Tuesday’s Overlooked Films: Straight to Hell

I blame Todd. Well, I often blame Todd — he is uniquely blame-worthy for any number of things — but this time I blame him for getting me to participate in a new (regular) meme. But it’s better than doing the work I really need to be doing (then again, after a snowy and slushy and now icy start, they’ve cancelled classes for the afternoon, so there it is).

So my first offering for Tuesday’s Overlooked Films: Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell. Yes, it’s true: some films are overlooked for a reason. It’s not really a good film, to be honest. But it’s a fascinating one. I know it looks like a bunch of mates went to Spain for their holidays to drink, make music and play cowboys — well, it kind of is.

But what friends! There’s the Pogues first off; the reason I went to see it and got the tape and soundtrack and eventually the DVD despite that criminally ugly cover. Shane MacGowan with most of his teeth and that insane laugh, the fabulous Spider, the lovely Jimmy Fearnley, Phil being sweet and the rest playing bad guys with all their hearts.

Then there’s Elvis, too, playing a butler and the incomparable Joe Strummer repeating my second-favourite line in the film. Eddie Tudorpole! Cameos by Jim Jarmusch, Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones. All the usual stalwarts of Cox’s films like Xander Berkeley, Zander Schloss and the poor man’s Samuel L. Jackson, Sy Richardson. Dick Rude! Catchy songs!

Kathy Burke as a psychotic caretaker. Genius.

Although it was her first starring role, for some reason Courtney Love never lists this on her resumé. Huh. It’s got the ambling humour of Repo Man and the punk sensibilities of Sid & Nancy, but it’s totally loopy and silly and a loving (if dissolute) tribute to the spaghetti westerns they all love.

Well, I recommend watching it with lots of beer and friends — in Spain if you can swing it. You can just watch it on YouTube, but what’s the fun in that? Prove to me I’m not the only fan of this film, folks!

See all the overlooked films over at Todd’s blog.