Monday, January 12, 2015

Bummer (1973)

Hopelessly confused in terms of conception and execution, Bummer eventually finds its groove as a killer-on-the-loose movie, but that occurs far too late to make any difference. Until reaching its final act, the picture is a meandering mixture of generic melodrama and unfunny comedy, set in the lurid world of rock musicians and their groupies. Like so many grade-Z pictures of the same era, Bummer pads its running time with dull sequences of topless dancers grinding away, as well as endless vignettes of interchangeable characters screwing in fields and vans and pretty much anyplace with flat surfaces. At some point, a story emerges about Butts (Dennis Burkley), the unhinged bass player of a rock band called The Group. We know he’s unhinged because of the strange intercut sequence juxtaposing shots of another band member having conventional sex with shots of Butts getting swatted on the rear end until he climaxes. The first hour of the picture is borderline incoherent, as well as being unquestionably déclassé, so it’s a relief once Butts begins his violent rampage. Thereafter, the picture gains a modicum of focus and momentum, even as it degrades into even sleazier terrain than before—think rape, murder, and vengeance. Later still, when Bummer segues into a characteristically downbeat ’70s ending, the picture inches dangerously close to having style and themes. However, reaching that point requires trudging through so much pointless junk that the ending is less a saving grace than a minor respite. So, while the film’s title is a fairly accurate description of its narrative content, the title is also a spot-on description of the experience of watching Bummer. Virtually any other activity would better reward an investment of 90 minutes.

Bummer: LAME

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