SHAMPOO’d

Tho, not in my Top Ten, SHAMPOO is one of my favorite movies. I recently discovered it was on DVD for less than $10!?!?! So, I got a copy. I was so excited to show it to B as he had never seen it. He fell asleep.

This film is, in my view, one of those great almost experimental films from the 70’s when studios were more willing to take risks and aim for something close to “reality” —- and this is also director, Hal Ashby, at his very best! I know he is best remembered for HAROLD & MAUD and COMING HOME (both near-perfect movies!) but I think this is his finest hour as a filmmaker.

An American Tragedy hiding as a comedy. Satire hiding behind dramatics. This just might be the most non-political – political film you will ever see. And, it is certainly the most unsexy film about sex you’re likely to ever run across. One can say a lot of things about Warren Beatty but the man has produced some fucking fantastic film work!

Essentially, I think this movie is focused on why in the world the US would have re-elected Nixon to 4 more years of total hell — and, why, especially in the 70’s, sex became an addiction — and an act as meaningful as a handshake between business partners. It is fully loaded.

Very loosely based upon the early career of Jon Peters (tho, both Beatty and Robert Towne were quick to claim it was actually loosely based upon the career of Jay Sebring — don’t believe it!) …a somehow clever guy who became a hairdresser so he could sleep with as many women as he wanted and a guy who is quickly losing interest in sex and more concerned with where his place in the world should be …or could be.


As Goldie Hawn (who one forgets could once act quite well) tells Beatty’s character: “You never stop moving and you never go anywhere!” …a fact he knows, but her words seem to shatter him.

No one in SHAMPOO is able to connect. The film is quick to parody the world of LA. So many quiet and priceless moments. Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn having lunch, but when conversation drifts to something important they escape behind their giant Hollywood glasses and fall into the laid-back/mid-70’s-Hollywood-vernacular of the film —

“Oh, George? George is great.”
“Yeah, he’s great.”

TV sets and radios blare throughout the film, but no one is watching. The TV/radios are usually warning about the upcoming victory of Nixon and his vile administration or some form of violence. But these characters are too apathetic to bother turning down sex they don’t really want to even notice the importance of what is going on in outside of themselves.

And, yet, somehow the actors manage to make these hallowed-out/shallow people so human you do feel for them.

As George stands up on that canyon mountain watching the one person with whom he thinks he might have had something close to love — you’re left wondering if anyone could ever really love him or if any of the people in his world even know how to really feel anything.


…And, the hostility of Lee Grant’s character! One can’t help but laugh at the clever inverse of THE GRADUATE plot twist when she realizes that her lover has just slept with her teen daughter (played with perfectly tinged anger and angst!) — she gets turned on vs. jealous/angry.

Also, let’s face it. That has got to be one of the coolest posters any major studio created to promote a film. …but, don’t expect a sex comedy or a laugh a minute film. This is carefully edited and paced film. Great editing and even greater cinematography. And, Paul Simon’s score even works. This film asks the viewer to think. And, I think that is something most films no longer require. No one blows up. And, there are no fart jokes.

And, who knew a Beach Boys could packs a punch when placed at just the right moment.

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July 16, 2007. Uncategorized.

23 Comments

  1. Dessie replied:

    Of course Goldie can act – we all remember Private Benjamin, right? Right??

  2. Daniel replied:

    Goldie was great before she started doing caricatures of herself. Julie Christie is one of the greats. I would love to hate Warren B, but he’s just too good. I’m going to Amazon that film.

    Pet Sounds is regarded as one of the three or four most influential albums of the sixties.

  3. fashmagslag replied:

    Don’t forget ‘Overboard’ with her and Kurt Russel….now that film was, um, well…..

  4. matty03 replied:

    Dessie – No, Goldie Hawn is really quite good in this film. Actually, she has been great in several films. I think that “fringe” holds her back.

  5. matty03 replied:

    Daniel! Yes! Thank you! …Tho, like Dessie, I often forget she can play anything other than the Goldie Hawn cute thing. lol! Beatty plays confused, angst and lost very well.

    Oh, I didn’t mean to say that Pet Sounds wasn’t a great record. It is — and, an important one. But, the way it is used in the film subverts it in a way that surprises me.

    I saw this movie when it came out. With my Dad. I didn’t understand it back then as I think I was around 7. But, it so rocks.

    Fash Mag Slag! Hi! Well, duh. OVERBOARD is one of the most culturally important comedies about memory loss one is ever likely to see! The FORREST GUMP of the 80’s I should think!

    …but Kurt Russell was awesome in GRINDHOUSE! …you have to admit. Gave me nightmares!

