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Variety1983

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  • 3.3
Christine (Sandy McLeod), a bright and unassuming young woman, takes a job selling tickets at a theater near Times Square. Instead of distancing herself from the dark nature of this milieu, Christine soon develops an obsession that begins to consume her life. The character's reaction unexpectedly flips normal gender roles; director Gordon daringly twists feminist ideology by showing a woman who finds self-expression. VARIETY becomes even more provocative when it dramatizes the changes that occur in Christine's relationships with both Mark (Will Patton), her boyfriend, and Louie, a dangerous-looking patron of the theater. VARIETY was adapted for the screen by Kathy Acker, was photographed by Tom DiCillo (who was the cinematographer on the early Jim Jarmusch features though he is perhaps better-known these days as the director of LIVING IN OBLIVION) and features a great score by John Lurie (of the Lounge Lizards).

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"Novelist Kathy Acker wrote this feminist take on the effects of pornography, but its portrait of the seedy culture of Times Square in the Reagan era is just as fascinating." - Sean Axmaker, Keyframe


Member Reviews (9)

Set on a distant planet that resembles Earth in some ways, Aliens spend their lives mimicking Times Squire behavior they observed during frequent visits there.

Most real earthlings who watch this film will be wasting their time.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Drawn to watching this through learning quite recently of the long-ago death of Kathy Acker, probably heightened slightly by the possible prurience of the subject matter, I found myself bored. While there was some early promise to the casual, Alice in Wonderland exploration of Christine's entree into the seedy, human world of 1980s Times Square from an interesting and unique perspective, as well as the visuals of a New York long since hauled out to an expressway or dump somewhere or glossed over with movie lot quality exteriors, there was little story that developed.

(minor spoilers ahead)

While I recall Harriet the Spy being one of my favorite books when I was 8 or 9, come on already. The film degenerates in a most banal and purposeless manner after awhile.

Ultimately, this is a narrative with little more than weight than the names/reps of some of the participants. There's a lot of promise in this early performance of Rudy Gonzalez and a general decency throughout that seems, in thinking about it, almost surreal.

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top reviewer

i really like parts of this film _other parts are flat_Christine is great _i don't get the whole Louie thing_Nan is cool the whole thing feels good except for Louie_more cool then not

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top reviewer

Our heroine loves to dip her feet in the water but seems to enjoy it more as she lets it out of the drain. She's an average girl, literally thrust by fate into manning the box office at a seedy Times Square porn cinema. From there, she enters the underworld and assimilates quickly, but on her own terms. She wanders lackadaisily through the peep shows and and sex shops. But, as a woman with no context in her socialization for such an environment, confusion ensues as to what her role as a woman means. Her current boyfriend shows disdain for her graphic commentary and grows more distant throught he film. When a patron of the cinema shows interest in her, she is at first skeptical. Clearly he is the opposite of her boyfriend in every way. Her journey to explore how she imagines her femininity might meet *her* fantasy of his expectations for her as a woman is exciting and chilling as it unfolds. A fabulous feminist film if you can stand the backdrop of 80's Times Square.

Fantastic artifact of 1980's New York & an emerging feminist sensibility. It's an original and refreshing vision.

A dilemma that is faced by white girls w/little social privilege - akin to all rites of passage in that it hones in on the inevitable day of reckoning when the best of sincere ideals & hope/ambition ...(naivete?) have to make sense & outweigh actuality...We don't know a thing about her sex drive! I liked that.

Da, no comment!

Protagonists motivations were not clear. How did she know where to follow the gangster? Inconceivable that he didn't see her. Her tell-all at the end seemed out of character but I did like the ambiguity of the closing scene.