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"The strange, preachy, profitable saga of Billy Jack"
May 31, 2014 5:48 AM   Subscribe

"It’s most logical to conceive of Billy Jack as a dream-movie accidentally created by a spiritually confused, LSD-addled 19-year-old who fell asleep in the early 1970s while watching a weird, humorless movie about a half-Native American/half-Caucasian warrior who does not want to fight, because he’s too good—both in the sense of being a singularly skilled one-man killing machine, and in subscribing to a higher moral and ideological cause than his bloodthirsty brothers-in-arms And yet he’s pushed by circumstances into dramatically kicking ass, over and over." Nathan Rabin takes a long look at the bizarre pair of blockbusters Billy Jack and The Trial of Billy Jack.

Metafilter has touched on Laughlin previously, but Rabin's study focuses on how such wonderfully off kilter films were able to capture some cultural zeitgeist and make money hand over fist.

To clarify, there were actually five films in the series: The Born Losers (trailer), Billy Jack (trailer), The Trial of Billy Jack, Billy Jack goes to Washington (trailer) and The Return of Billy Jack.

For some behind-the-scenes insight into the man and the legend that was Tom Laughlin, here's an interview with David Roya, who played one of the main villains in Billy Jack.

Or perhaps you just wanted the ass kicking? Ok, here's some ass kicking.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (66 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Rabin also wrote about Billy Jack Goes to Washington back when he was at the AV Club, as part of his highly entertaining "My Year of Flops" series. However, this more recent article does a much better job of conveying the weirdness of the whole enterprise.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:10 AM on May 31


I've always said that Billy Jack was the original good-man-pushed-too-far that populated 70's and 80's cinema. The ancestor of Dirty Harry, Death Wish et al. The hippie stuff just shows how confuse we all were. We wanted peace and equality, but we were also angry and wanted to kick ass.
posted by jonmc at 6:13 AM on May 31 [7 favorites]


...an intensely violent homage to non-violence.

HA! Yep, exactly.
posted by NoMich at 6:27 AM on May 31


jonmc, according to the linked article, it was the fifth highest grossing movie of its year, behind Dirty Harry, among others. So... Probably not the ancestor there.
posted by kavasa at 6:30 AM on May 31


According to Wikipedia, the last one was never finished, after Laughlin was injured during a fight scene and ran out of money. He made several attempts to get the production going again, at one point as part of a proposed Iraq exit strategy under the title Billy Jack's Crusade to End the War in Iraq and Restore America to Its Moral Purpose.
posted by effbot at 6:30 AM on May 31


Metafilter: members who sweat whiskey and gasoline.
posted by symbioid at 6:32 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Can't really be the ancestor of Dirty Harry if it came in 5th the same year Dirty Harry came in 1st, can it? Maybe cousin.
posted by symbioid at 6:33 AM on May 31


Say what you like, Tom Laughlin busts some awesome Hapkido moves in Billy Jack, and the movie's cinematographer and editor follow him every step of the way. Take a moment to watch the "Redneck" sequence (the "ass" link in "some ass kicking" above). The box-office success of Billy Jack is largely due to this sequence, which was a revolutionary leap in presenting martial arts on the screen, paving the way for the action movies of the 70s and 80s. It's almost surreal in its level of brilliance and innovation, using varied camera angles, thoughtful, realistic martial arts choreography, and, most importantly, a smattering of slo-mo to intensify the action. For comparison, here's what martial arts looked like on the big screen nine years earlier, in Manchurian Candidate, where Sinatra's "power move" consists in splitting a hardwood table in half with a goofy karate chop.

Billy Jack vaulted martial arts flicks beyond the schlocky, chop-sockey, karate-chop based (and insidiously racist) choreography of the fifties and sixties. Some of this lingered on in grindhouse flicks of the seventies, true. But Billy Jack showed the world how it should be done. And its martial arts choreography and editing stands up to the best in this summer's blockbusters (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I'm looking at you).
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:34 AM on May 31 [18 favorites]


Heh, or uh... what kavasa said.
posted by symbioid at 6:39 AM on May 31


But the first film in the series, The Born Losers, predated Dirty Harry by a few years.
posted by ovvl at 7:05 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