  6. hot lunch replied:

    Goldie passed by me on the street one day when she was up here living in Vancouver w/ Kurt and the kiddies. She had on giant sunglasses, a big fur hat, but that mole of hers was very prominent. I remember my friend elbowing me and whispering, “It’s Goldie Hawn!” Had I only known about Shampoo, I would’ve gone up and told her how much I loved her in it!

  7. matty replied:

    Hot Lunch! Wow! You were near the mole! That is so cool!!!

  8. Jocelyn replied:

    Warren Beatty sure was sex on legs in his younger years, drool. I think his looks and reputation often got in the way of people really seeing how great an actor he acutally is. Brains and looks: a very sexy combo.

  9. matty replied:

    Jocelyn! I agree. I think George Clooney has a bit of that problem, too. Actually, a lot of his more recent career choices make me think of Beatty. I should think this would be a movie Clooney wishes he could make now. …tho, for the current era, obviously.

  10. ing replied:

    Now I want to see this movie! I want to find out how Pet Sounds subverts it!

    My father used to listen to The Beach Boys and I thought they were so square, but having listened to them a lot recently, I’m kind of wierded out by them. So interesting and crazy!

  11. matty03 replied:

    Ing!!! Yeah, you know I understand how important The Beach Boys are to musical history — pop musical history. Sort of the Anti-Beatles I guess. But, there stuff never really appeals to me — excepting that awesome song in which John Stamos played drums! “Kokomo!” …now that is a song for the ages. No, but I like some of the stuff off Pet Sounds — and it was wayyyyyyyy ahead of its time.

    Oh, and what I meant to say was that the film subverts the meaning of THE hit song from the Pet Sounds LP. It pops up at the oddest time — making it seem much different than the way it seemed to me before I saw this movie (at an age where I could understand it)

    …this is one of the movies I was going to drop by for you to watch.

    Of course, I will be expecting a full thesis comparing SHAMPOO and MRS PALFREY — and how they have impacted modern culture as we know it.

    You really must watch MRS PALFREY. I feel a double feature coming on!

    Maybe MRS. PALFREY and THE MAIN EVENT… Hmmmmm…

    you and me — and 4 hours of classic sin-e-ma.

  12. ing replied:

    Palfrey?!?! I’m afraid — very afraid — that you won’t let me die until I see Mrs. Palfrey.

    I always like Friends/20 20. Not really sure why, though.

  13. matty03 replied:

    Ing – MRS PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT is the perfect movie! I’ve been telling you this for well over a year! Don’t be afraid. Embrace the beauty!

    Do you mean you like the sitcom mixed with TV tabloid journalism or that you like to be able to see your friends clearly?

    i’m confused.

  14. jungle jane replied:

    Oh my word Matty. That made me want to go wash my hair. And its not even dirty.

  15. matty replied:

    Jungle Jane — Well, you know — I don’t know about you, but I take great pleasure in washing my hair. …what little I still have as I move into my 40’s. oy!

  16. Old Cheeser replied:

    Haven’t seen the movie for years but remember finding it very funny. It’s all quite farcical to start with and then has a rather bleak ending, from what I remember? Well if you’re a randy hairdresser shagging all and sundry, what do you expect?

    I used to love Julie Christie and she’s fun in this.

  17. matty replied:

    Cool Old Cheeser! …Yeah, as a child I didn’t really “get it” or understand a good deal of what was going on. As an adult it really got me. I do think it is a funny movie, but for me — it is really a rather sad look at contemporary society. If anything, things have only gotten worse since the 70’s when it comes to the way American society (or society in general) interacts within itself. The acting is all so perfect. I just find the characters all so sad — and almost painfully real.

    I think it is a great American film. …and unique.

  18. Dessie replied:

    You’ve got mail!

  19. matty03 replied:

    Dessie! I didn’t care much for that movie. lol!

  20. ing replied:

    Friends/20 20 — what happened to my long ass comment? Anyhoo, it’s this Beach Boys Album I like because of this crazy song called “Transcendental Meditation”.

    Hey, wait a minute. . . who am I supposed to meet tomorrow night. . .is it? Could it be? Will I get to see my one and only thinnest, specialest, prettiest most handsome friendest of friends, meaning YOU?!?!

    (Sarah will meet me at my place around 6. . . we might be a weensy bit late. I will phone you at six. Answer!!!!!)

    p.s.

    x x x o o x

  21. matty03 replied:

    Oh, no! You can’t be late! You MUST be on time.

    (thank you for calling me thin) …I fear I really must get my stomach staple’d soon.

  22. Tim replied:

    First your jeans, now our stomach – what are you going staple next, Matty?!

  23. matty03 replied:

    Tim! LOL! …that’s the thing about me, you never know what I might staple next. I think B worries.

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