Hal Ashby’s follow-up to 1971’s Harold and Maude is a similarly anti-authoritarian fable that emphatically chimes with America’s profound sense of post-Vietnam disillusionment. Funny, profane and achingly melancholic, the film, brilliantly scripted by Robert Towne, is an engaging and ultimately pessimistic combination of improvised road movie and homoerotic buddy tale.
“Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned to escort a naïve new Navy recruit from their Virginia base to a New England military prison where the recruit, Meadows (a young Randy Quaid) will serve an eight-year sentence for attempting to swipe church funds raised for charity by the commanding officer’s wife. Buddusky thinks that the sentence is a waste of Meadows’ formative years, and convinces a sceptical Mulhall to show the hapless Meadows a good time by partying on their per diem for the rest of the detail’s allotted week.
The screening on Sun 23 Jul will be accompanied by a free, informal post-screening discussion led by Maggie Hoffgen, Freelance Film Educator.