Many years ago I was having a beer with a friend at a small bar. There were a dozen or so people in couples and groups, eating and drinking and talking. My friend noticed that Billy Jack was playing on the TV over the bar and I began watching. The movie got to the scene that Gordion Knott describes so eloquently above and all of sudden the bartender says: "Shhhh!!" and turns up the sound. The *entire* bar went silent as everyone watched the scene unfold. When it concluded, the bartender turned the sound back down and everyone went back to talking.
posted by jammy at 7:37 AM on May 31 [11 favorites]


Years ago (in Whole Earth Review?) I read the Billy Jack movies described as a strange combination of pacifism and fascism. I still think that is a pretty good phrase that encapsulates the unique brand of weirdness on display there.
posted by seasparrow at 7:41 AM on May 31


Well, order aside, I think my main point still stands.
posted by jonmc at 7:46 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


It seems to me to be a teenage fantasy with production values. I can't stomach Laughlin. "The Master Gunfighter" was terrible.
posted by Repack Rider at 7:49 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


If asked, my beloved stepfather's favorite movie is Billy Jack. Given what I know how he was raised, I am now at an age where this choice fascinates me.
posted by Kitteh at 8:13 AM on May 31


Years ago (in Whole Earth Review?) I read the Billy Jack movies described as a strange combination of pacifism and fascism.

Pacifascism.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:13 AM on May 31 [12 favorites]


It seems to me to be a teenage fantasy with production values.

Yep, a teenage fantasy that far too many men, especially in the U.S., never seem to outgrow.
posted by gimli at 8:18 AM on May 31 [4 favorites]


Two things I love: Billy Jack always is given about 5 minutes for a lengthy monologue before the ass-kicking starts, and his hat is never ever dirty.
posted by xingcat at 8:19 AM on May 31 [5 favorites]


A few odd things about these flicks, unlike most of it's spawn, Billy Jack does feature a sympathetic cop character and a nifty theme song.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Years ago (in Whole Earth Review?) I read the Billy Jack movies described as a strange combination of pacifism and fascism.

Pacifascism.


Pascifism.
posted by Etrigan at 8:59 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


To say nothing of it continuing the day-glo reign of that awful overwrought song we were stuck singing over and over in music class in the seventies.
posted by sonascope at 9:07 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Ugh. Every time the original or its first sequel showed up on the Channel 18 Saturday afternoon movie in the late 70s-early 80s, I risked a headlock and a skull pounding from my 2-years older cousin if I tried to change the station (only one TV in the house). I thought they were shitty, narratively confused, poorly acted, and badly written piles of dung, just like those terrible kung fu movies he liked.

I guess I should've watched to pay attention to the ass-whooping tricks instead of the story, and maybe I could've won and seen my Doctor Who that week.

And I hate that song! So bloody sanctimonious.
posted by droplet at 9:22 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Say what you like, Tom Laughlin busts some awesome Hapkido moves in Billy Jack, and the movie's cinematographer and editor follow him every step of the way.

What I'd like to say is that in the interview with David Roya, he says,
Bong Soo Han was the guy who really did the martial arts on Billy Jack, who was a very good friend of mine. I studied with him. He just died about a year ago. He was one of the fathers of Hopkido in the US. Wonderful guy. Sweet guy. If you look at the scene in the park…you know that scene? Where Billy Jack’s jumping up and he does that double kick? Well if you slow that down you’ll see a Korean face. Laughlin, I might add, was telling people in the industry that he was doing everything, which was total bullshit.
So maybe it wasn't Laughlin busting those awesome moves.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:29 AM on May 31 [6 favorites]


I am probably the only person in my high school who never watched a Billy Jack movie, and I am okay with that. But I have to say that amongst my friends and classmates, they LOVED those movies.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:30 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


it was the fifth highest grossing movie of its year, behind Dirty Harry, among others. So... Probably not the ancestor there.

yeah, I saw them both in the early months of 1972, and Dirty Harry first, though Billy Jack may have had an earlier release date. Movies tended to linger around longer in those days, particularly "smaller" ones, moving from town to town, suburb to suburb, slowly building word of mouth ... and Billy Jack definitely had that.

