On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show, on KUCR 88.3 FM, I talked a little bit about the city Phoenix, Oregon and the film named after it. Why did I mention Phoenix, Oregon? Well, you heard a song by The Neighb'rhood Childr'n, a band that started out as The Navarros and before making the trek to San Francisco the group had their humble beginnings in Phoenix, a city which, at the time, had a very small population. Unfortunately, the city has recently been drastically transformed by the Almeda Drive Fire. It's a terribly sad situation right now but if you watch the film that's set in a fictional version of the city the proceeds will go to victims of the southern Oregon blazes. The movie is about a couple of friends that decide to ditch their mind-numbing jobs to follow their dreams and re-open a failed bowling alley with their version of the "world's greatest pizza." It really gives off similar vibes to the raw character driven independent movies that came out during the mid 90s.
Speaking of 90s independent films, Phoenix, Oregon features the acting talent of Kevin Corrigan, who happens to be in one of my favorite '90s indie films: Bandwagon.
|Kevin Corrigan as Al in Phoenix, Oregon and Wynn Knapp in Bandwagon
Usually on the show I talk about trashy horror films (because that's mostly what I watch) but this week I was feeling more nostalgic and decided to talk about a film that's a little more palatable for these unusual times. 1996's Bandwagon is about a young man named Tony Ridge that has a passion for songwriting but is burdened by his dead end job. Eventually he's fired and decides that it's finally time for him to try to start a band. Things get pretty hairy as he struggles with stage fright and his other various insecurities. While the plot may be dead simple the movie is full of charm through its world building and seemingly naive characters.
|Protagonist Tony Ridge hiding during his first practice session
Despite being a little hokey at times the world of Bandwagon feels so tangible. It makes you feel a sort of longing for those small town shows where maybe 15 to 20 people showed up and you can smell the musty record shop or recognize the type of mixing board that can be found at your old college radio station.
|Definitely more realistic looking than Night of The Comet's radio station!
During an interview scene that takes place at a college radio station you can see posters highlighting some of the music that was popular at the time including: the great album by Stereolab entitled Mars Audiac Quintet, Medicine's noisy single for their song Aruca, and God Street Wine's $1.99 Romances. Early in the film you can also spot a couple of well placed CDs on the cash register. Can's Landed and another Stereolab album Switched On. You also get a glimpse of Poison Ivy on a poster from The Cramps' Bikini Girls With Machine Guns. As I said, there is a lot of world building. Perhaps that's mostly just circumstantial due to filming at real life locations. The film is a nice change of pace and it's pretty easy to find floating around.
Hey, will you look at that. You can find this week's playlist below: