Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cinemasochism: GETEVEN (1993; aka ROAD TO REVENGE)

We’ve often said that being a Video Junkie is perhaps the riskiest job in the world because you are exposing yourself to unknown dangers all the time.  90% of the time, you end up smashing your head against the TV while crying, “What am I doing with my life?”  But it is those rare 10%-ers that make it all worth living; films that are so wrongheaded that they just seem right.  I’m talking about stuff like THE TERRORISTS (197?), MIAMI CONNECTION (1987) and SAMURAI COP (1989). These are films that transcend their bad movie origins to become mini-masterpieces.  The kind of films where you immediately email your friends about them and lengthy email back-and-forth ensues as you recount all the hilarious lines/scenes.  Thanks to Marty McKee, I was able to experience this rush last night with one of the crowning jewels of cinemasochism, GETEVEN (1993; aka ROAD TO REVENGE).

GETEVEN (that is how the title reads onscreen) opens with three LAPD cops – Normad (William Smith), Rick Bodie (John De Hart) and Henry “Huck” Finney (Wings Hauser) – on the trail of some drug dealers inside a trailer.  When a shootout erupts, Finney is shot and Normad doesn’t seem to give a damn.  You see, he is more interested in the drugs as he is a crooked cop.  Rick takes offense to his lack of care for Finney and knees Normad in the gut. “You just made a big mistake,” Normad says. “Not a problem,” replies our hero.  Except it is a problem as the very next scene has the trio in an Internal Affairs hearing and Normad is weaving a web of lies that would make Fred Adelman blush.  He somehow manages to convince the judge that Rick and Huck were drug users (“Their eyes were weird, like someone using drugs.”) and both guys are kicked off the force.  Now, we’re never told this but just have to
Pant-less Wings, Indian dummy, John De Hart
Tom: "That scene just screams 'I'm on a shitload
of coke and I don't care who knows it!'"
infer it as they are both working as drivers for a limo service.  Rick doesn’t take any crap at this job, showcased by him evicting some rowdy prom clients.

Financial and job woes are the least of Rick’s problems though as he recently got dumped by Cindy (Pamela Jean Bryant, a Playboy Playmate of the Month in 1978).  Or maybe it wasn’t recently as she’s been away a year.  Again, we’re never given specifics as those are for sissies.  Anyway, Huck, who talks to an Indian mannequin in his living room, has this bright idea to head out for a night on the town.  And guess who they run into at the bar?  Cindy!  The lovebirds reconnect and Cindy remembers just why Rick sent her heart aflutter when he pops up on stage (“Hey Rick, come up and sing!” screams a voice off camera) and uncomfortably sings the non-hit “Shimee Slide.”  Now I should tell you that this is where the film took off from B-movie to insta-classic.  Seriously, watch this scene that some kind soul uploaded.

The main plot finally kicks in when a group of scummy looking dudes come in and start harassing Cindy. Rick takes no shit and he and Huck beat the crap out of these guys. Amazingly, Huck gets arrested in the melee.  Wait, why were the cops there?  Because an overly concerned girl in the bar called them to report a case of public nudity after a stripper got on stage following Rick’s mind-blowing singing.  Yes, public nudity is the problem here. That’s just how this movie rolls.  The next day Rick bails Huck out of jail and in a true howler, says to the processing officer as they are leaving, “Here’s a quarter.  Go buy yourself a personality.” Keep in mind two things.  One: this cop wasn’t hassling Rick at all. Two: Rick has zero personality; hell, he might have subzero personality.  That line is the cinematic equivalent of a bald guy flipping his head side-to-side to showcase the beauty of his comb over.

Anyway, we are just getting started here folks. Rick and Cindy head to a fancy restaurant to celebrate their reunion. After torturing the matre d with some terrible jokes, Rick gets down to rekindling their love.  How?  By buying a polaroid picture from a girl who comes up and sings, “Hello, my name is Tamara, the reason I have this camera, is if you really love her, you’ll take a picture of her.”  Rick follows the advice and offers no money in return. Following this jaw dropping scene, we finally get down to what happened to Cindy in the year since she last saw Rick. She got mixed up with a bad crowd (worse than this?) and got into drugs.  Oh yeah, they were Satan worshippers.  Then, in a flashback, we show how she raised all kinds of hell at a Satanic ceremony where she objected to the sacrifice of the baby and she is tied up (“Yeah, you were right. This bitch isn’t good enough to follow Satan!”).  Oh, one small detail I forgot to mention.  The leader of this coven is Normad.  Back in real time, Cindy admits she is getting better after seeing Rick and then asks if he is still pursuing being an actor.  WHAT!?!  Rick then launches into the famed “To be, or not to be” speech from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  I f’n kid you not.  It must be seen with ones own eyes.

Believe it or not, we are only just 30 minutes into this movie.  And now the thing goes totally off the rails as we get a ten minute segment that can only be defined as Wings Hauser’s Masterpiece Theater. The first bit has him doing a drunken rambling at the bar with Rick where he accuses him of ditching him for Cindy and with sleeping with his ex-wife.  Again, it must be seen to be believed (make sure to watch until the end).