I do remember the day I saw it. Around Easter sometime, Toronto. I would've been twelve, a few months short of thirteen. It was a school day. A friend and I were supposed to be going to the Royal Ontario Museum (not a field trip, just a two kid research thing, unescorted -- things were different in those days). Anyway, we decided different research was required. Specifically, The Godfather had just opened and we needed to be the first in our class to see it (bragging rights). But the first show was already sold out, so we had a few hours to kill, and there, just down the block, was that movie all the older sort of hippie kids were raving about:

Billy Jack.

Let's just say it was made for twelve (almost thirteen) year old boys in 1972. It had way cool violence. It had a bit of sex. It had corrupt adults. It had hippies trying to save the world, also making fun of squares. It had just enough cool eastern (sort of) philosophy to justify the way cool violence. SPOILER ALERT. It ended in defiance with a way cool song.

The Godfather wasn't near as good.

Two or three years later, I saw Billy Jack again, and it didn't seem to have aged that well. It seemed to be trying way too hard, and that song wasn't as good as I remembered. And The Trial of Billy Jack -- that stunk, (SPOILER ALERT), the massacre at the end coming as a relief, all those hippies deserving to die, even the little kid with the rabbit.

Billy Jack does feature a sympathetic cop character

Jump ahead fifteen or so years (early 90s by now), and I'm down in LA, mucking around, and I meet a wannabe screenwriter (call him Rob) who's working a spec-remake of Billy Jack. Or as he put it, a re-think -- telling the whole thing from the cop's point of view, Sherriff Cole (nicely played by Clark Howat in the original), the good man of the older generation who's stuck in the middle watching everything go horribly wrong ... as they so often did in that long lost decade that happened between the 60s + the 70s (as Hunter Thompson put it).

And the thing is, Rob was right. Sherriff Cole really is the most interesting character in the thing ... and I'm still waiting for that movie. I seem to recall Rob's working title was The Trouble With Billy Jack.
posted by philip-random at 9:32 AM on May 31 [7 favorites]


Note to evil henchmen:

Try to catch him while he's monologuing.

Otherwise he's going to do that thing with his foot and your head.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 9:36 AM on May 31 [4 favorites]


There was one remake.
posted by w0mbat at 9:38 AM on May 31


BETTER note to evil henchman:

While he's busy spouting his monologue, stand back with loaded automatic weaponry. Fire until he shuts up.
posted by easily confused at 9:50 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


And I hate that song! So bloody sanctimonious.

DON'T YOU EVER DAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT COVEN!! Seriously, those dudes will sic Satan after your ass. Plus, Jinx has the greatest voice ever.
posted by NoMich at 9:53 AM on May 31


DON'T YOU EVER DAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT COVEN!! Seriously,

The Canadian original was better anyway.
posted by philip-random at 9:59 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Can't believe this thread has gone this long without a reference to David Carradine's character in Kung Fu, who is far and away the closest spiritual and ideological twin to Billy Jack.

I was a child of the 70s, and I loved this genre. I happened to catch one of the Billy Jack films lately and I was amazed at how badly it has aged. How could I possibly have enjoyed this movie?? Oh yeah, I was 7...
posted by mikeand1 at 10:16 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


The movie was about being young. In this case, the young--being perceptive enough to understand that adults were veritably swimming in hypocrisy and bigotry--were stupid enough to believe they could do something about it. Okay, embarrassingly naïve.

I saw only two of the movies. I liked them both, but I realized at the time that they were so heavily ensconsed in the times that they would not age well--so many inside references that mainstreamers would not be able to easily engage with the young folks. But they did captured a good bit of the flavor of the times. This was a thing I believed was, and still is, impossible. All the movies I've seen about those days could barely even touch an aspect, never mind represent a significant portion.

Rambo missed the best part of those two decades--came in too late--and Dirty Harry was so narrowly focused that we got little beyond Eastwood's grimace and the notion that a big gun was better than a little gun. Okay, there was his semi-squeeze--the woman who lived upstairs, who seemed to be one of those semi-hippyish types who ran on flower power, but kept her day job.. She claimed he was her first cop. Maybe she was his first flower child. They never talked about it much. The value in the Dirty Harry series was manifold, but at it's core, we were assured that all this shit would soon pass, and we would still be treated to shotguns in the phone booth and Uzi's in the hallway, connected by car chases.

