Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I know you missed me, and probably Ralph Macchio, too.

Well, where have I been? BUSY, that's what. I had visiting relatives, two trips to the beach, an afternoon of musical theater featuring German schoolchildren doing nasty things, fireworks, a little more family tragedy (no, I prefer not to comment), screenprinting despite a lack of skill, and a lot of math homework. And this weekend, I'm going on a much anticipated ACTUAL vacation to Ohio to see P-Funk, feat. George Clinton, one of the best acts in showbusiness. See, all the other stuff I've been up to has been squeezed out of weekends and holidays. This is a bona fide, see-you-next-Tuesday four day weekend with all kinds of debauchery in store. And I needs it, let me tell you. Times is hard, man. Times is hard. WHICH brings me to the subject, namely the fantastic cinematic jaunt known as Crossroads. NOT WITH BRITNEY. 'Nuf said. It features Eugene (Ralph), or "Lightning Boy" as he comes to be called, a classical guitar student at Julliard, who longs to be a bluesman, and Blind Dog Willie Brown, an old man in a rest home who Eugene figures can help him learn a lost song from back in the day. Willie (Joe Seneca) demands he be "sprung" from the old folks' joint, and Eugene complies. They hightail it to Mississippi, and Eugene thinks it's so he can learn the blues life, but what he doesn't know is that Willie made a deal with the devil at the crossroads way back when, and now he wants to break the contract. Yes, the devil. Or Legba. Or Ol' Scratch. On the way they pick up a saucy runaway played by Jamie Gertz, and tangle with all kinds of rough folk, until Eugene, or "Lightnin' Boy", is forced to participate in a guitar duel against the devil's proxy, (played by the virtuoso Steve Vai, of badass eighties fame) in a fight for Willie's soul. This final scene has a chicken dancing lady, which I can't even describe properly. And there's a another scene before the end wherein Lightnin' and Willie are obliged to play in a juke joint for money. One of my favorite lines is in that scene; something to the effect of "That's Willie Brown! I used to watch him when I was tiny!" and there's quite a bit of fabulous repartee between young and old in the film. I read somewhere on the net that some fool thought the movie pretty much crap until the duel at the end. To him or her, I'd like to quote Scratch's assistant in the movie, as said to Willie Brown: Ain't got no chance Blind Dog. You SOLD your soul. You goin' down, all the way down. Hell hounds on your trail boy, hell hounds on your trail.
Oh my goodness, it doesn't get much better than a line like that. Once again, 'nuf said.

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