Following Wings is in his apartment shooting holes through his bills (!), his ex-wife shows up to demand her alimony. He says he doesn’t have any money so she decides to call the cops and falsely say he was beating him.  But not before she reveals she was sleeping with – you guessed it – Normad!  She tears off her blouse to reveal her breasts and screams, “You remember these? You don’t know how to treat them either!” Wow. Naturally, he is arrested and has to face the judge.  And who is this judge? Normad, of course!  Jeez, this guy has certainly done a lot in the year since he was last a Lieutenant for the LAPD.  Wings drunken behavior and general non-compliance get him in the slammer, where he drinks bleach in order to get out and sent to the hospital.  He is visited by a nun (watch for Hauser making her break character and laugh) before Rick and Cindy show up to say they are heading to her folks to pick up her clothes.  We love Wings here and the intensity he brings to any role is always a welcome addition to any film.  Yet in this film he just goes absolutely nuts in two back-to-back sequences.  I’m not going to theorize on what was flowing through his veins during filming, but whatever it was, it made him the Super Hulk version of Wings Hauser. This is the kind of performance that would make Gary Busey say, “Whoa! That dude’s a nutcase.”

Now, if you are still with me, I thank you for your efforts.  But I’m going to make you watch another video as this is how the confrontation goes with Cindy’s parents.

You hear that loud thud?  That was my jaw dropping on the floor after that bit.  “Get thee behind me, Satan” is how I plan to greet all of my kids’ friends (if I ever have kids and I turn into a crotchety old, box chucking bastard).   The scene actually ends with her dad saying she will end up “dead in a roadside ditch” due to her sinful ways.  No worries for Cindy though as Rick knows how to calm her storm – a bubble bath!  In a true example of her dedication to the acting craft, Bryant gives her all in making you believe she is enjoying this skin-on-skin romp. Tom said it best in one of our emails: “Damn, I hope that girl’s check cleared. She earned every penny of her miniscule wage.”

Pamela Jean Bryant earning that pay:

Alternate title: JOHN ASTIN GETS LUCKY!

Okay, let’s start to wrap this up.  Rick asks her to get married and she accepts. Huck starts a new religion based on Huckleberry Finn (no, I’m not kidding). Normad’s men kill Cindy when she and Rick are out motorcycling; technically Rick kills her because he can’t handle his bike and crashes (off screen, naturally). Cindy’s dad beams at her funeral about how he was right (he’s correct, she did end up dead in a roadside ditch).  Huck gives Rick his Indian mannequin to help him get over tough times (“He fucking saved my life!”). Rick goes on the road to revenge against Normad and gets it.  And then Rick learns Cindy was alive this whole time because someone (cops?) wanted to make it look like she died.  Why? Who knows?  The only person who is hurt by pretending she is dead is Rick as the cops sure didn’t seem to be doing any investigating.  Anyway, I bet her dad is going to pissed when he finds out she survived dying in a roadside ditch.

Are you still there, dear reader?  If so, I thank you.  I must also apologize about making you work so hard (watch videos and read!?!) on a review.  To be fair, GETEVEN isn’t something that one should be first exposed to in a review.  It should be seen and not heard about.  If I had the means, I’d fly to all of your houses just so I could sit back and revel in the joy of watching you get your brain smacked by this masterpiece. Or, at the very least, I’d like to release it on DVD for the masses.  Ah, screw that, I’m coming to your house and you better have dinner ready.  And a bubble bath and champagne for later after we do the “Shimee Slide,” of course! This isn’t merely a bad movie that got made, it escaped!  But where exactly did it escape from?

GETEVEN appears to be the brainchild/vanity project of lead actor John De Hart.  Looking like the missing Mitchum brother, De Hart is not only credited as the film’s lead but he was also the writer, producer, co-director and wrote and sang several songs on the soundtrack.  Now we all have dreams of stardom, but very few have the means to make it happen. I’m stunned that no one stopped him during his song – where he sounds like a hoarse Kermit the Frog with an Elvis sneer – and said, “Are you sure you want to do this?”  Matching his lack of singing ability is his acting chops.  I don’t think I need to say anything more after you’ve viewed the HAMLET scene posted above.  Not only did De Hart have the funds, he had the cajones to blow what I can only believe was a small (yet substantial enough) amount of money on this.  Did I say balls? I meant to say mental imbalance. That this film got finished is amazing.  Snagging Wings Hauser and William Smith to be in your ensemble couldn’t have been cheap and the darn thing is shot on film.  Well, most of it.  De Hart does have some inserts (including one bit where he awkwardly kickboxes and then feeds his poodle some ice cream) that are shot-on-video.  Post-GETEVEN, De Hart went into the field of law.  He passed the California bar exam on June 4, 1993 and has been practicing ever since.  I’m seriously tempted to fly out to California and commit some minor offense, just so I can hire him and ask all about GETEVEN.  First question: “What were you thinking?”  From the opening appearance of the grammatically incorrect title to the final “surprise” moment, GETEVEN will keep your attention like – how do they say in GETEVEN speak – a poodle wanting some ice cream.  Highly recommended!

2 Reactions:

  1. I MUST see this movie! Please get a Video Junkie interview with John De Hart immediately!

  2. Anymore info on The Terrorists you mentioned? I see one from 1985 and 1988 that look pretty crappily great but nothing from the 70s that might fit. Help?


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