362 Border Radio

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 362 Border Radio

#51 Post by Matt » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:02 pm

psufootball07 wrote:
quequeg wrote:The most interesting thing about this film for me was Chris Shearer's package. I paused many times to zoom-in on his crotch.
He wore thin jeans and obviously no underwear. Even though the film is a bit out of focus, you can clearly see the outline of a very nice wiener.
What? ](*,)
Hey, that's the best recommendation I've heard for this film yet.

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manicsounds
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#52 Post by manicsounds » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:14 pm

well, I did it. I bought "Border Radio", and in the clearance section, actually....

I guess I will make my own decision about the movie when I watch it. I know there are people who dislike this film, but I am mildly curious for that reason, and the music.

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Venom
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:26 am

Re: 362 Border Radio

#53 Post by Venom » Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:08 am

Here's hoping that Horseplayer and Genuine Risk can find their way to DVD (haven't seen either but they do seem interesting).

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CSM126
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#54 Post by CSM126 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:10 pm

Image

In other words, I paid to see this piece of garbage. I can't call it poorly written or directed because frankly it wasn't written or directed. It's just a bunch of schmucks talking at a camera about absolutely nothing for 80 torturous minutes. I'm still trying to figure out why we spend so much time with characters that have literally no connection to the alleged plot (not that it's fleshed out enough to call it a plot, really) as they talk about their bullshit daily lives. They clearly had no direction, except in those moments when you can actually hear Anders in the background prompting them to say something (face palm material, really). Things got so tedious that I dozed for a few minutes and didn't care enough to rewind. I just let this crap keep on rolling. At least I can say I got this cheap, having bought it used at a video store's going out of business sale, but I think I probably should have just left it there so no one would buy it and the store could just throw it out after their last day. This may become one of only two DVDs (the other being Johnny Mnemonic, which should tell you the level of badness we're facing here) that I just throw in the garbage rather than even trying to sell it off, because no one deserves to be exposed to this crap - especially not if it's my fault. Bad bad bad bad bad.

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domino harvey
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#55 Post by domino harvey » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:13 pm

It's like when the waiter brings out a plate and tells you it's hot and yet you still touch it

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CSM126
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#56 Post by CSM126 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:26 pm

I never have trusted waiters.

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jbeall
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#57 Post by jbeall » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:35 pm

That suicidal emoticon is getting a lot of play lately, but frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't made an appearance in this thread sooner.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#58 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Tue Nov 16, 2010 7:39 pm


Thomas Dukenfield
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:42 pm

Re: 362 Border Radio

#59 Post by Thomas Dukenfield » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:16 pm

domino harvey wrote:It's like when the waiter brings out a plate and tells you it's hot and yet you still touch it
I have some strange psychotic affliction where I do this without fail. I have NEVER not touched a hot plate when warned not to do so.

Anyway, I view Border Radio as basically an L.A. version of 80's-early 90's NY underground cinema (like Richard Kern, etc.). I'm into that kind of stuff (although not so much Kern specifically), and I'm also a huge Flesheaters fan, so it's totally up my alley. I think if you go in expecting another Stranger Than Paradise, you're probably going to be gravely disappointed. So, I enjoy the movie as some sort of hipster nihilist handmade independent, a self-deconstructing document of it's own creation. Boy, I'm sounding more like Armond White with every passing day. Please kill me.

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: 362 Border Radio

#60 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:37 pm

Wasn't the donated total on the new Anders project $440 before? I think someone took their money back.

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kaujot
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#61 Post by kaujot » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:18 pm

Something tells me no one wants the trilogy to be completed, save those 5 or so individuals (two of whom I assume are Anders and Voss)

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Mr Sausage
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Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#62 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:23 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, December 7th AT 6:00 AM.

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#63 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:04 am

Motive for voting? A revisionist tactic or a licence to heap even more opprobrium on its frail shoulders?

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domino harvey
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Re: Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#64 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:52 am

We wanted to remember what it must have felt like when all those pilgrims showed up with smallpox

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movielocke
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Re: Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#65 Post by movielocke » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:17 pm

I've always wanted to watch this because I watched Hopscotch and it was pretty entertaining and not the worst thing ever as is often attributed to it. Now that jellyfish eyes is coming out perhaps it will supplant border radio as the default example of shit in the collection?

