Monday, April 11, 2011

Dead End Drive-In(1986)

Since falling in love with the doc Not Quite Hollywood the other day, I have become obsessed with the idea of tracking down as many of the movies covered as I can. As I explained in that review, I'm not well versed in Ozploitation, but I sure as hell want to be. With so much to choose from, I wanted to start off my obsessive sequence of Aussie reviews with the movie that grabbed at me the most, and also because it was one of the last films covered. According to the industry specialists, it is also considered the last big Ozploitation film before the movements death at the hands of the straight-to-video industry. If you've seen the documentary, or read the title of this blog entry, you most likely know that I am talking about Dead End Drive-In(1986).

Dead End Drive-In takes place in a bleak future, I guess some people might refer to it as "Dystopian", although the only "planned and structured society" seems to take place in small, controlled areas, namely drive-in theaters. This isn't common knowledge though, as we can see from the ignorance of our hero, Jimmy, known affectionately as Crabs. It's hard to tell if crabs is an idiot, or just a really good guy. Society is crumbling around him, but he spends most of the time jogging and boxing. Despite the fact that he can't go anywhere in Sydney to deliver pies without run-ins with the punker gangs, known as carboys. Carboys are your typical muscle-car bullies. When they aren't harassing people on foot or in compact cars, they can be seen scavenging parts from wrecks and abandoned cars. Not exactly the friendliest of people.

After a couple of run-ins with the carboys, Crabs decides taking his girlfriend, Carmen, on a date to the drive-in is a good idea, even though society is crumbling around him. In order to impress his runaway girlfriend, Crabs steals his brother's '56 Chevy. Being typical hormonally-driven teens, the two kids ditch paying attention to the flick and move straight into bumping uglies in the back seat. Wrong move. Just as things started getting heavy, both back tires are stolen, rendering the Chevy incapable of movement. Must be the carboys again, right? Wrong, it looks like the cops are trying to get a piece of the scavenging action too, but not for the same reasons. When Crabs wakes up in the morning, he discovers that he's not the only one stuck at the drive-in. There are close to 200 youngsters living in the theater parking lot like it was some kind of permanent Phish lot, and none of them seem to want to escape. Crabs doesn't get it, and keeps up living a healthy lifestyle despite the punk rock parking lot party that is a constant around him. At this point everybody, including Carmen, has come to except that watching movies and eating junk food is their future, no matter how concentration-like there new life is. Crabs ain't going out like that though, and will do whatever it takes to get out, even kill.

Despite his clean living, I felt the Crabs must have been one of the biggest, fucking idiot I've seen in a movie. Despite being told time-and-time again he wasn't going anywhere, he didn't get it, and I don't think it was just blind determination. I really think his IQ was somewhere in the lower, yet functional, double-digits. No matter how many times he was told, even by his girlfriend, to "relax and have fun, you're not going anywhere" he refused. I think he genuinely believed if he had tires and gas, the drive-in prison actually had an open door policy. Besides, why would he ever want to leave? Society is crumbling on the outside, and he can live of life of junk food, drugs, and drive-in movies. This doesn't sound too bad to me. It actually sounds like the perfect way to spend my time as society goes apocalyptic. Granted, I don't think I could ever go all white power when the Asians are all bussed in, like everybody else did, even the black prisoners(?), but these things happen. That's why it's best to stay out of politics when shit hits the fan.

My first Aussie flick, after seeing Not Quite Hollywood, was completely worth the time I took away from Facebook and the boobtube. I had everything I expected(punks, car chases, sexytime and explosions) and even a little more I didn't expect(racism and heroic idiocy). This is definitely one of those movies I'm going to pass off to friends who have seen the documentary, and I'll probably even watch it with them.

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