Friday, March 18, 2016
'The Trip' BD: Peter Fonda Drops Acid in Groovy Roger Corman Joint
Purveyor of the best art-house and '80s movies out there Olive Films takes a groovy trip to 1967 regarding the March 22, 2016 Blu-ray (BD) release of the psychedelic Roger Corman film "The Trip." The enhanced picture and sound of the BD format are tailor-made for the bright and/or surreal images and apt soundtrack of this Corman directed movie of a Jack Nicholson script.
Fonda plays artistically unfulfilled television commercial director Paul Groves, whose other issues include an imminent divorce from wife Sally. This angst and a general curiosity regarding the effects of LSD prompt Paul to drop acid at the home of LSD veteran John (whom Bruce Dern portrays). John telling Paul that he will stay with him as long as necessary and otherwise preparing him for the titular journey is one of the best scenes of this film full of wonderfully bizarre images that are very consistent with the Corman style.
The progress of Paul into his altered state seems authentic both in terms of his experience and Nicholson and Corman depicting the events. Paul starts out fascinated with an orange, moves onto pleasant erotic images, finds himself pursued by actual and figurative demons associated with his psyche, and has genuine wild adventures in the real world. A mind-blowing element comes in the form of several scenes in which both Paul and the audience cannot tell whether it is live or it is Memorex.
The apt comparisons to surreal master Fellini include a dwarf medieval character, black-hooded figures on horseback, copious nudity and related sexual activity, and nightmarish images that justify Paul asking for Thorazine.
The extent to which this textbook late-60s film accurately depicts the upper-class drug culture of the era is uncertain to the not-so-old and relatively innocent eyes of your not-so-humble reviewer. However, this opportunity to vicariously be fully free is incredibly appealing in these dystopian times nearly 50 years later in which virtually every segment of the population actively hates at least one other demographic and our next president is likely to either be a egomaniac who thrives on racial discord or a woman whose miraculous escapes from scandal seem to prompt her to ramp up her apparent disregard for the law.
On an even larger level, they don't make 'em like "The Trip" anymore or provide that many opportunities to see films that get it as right as this truly moving picture by a bunch of guys who know of which they speak. It definitely is much better than the more kid-friendly Monkees psychcom "Head" from the same era.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "The Trip" is strongly encouraged to either email me or connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.