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zedz
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Re: Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#66 Post by zedz » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:43 pm

Border Radio isn't that bad. It's rough around the edges, but it's a decent representation of true indie American cinema before 'indie' became short for 'industry calling card', and Criterion's disc is excellent in providing period context. Anders, Lent and Voss wants to document a particular community, and they do so with the (meagre) resources at hand. The acting's uneven; the script is rudimentary; the technique is ramshackle - but I think she succeeds nevertheless in providing a snapshot of a time and a place and its people, and that's a lot more than most slicker productions have to offer.

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Shrew
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Re: Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#67 Post by Shrew » Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:59 pm

Okay, so I actually watched this via Hulu, and yes it's bad, but not offensively so. The soundtrack is cool, there's some occasional nice shots where someone found a good backdrop to shoot against (and not just a bland apartment or trailer)--the brief scene in the club with the really cool ceiling is a legitimately great shot. It's sort of the flipside to Clerks, wherein Anders and her colleagues have some interesting visual and editing ideas and a decent sense of technique (unlike Kevin Smith), but the actors keep sputtering and repeating themselves as they badly improvise through the shaggiest of shaggy dog stories. Despite its faults, at least Clerks had a clear script to anchor its inexperienced cast.

Anyway, here are a few questions to attempt to spark a very belated (and probably doomed) discussion.

Is the film a good "adaptation" of the punk/post-punk aesthetic of its soundtrack and stars?
I feel like while its certainly raw and unsophisticated, it's a bit too "pretty" to really fit. Put another way, there's a decent formal understanding of technique on display, but not a lot real risk-taking that would make the film more interesting to watch. The "risk" or "subversiveness" is all in what's chosen to be filmed, which is mostly semi-incoherent riffing that never sounds natural (the worst may be the veteran punk girl, who repeats the same idea three times in her first line). It's more like some skilled but unenthusiastic guitar player mindlessly strumming for hours without getting much farther than a basic riff than anything truly "punk."

What's up with the documentary interview segments?
I think these were generally the best bits of the films, with the actors being a bit more of "themselves" playing to the camera than trying to play off each other as "characters." I assume they're meant to be a documentary about Chris D's character Jeff, but I missed the explanation if there was any (the film just may have failed to hold my full attention through the full runtime). As is, they come across as a rather random homage to Masculin Feminin, but I appreciated them none the less. This film probably would have been a lot more interesting as a documentary than

Do any of the actors come off well?
Luann Anders wasn't too bad, and showed the most improvement over the course of the film. And the character herself has the rough makings of an fine working class punk heroine. Chris D mostly just broods in Mexico (I admit, being unfamiliar with the film's music, that I had trouble believing he'd be any sort of rock star, but uhhh...). But the Chris and Dean characters are what kills the film--they're annoying and making them the drivers of the plot for most the film keeps us stuck in the stalled-out narrative. For me, the worst bit of the film was the middle with Dean, where he keeps going "Oh I know about that," "No I don't really know about that" "Yeah I know something, let's just have sex first" "Nah, I forgot what I was going to say."

and finally...
Why (or why not) does this film deserve it's crown as The Worst of the Collection?

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colinr0380
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Re: Border Radio (Allison Anders et al, 1987).

#68 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:20 am

"But you're gonna keep playing?"
"Well, that's really all I got going for me, you know. That's the only thing that sets me apart from being just another drunk."

I've just had a really weird experience with this film, so apologies if the tone of this post feels a little up and down on the film! This is a kind of mix of three or four different posts, written and re-written at different points and with different intensities of, positive and negative, feelings towards the film! It has taken me most of the week to write, and re-write it, and it would have been a radically different post if I did so after the first viewing (in which I didn't like the film at all!) to after a couple more re-watches (I had to force myself over the weekend to come back and assess it fairly) when I started to find things that made the film grow on me a lot. I think that this film really improves with constant reviewing. But, boy, does the film make a tough to like first impression! (As the best character in the film, the Shakespearean chorus figure of the punk rock girl being interviewed about the music scene, says near the beginning of the film: "They sounded really rough, but in those days you gave a band a chance. These days all they want is professionalism. They'll boo you off stage if you aren't slick enough.")

