiencing a voyeuristic catastrophe that only a genius could make is more of an addictive and bizarre, awkwardly intriguing journey than an insightful or overall effective one… Thankfully, the timeless, legendary and groundbreaking road classic EASY RIDER had an actual destination, which was, within the story, tragically unfulfilled. So maybe, just maybe, THE LAST MOVIE was Hopper’s next step after having nowhere left to go. There is no death in the afterlife, after all.
Country: United States
Language: English, Spanish, Quechua
Duration: 108 min
Also known as: The Last Movie,Η τελευταία ταινία,Последний фильм,To teleftaio gyrisma,Fuga da Hollywood,Ostatni film,Chinchero,I teleftaia tainia,O Último Filme,ラストムービー