I was a little bit past post adolescence when Billy Jack came out, but I was still trying to enjoy the fantasy that I could eat my cake and have it to. I mean, who really likes violence? Who doesn't want to give it up? Who likes to kick ass? Righteous, is what it was. You would benefit to remember that many folks in my generation were sifting weirdness: conventional spirituality was failing us, or seemed to be, and the ilk of such as Carlos Casteneda was asking us to believe the extraordinary, even if it was hard to swallow...the only good part about his was the generalization that it was the trip, not the destination, that mattered. We did love our double entendre, yes we did.

Although I was really taken in at the time, Billy Jack seems dated now. From the viewpoint of my own dotage, Tom does lay it on a bit thick...maybe we all grew up. Anyhow, kids nowadays would rather steal simulated cars and go on simulated spec-op missions where they can mow down simulated enemies with their simulated automatic weapons. This beats the simulated, but righteous, beatdown of a bunch of knot-head townies any day. I'm sort of glad I won't be on that particular bandwagon.

If the BJ movies seem dated and over the top to us nowadays, then maybe that's a good metric to show where our ambient moral sense now resides: compared to the notion (we had in those days) that all that wacky mainstream bullshit and corruption that we figured would tumble under its own rotten tonnage. See, we never gave peace a chance, and all that idealism was tossed out to feed the pigs. They won. Now we tread in deep water waiting for the critters to come up from the deep end of the gene pool to chew on our toes.

I mean, sure, it would have been nice if I could hit that side of your head with this side of my foot--enlightening you while making all my troubles go away. It would be nicer if I could bunker up and let those among us who are going to hell proceed at their own chosen speed, the theory being they would leave me alone. Oh, Billy Jack, come back.
posted by mule98J at 10:28 AM on May 31 [6 favorites]


Can't believe this thread has gone this long without a reference to David Carradine's character in Kung Fu,

yeah, I was going to get into Kung Fu, but my comment was long enough already. In retrospect, it was magnitudes more sophisticated than Billy Jack (but still packing the required fusion of mystical insight and kickass justified violence).

And here it is, The Praying Mantis Kills (best episode ever)
posted by philip-random at 10:31 AM on May 31


billy jack versus kwai chang caine from "kung fu". who would win?
posted by bruce at 10:33 AM on May 31


Always thought of Billy Jack as a PaciFIST. Eternally trapped between the yin and the yang of the '70's.
posted by mygoditsbob at 10:37 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


My introduction to the movies of the 70s came mostly from a hand me down Mad magazine collection. I distinctly remember being a huge fan of the Mad version, and really disappointed when I finally saw the Original version.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:48 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


I remember when the first movie came out. All those pretentious evil establishment dudes getting their asses kicked. It was so much fun. We did all love this movie, and I still do, despite it looking a bit dated these days. Now that I am older the revenge, karma is served, aspects of this movie seem much less satisfying. Perhaps I am more mature, or perhaps Tarantino has ruined revenge flicks for me with all his over the top excess. Anyway, when I was 12 Billy Jack was my hero.
posted by caddis at 10:53 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]




It was in high school that my friends & I started using the phrase "To Billy Jack someone" as code for kicking them in the face.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:13 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


mule98J: " Anyhow, kids nowadays would rather steal simulated cars and go on simulated spec-op missions where they can mow down simulated enemies with their simulated automatic weapons. "

Now you're making me picture a Billy Jack videogame.
posted by RobotHero at 11:14 AM on May 31


this thread needs some music


"Subtitled for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing"

Because getting kicked in the ear can definitely affect your hearing. Also, snake venom.
posted by mikeand1 at 11:14 AM on May 31


Caine would take about 90 seconds of slow-mo action to knock Billy Jack on his ass and then the rest of the episode would be a flashback to Caine having to sweep floors in the monastery.
posted by Ber at 11:28 AM on May 31 [9 favorites]


Billy Jack is the patron saint of the stand your ground movement.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:33 AM on May 31


Wasn't Master Bong Soo Han the heavy in Fistful of Yen?