I mostly agreed with Shrew at first on this, but am starting to see it more from zedz's perspective now! It's a...frustrating film, but feels kind of intentionally so. There are occasions where there are some nice shots (the grainy aesthetic here works very well, and that circling pan from the streets of Mexico to the sea is really nice) and techniques which felt as if they could be interesting, but I kept feeling as if I were being thrown out of the film again and again by almost everything about it. You know in that thread for Man of Violence released by the BFI where I described it as an improv gangster film with lots of 'cool' actions being shown but with little idea of why they were cool in the first place, and an unsympathetic bunch of characters? This has some of that same feel at first. There is even an empty gesture, abandoning of a vehicle scene! But there are also moments like having a rotary telephone, complete with pre-mobile phone cord next to your swiming pool 'just because'! Or seeing the picture of Dean sitting on his truck at the drive-in framed on Jeff's wall in the scene before he actually arrives at the drive in! But is that a pure production mistake or a way of alluding to the way that the eventually the central drama of the film turns out to have been solved even before it began? These strange bits of business can eventually feel like a kind of comment on the aimlessness, and fecklessness, of the main characters. Or maybe I'm reading far, far too much into a very rough and ready, punkish film!

I also had the same 'Masculin Feminin' thoughts as Shrew about those interview segments in which we hear the directors questioning different characters about their actions, one of whom we do not 'officially' meet in the film itself. It was strange at first but I really liked these moments (especially that they also feature Godardian-seeming jump cuts within the interview - stylistically intentional or just accidental? At this level of filmmaking both are valid!). I wasn't sure that they had a function in the film on the first viewing, but now they seem to be providing the context, introspection and irony (especially in the epilogue) that the characters in the film itself are not experiencing, or are actively trying not to reveal! It is a strange technique because why exactly would anyone be interviewing these characters about such a minor event in such a brief period of their lives? (At least Godard in Masculin Feminin set up Jean-Pierre Leaud as a poll researcher and that girl being aggressively interviewed as the winner of a magazine competition to suggest a reason) But that strange stylistic choice itself started to inspire some sympathy in me, especially at the end. These characters get to talk to someone about their lives, someone who is interested in them and the changes that they have been through. I was left thinking of all the people who go through minor trials every day and have no one to witness their development. They're the same but their lives have moved on a little and they have a different perspective and different things they have decided to get out of their lives. (Of course these days in the social media age, people won't shut up about every little thing they do in their lives! Me included! So we've moved from the small but important events in people's lives going unnoticed to them being impossible to pick out from all the other stuff about what someone had for dinner this evening, and so on!)

The main thing I learnt from the film though was that punks seem to make for terrible babysitters and don't leave them around cats. (Never let them work with children or animals!)

___

In the early scenes I really liked the gambling ship discussion that cuts to a scene of Jeff's wife and daughter (Luanna and Devon) and Chris on a paddle boat on a lake, and then the cut from that to Chris's own to-camera interview scene reminiscing about Jeff. That worked really well, along with the belligerent badgering of Luanna in her interview that follows!

The film's first half is a kind of lazily vague semi-mystery until the explanation for why Jeff had goons after him and had fled to Mexico was revealed (I sort of had that recent mumblecore 'mystery' film Cold Weather come to mind whilst watching). The opening of flushing some pills (drugs? It turns out to be quaaludes that were also in the safe) away in the toilet which opens the film does work as a sketching in of some kind of motivation for Jeff fleeing. There is also the suggestion that Jeff perhaps just needs inspiration after running into trouble on his latest album, so has disappeared for that. The 'actual reasons' for Jeff and his friends being in trouble which get revealed over halfway through the film (a nightclub raid after not being paid for a gig) are far, far less interesting and also kind of concretises the characters from just seeming like self obsessed idiots to actually being so! Jeff is already kind of terrible for leaving his wife and child behind as he runs from trouble (the child being thrown into the mix makes everything worse!), and while Luanna is a great character to follow for the majority of the film, even she starts to seem tainted by associating with these idiots! Or at least not that great a judge of character! This really runs the risk of throwing the audience out of the film at that point, asking why the hell they are watching this bunch of characters ruining each others lives (or at least that was my reaction on first watching the film!)

Yet perhaps that is the point, only emphasised when the one vaguely responsible character in Luanna sells her car to pay back the nightclub manager/record producer only to be told that Jeff sorted it out from Mexico days before! Its an anti-dramatic film in that sense, where any tension is manufactured and immediately negated. It is a film less about the crime or the disappearance (or damningly even the relationships) but sort of about a band tearing itself apart, even when they're not in the recording studio!

Even the film itself at the end seems to have some fun toying with both sets of terrible characters, as Luanna treks to the Mexican trailer that Jeff has been using, while Jeff at the same time travels back to San Diego. They've crossed paths and missed each other on their cross country journeys, with Luanna impotently shouting at her travel companions as Jeff back at home rants at the (brilliantly flaky) babysitter about how he 'risked his life' in coming back (he obviously didn't as he sorted the situation out, but seems to have been planning to play this up to Luann and the other guys) and gets annoyed that Chris has muscled in on his life and marriage (but then Jeff himself has shown little to no interest in them)!

