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December 2, 2004
Going down highway 61...
Did a vanity search on my name for the
first time in a long time (on rare
occasions I search for "doomfiles" or
"doom@kzsu" or something, very very
rarely "Joseph Brenner").
I noticed that rotten tomatoes had
some film reviews up by me.
Or at least I thought they were by
me. I read all the way through one
of them, without being able to remember IN_THE_IRON_MASK
the review. Or the movie. But the
stuff this guy was saying sounded MEMORY
a lot like stuff I *might* say,
in ways sort of like I *might* say it.
It was supposedly posted to
which is something I might
have done in the early
nineties, but don't
I kept looking for some But the other review they've got
little verbal tick that from me, that I remember writing
might give it away, some (Tetsuo: The Iron Man). That pretty
little cliche that I use much convinces me this is my work.
too often which would
make it clear it's by me. The doomfiles version is identical:
Kind of makes you wonder
what the point is doesn't
Anyway, here it is, courtesy of Rottentomatoes:
A film review by Joseph Brenner
Copyright 1992 Joseph Brenner
"Highway 61" is an attempt at being charming in a cult film
sort of way that never really comes off. The story is very
similar to, say, "Something Wild", and easily a dozen other
films: a geeky but nice guy meets a wild woman hot babe who
gets him involved with some weird happenings, and eventually
they fall in love. I'd rate it around -1 on the -4 to +4
In this case, our hero the geek is a barber in Canada who
has pretensions of being a trumpet player (he's awful). He
discovers a body lying in his back yard. Our hero the wild
woman (well, really the woman in this kind of story is more
of an archetypal image than a hero), is a heavy metal roadie
who decides to claim the body, so she can use it to smuggle
some stolen cocaine into the US. She manages to con our hero
into giving her a lift, so they strap the coffin on top of
his Ford Galaxie, and off they go down Route 61.
First demerit: none of this makes any sense. More
importantly, the nonsense isn't particularly engaging in any
way, it's just there.
The third character is the most interesting one, a guy who
thinks he's Satan, who goes around talking people into
selling him their souls. The joke is that they almost always
do it for something really trivial, because they don't take
him seriously. As you might expect, there's some ambiguity
about whether or not he's really Satan, but mostly he just
seems to be a nut. He wants the body our heroes are
There are also some dissolute ex-rock stars that are friends
of the wild woman, who engage in some degenerate activity
that might be mildly amusing.
The "surprising" conclusion to this movie makes even less
sense than the beginning, and it's even more
unsatisfying. It's supposed to be ironic and show some sort
of change of character on the part of the female character,
but it comes out of nowhere, and it doesn't really mean
So, there's an occasional funny line in this movie, and some
minor sound and fury near the end that might draw you in,
but it all seems too silly to matter, and it just doesn't go
Incidentally, there is a little Bob Dylan on the sound
track, but it's not the title cut, and it's probably just as
Ah, come to think of it, I do think
I remember having a "doomfiles node"
called HIGHWAY61 back in the old
It was one of the Lost Nodes...
at the time I blamed their
disappearence on disk trouble,
but later I wondered if it might
have been an emacs mistake.
Once upon a time emacs didn't have
region highlighting, and you could
(a) leave a large region selected
by mistake and (b) blow it away
with an accidental "control w".
Of course, if you *saw* it happen you'd
just undo it, or get the material back
from an automated backup file, but it's
at least possible I might have missed it
just that once.
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