Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Painting- Day 12

Well this thing is really starting to drag again. Today I added the stars and crescent moon in a kind of "A Starry Night" way, the arcade shadows yet again, and the military helicopter, which will be the only "life" here so far. What I really need at this point is a few good long painting sessions to push this to completion. I'm not feeling that inspired lately. Maybe I need to watch few good post-apocalyptic movies to get me in the mood.

I mentioned in a couple earlier posts that I was going for a post-apocalyptic feel with this piece. And what is my favorite post-apocalyptic film of all time? Its the 1975 low-budget movie, "A Boy & His Dog". It stars a very young Don Johnson as Vic, a scrappy post-nuclear survivor, who together with his faithful companion Blood, a telepathic dog, scavenges for food and women in the wasteland of Phoenix, Arizona in 2024. Vic is always horny, and Blood is always hungry. The arrangement is that Vic hustles up dinner, and Blood sniffs out the babes. The movie never explains why Blood is telepathic, but for some reason you never really worry about it. You do find out that only Blood and Vic can communicate this way. Vic tells one nosy person in the film that the reason only he can "hear" his dog is because the two of them "think alike". Whatever the reason, I think that the dim-witted Vic's relationship with the highly intelligent canine saves this sometimes overly slow, low-budget movie. Witness the scene below for an example.

Blood and Vic subsist in the bleak desert for the better part of the film, robbing and raping the other desperate survivors, but soon Vic meets Quilla June. She is "the cheese" sent out by some folks who have been watching Vic and want to entrap him. The randy Vic falls for the bait, and soon he is following the girl underground. Blood is suspicious, and after warning Vic, refuses to go. This is where the movie really gets weird. Some of the post-nuclear survivors still stubbornly keep small town American values alive underground. Everyone paints their faces like happy mimes, and they live for parades and picnics. The "grass" is green even though there is no sunlight in subterranean "Topeka", and the citizens' stifled lives are strictly regulated by "The Committee".

"The Committee", headed by actor Jason Robards, decides they need some new sperm for their now hopelessly shallow gene pool, and that the virile Vic will supply it. But unfortunately not in the way he would like, for he is soon hooked up to a machine and milked. Finally Quilla, "the cheese" that lured him into the trap, rebels against "The Committee" and helps Vic escape. She wants him to help her take control underground, but he would rather go back above. He's gotta see Blood again. He's "gotta get back in the dirt" so he can "feel clean". I won't give away the touching and disturbing ending, but ultimately this is, as director L. Q. Jones says, "just a story about a boy and his dog".

This movie obviously influenced the Mad Max series, and I think the idea of a dog for end of the world companionship was set with this film as well. Mad Max had an Australian Cattle Dog and Will Smith drove around post-apocalyptic New York with a German Shepherd in "I Am Legend". If the mongrel in "A Boy and His Dog" looks familiar, its because he played the family pet "Tiger" in "The Brady Bunch".

The director of "A Boy and His Dog", L. Q. Jones, never directed another film, but his adaption of Harlan Ellison's novella, was purported to be the author's favorite movie version of any of his stories. L. Q. Jones is known for his acting career, which included many westerns. Most recently he starred in "A Prairie Home Companion". He was also in Scorsese's 1995 film "Casino". Here he is giving giving Robert De Niro's character Sam Rothstein the business for firing his brother in-law.

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