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Laramie Movie Scope:
Drive, He Said

Fractured dramedy replicates '60s campus confusion

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(1971) As the university's basketball team plays, a group of student radicals in military camouflage watch the game on TV, as their leader Gabriel (Michael Margotta) makes a speech, "'Or shall we - and why not - buy a big goddamn car and drive?' he said," before leading them into the auditorium to interrupt the athletic event by turning off the lights. Held in detention, Gabriel mocks the campus police.

Gabriel's roommate, Hector Bloom (William Tepper), is the university's star All American. "Do something before it's too late," Gabriel exhorts, criticizing Hector for just playing a game in a "diseased culture" while serious events are taking place in the world and for letting a "bitch," Olive (Karen Black), get her claws in him.

Filmed at the University of Oregon in Eugene, directed by basketball fan Jack Nicholson (who has a brief cameo appearance) and co-written with Jeremy Larner (adapting his own novel) - along with uncredited assistance from Robert Towne and Terrence Malick - this fractured dramedy attempts to replicate campus confusion, jocks and revolutionaries, during the Vietnam War. It features frontal nudity of males (including a scene of athletes playing grab-ass in the shower) and females.

Olive, who lives with Richard (Robert Towne), asks Hector not to sleep with other girls; they go shopping for rat traps and rutabaga. As Hector's attitude becomes twisted - sounding like Herman Melville's Bartleby, "I prefer not to," when Coach Bullion (Bruce Dern) orders him to run raps as punishment - with the NBA draft approaching, Gabriel freaks to beat the draft board, acting up during the induction session by reading the eye chart ("F U C ") and attacking the psychiatrist.

Olive says she's pregnant; Hector replies he has the clap. After numerous incidents of infractions without serious penalty, leading up to Hector's being thrown out of a game for punching an opponent on the court, Coach Bullion asks the other members of the Tigers to vote on whether or not to suspend Hector.

Meanwhile, Gabe, completely out of control, defenestrates a toilet before going off the deep end. Among the cast in bit parts are David Ogden Stiers as a pro owner and Cindy Williams as the team manager's girlfriend.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

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