He was a fighter of extraordinary magnitude.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:36 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Billy Jack, kwai Chang Caine and Bruce Lee. I was 10 is '72 and these guys were all my hero's. They all had to be pushed so far by injustice and bullying before they would snap and kick all the bad guys asses. And the bad guys were evil enough and the good guys so patient that when enough was enough, anything that happened to them seemed justified. Maybe I managed to stay out of fights when I was young because when I was being picked on and the red heat would flare up in my head and I would shake like a leaf, my imagination would run a scenario where it would be me doing the ass kicking, and the bullies would be on the ground looking for their scattered marble with my footprint upside of their heads, and because the world in my head was as real as the one outside, if not more so, that was good enough for me. They may not hold up in the passage of time, but I am grateful for those childhood hero's and those simple ideals they set forth and lived up to. I wish I had been able to give something better to my son, because watching him playing Call of Doodie and GTA....
it just makes me sad, like I have failed him.
I apologize for not having RTFA yet, and I may not because I'm not sure I want those memories dissected by someone else just now. Maybe later
posted by Redhush at 11:39 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


I can't believe no one has yet mention the seminal Billy Jack film Billy Jerk Goes To Oz (NSFW). (From Loose Shoes)

"Finally Billy finds a whole nation he can both bully and defend."
posted by dannyboybell at 11:47 AM on May 31 [1 favorite]


I can't read anything about Hapkido without thinking of the big sign on Western avenue in Chicago that reads,

MARTIAL ART- NOT A SPORT
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:57 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


this thread needs some music

Unaware of Billy Jack until this tread, I've just seen (most of) the film on YT. Yeesh. All the earnestness and incoherence of 60s/70s counterculture, none of the drugs, sex and mind-rearrangement.

However, as a mine of diverse, well-shot footage of moving scenery of the era, it is deep indeed. That would make some awesome source material for a Boards of Canada fanvid.
posted by Devonian at 12:05 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Sidenote on the song One Tin Soldier: It was originally recorded by the Canadian band The Original Caste, and the version in the movie was performed by Jinx Dawson of the band Coven. She insisted that the band was credited in the film, though she actually performed with an orchestra. They later did release their own version of the song. Coven was a pioneering band in the use of occult & even straightforward satanic themes and prayers in their music, and they are widely credited as the first act to use the devil horns hand symbol as well as the inverted cross. Their occult image ended up hampering their mainstream success due in part to a backlash following an Esquire article that tied the California occult scene and everything associated with it to the Manson murders.
posted by gimli at 12:08 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


I was too young to see the Billy Jack films in the theaters but they used to run on late-night UHF and I would occasionally see parts of one as I flipped through the channels. To be honest the scene I remembered most from the first film, besides the karate-kicking guy with the beaded hat flipping out and straight kicking dudes in the face, was Howard Hesseman's stoned driving skit at the hippie school.

The weird thing I noticed about the hippie school scenes even as a kid was they felt like documentary footage instead of a Hollywood film. I saw that pseudo-documentary technique years later when I watched the commune scenes in Easy Rider. I can't off the top of my head think of more films that do that kind of digression; I guess it was an experimental late 60s-early 70s thing.
posted by Spatch at 1:09 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


I was a child of the UHF age, and it probably speaks to my distinct personality quirks that, while my friends identified with the sort of vigilante heroism of Billy Jack and Walking Tall and all those inexplicable kung fu films, I clung to the despairing nihilistic defeatism of Bless The Beasts And Children and fully expected to hang out with a hippie post-Lost-In-Space Billy Mumy, forge powerful friendships with fellow weirdos, then get shot to death in a truck by evil movie villain hunters whilst attempting to scare buffalo away for their own good.

Gosh, but the seventies was one grim decade.
posted by sonascope at 1:36 PM on May 31 [7 favorites]


Prom, 1973. Our high school tradition was that after the prom we'd eat a midnight dinner at the local greasy spoon and then the movie theater in a town thirty miles down the road would open at 2am for a movie. That year it was Bless the Beasts and the Children. It was chosen because the girls in our school loved the Carpenters song. We had no idea what we were in for. At 4am all the girls are crying, the boys are pissed off and confused, everyone went home or got blind drunk. Fuck that movie.
posted by Ber at 1:55 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


It's been a while since I saw it but I remember a scene in the first Billy Jack where some thugs are beating someone up and Billy Jack runs away in the least-heroic way possible. Because, you know, he can't use his skills because he's too good.
posted by basicchannel at 2:00 PM on May 31


It's funny, I totally got Walking Tall confused with Billy Jack when I read the headline, and got confused as to why Joe Don Baker didn't look like himself.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:51 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


(BTW: As is the norm with The Dissolve, the comments are HIGHLY worth reading.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:56 PM on May 31


According to Wikipedia, the last one was never finished, after Laughlin was injured during a fight scene and ran out of money. He made several attempts to get the production going again, at one point as part of a proposed Iraq exit strategy under the title Billy Jack's Crusade to End the War in Iraq and Restore America to Its Moral Purpose.
posted by effbot at 7:30 AM on May 31 [+] [!]