What really saves the film at the very last moment is that "2 or 6 months later" epilogue. The camera is more static and we get a whole series of those interviews with the characters about where they are now and what they are doing with their lives. The interview with Luanna sort of provides the climax of the film, in which she talks about this experience having caused her to realise that she was mothering the guys (who really are overgrown children throughout) whilst leaving Devon parentless. This then cuts to a shot of Devon glumly sat on a "musical ferris wheel" seat (going from one extreme to another of suddenly having too much attention from mom!) that is revolving around which seems to be a pointed call back to Chris driving his car in circles in his suburban cul-de-sac from much earlier on.

This is then followed by the interview with the very first 'Shakespearean chorus' punk girl from the beginning, talking abstractly about the punk scene but really encapsulating the ideas the filmmakers seem to have been going for with the characters in the film itself (I'll quote most of it but leave the amusing final line to discover for yourselves!):

"It was like the music was still good...but we were left just sitting around. It was like all the mystery that was there in the beginning was gone. It just wasn't the same. I guess it was my fault...I must have just expected too much, invested too much in the musicians. You can't expect other people to create drama for your life. They're too busy creating it for themselves. They're just people, I guess."

___

This edition is also hugely benefited by the extras: the commentaries are fantastic and great fun (the cast track even has a brief moment of someone wondering why anyone would pay money for the film before quickly being shushed, so they kind of knew this film was a hard sell!) and it shows that no matter how bad people consider the film to be in its final state there was a time where it could have been worse with Chris, the almost stalkerish bandmate muscling in on the troubled marriage between Luanna and Jeff, apparently adding in some extra drama to the final scenes by murdering Luanna! Instead this is toned down in the final film to just being a little too over friendly!

The deleted scenes are also valuable additions. They all feel rightly dropped yet interesting. There is the scene of Luanna actually going to Mexico, meeting Jeff and spending the night with him before they have an argument about him coming back, leading to Luanna leaving him there. In the final film she returns home with her car having broken down halfway to Mexico, so it sort of emphasises the distance between the couple more and creates a sense of drama and isolation than the couple meeting early on did! It also makes the final failed trip to the Mexican trailer more significant too!

Most of the rest of the deleted scenes are alternate takes that take place in different locations and really all of the takes in the final film work better. For example Luanna talks to your generic grumpy record producer mogul about the nightclub robbery rather than to the slightly bored assistant as in the final film, which is both novel and funnier! And the meeting between Luanna and Dave which takes place on the stairs of the club in the film takes place in a bathroom in the alternate scene. The interaction flows much more naturally on the stairs, only emphasised by the incredibly awkward Wim Wenders cameo that occurs at the end of the bathroom version of the scene!

And the Flesheaters music video on the disc for The Wedding Dice is a really great addition, even including a brief appearance by Mary Woronov in a white coat! (It made me think of The Crow whilst watching it!)

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 362 Border Radio

#69 Post by knives » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:41 pm

I finally saw this and it frankly doesn't deserve what the board has thrown at it. I wouldn't call it good (though I don't like punk all that much as an aesthetic), but for the reasons Zedz outlines above I think it is at least interesting. It certainly doesn't deserve to be called the worst film in the collection.

black&huge
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Re: 362 Border Radio

#70 Post by black&huge » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:47 pm

Not to start it up here but is there a thread on this forum solely where members post what they think is the worst film/s in the collection?

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 362 Border Radio

#71 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:52 pm

black&huge wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:47 pm
Not to start it up here but is there a thread on this forum solely where members post what they think is the worst film/s in the collection?
I think this should do

black&huge
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:35 am

Re: 362 Border Radio

#72 Post by black&huge » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:48 pm

Yes it will. Thanks!

Soothsayer
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:54 pm

Re:

#73 Post by Soothsayer » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:13 pm

Mr Pixies wrote:
Tue May 16, 2006 9:44 pm
there's some clips of the movie here,
http://www.hipmagazine.com/border.htm

It looks like something I'd Like. I've never seen an Anders' film, except for her Four Rooms segment, I first heard of her because she was/is friends with Boyd Rice.
Never liked this film (IFC used to play it on television in the late 90's with some other Anders fare). Knowing there's even a loose Boyd Rice connection just adds one more log to the fire.

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