Clearly a graduate of the Sufjan Stevens School of Concise Titling, or I Have Written The Sentence And Now The Meaning Is Conveyed, or I'm Sorry But You're Going To Have To Use Less Words Now, or Hark! The Herald Editors Cringe.
posted by arto at 5:11 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Oh holy shit. I knew the name sounded familiar for some reason, and then Bong Soo Han came up. I studied at his dojang in west LA for a few years. I drifted away because of timing logistics and generally having lost interest in martial arts (having spent probably 15 years studying one or another at that point), but it was a great place that didn't suffer from any of the mcdojo/pay for belt colors bullshit that seemed to permeate LA dojos/dojangs.
I didn't spend much time with him, as he was already well on in years, but he seemed like a quality person, and I'm sure the quality of the people I did spend time with there reflected him.

Which made it all the sadder when the location became a crossfit not long after his passing.
posted by flaterik at 5:26 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]


I had never heard of Billy Jack, but learned about it because my roommate would go bats every time Concrete TV would do the NO DRUGS / CARRY YOUR OWN LOAD interstitial. If you like Billy Jack, you should definitely buy the Concrete TV DVD.
posted by 99_ at 8:24 PM on May 31


"One Tin Soldier" indeed. We regularly sang it at Church in the late-70s.

(And by Church, I mean Mass. Catholic Mass. On an Air Force Base. In a the Base movie theater with a folk group filled with young airmen and their wives. And the airmen had the longest hair and sideburns that military regulations allowed at the time.)
posted by Ranucci at 8:56 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Mrs. Martin, the socialist commie folk singer music teacher in my rural Nevada elementary school to whom I am forever indebted taught us One Tin Soldier and I can still hear our nine-year old voices staining to hit the notes. I still feel a pang when the valley people open that treasure. Sob.
posted by telstar at 10:48 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


speaking of that lost decade that happened somewhere between the 1960s and the 1970s, I remember seeing this on The Sonny + Cher Show (the Christmas program)
posted by philip-random at 11:35 PM on May 31 [2 favorites]


The weird thing I noticed about the hippie school scenes even as a kid was they felt like documentary footage instead of a Hollywood film. I saw that pseudo-documentary technique years later when I watched the commune scenes in Easy Rider. I can't off the top of my head think of more films that do that kind of digression; I guess it was an experimental late 60s-early 70s thing.

Zabriskie Point also has a lot of that vibe, with young student activists going on and on about how the revolution will play out, and some fantastic footage of Los Angeles at the time that truly is documentary.

Re: One Tin Soldier:
I was in first grade when Billy Jack, as both movie and pop culture icon, was a huge thing. That song played well with Miss Tracy, our Irish born teacher at Mary Immaculate Catholic School, a very fiery, passionate woman who loved that odd rainbow class of working class whites, Chicanos, African Americans, and mixed ethnic kids. That song, and Seasons in the Sun.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:55 AM on June 1


a strange combination of pacifism and fascism.

Worth nothing, then, that the Nazi (for one example) instance of fascism viewed itself as protecting the peace. (In 1939, the last of the Nuremberg rallies, this one named for the "Reich Party of Peace", was called off ... on account of the invasion of Poland.)

And I do think it's instructive to look at this review of this film, especially, in the light of Eco's Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt.
posted by dhartung at 12:05 PM on June 1 [2 favorites]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit, you have our gratitude.
posted by mpark at 6:29 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


I clung to the despairing nihilistic defeatism of Bless The Beasts And Children

I read the book when I was young. I thought it was pretty intense.
posted by ovvl at 9:38 PM on June 1


Wasn't Master Bong Soo Han the heavy in Fistful of Yen?

He was.
posted by homunculus at 9:13 PM on June 7


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