Taking Back the Exclamation
Some bad movies are so memorable I am sure that I have seen them even though I have, even after I finally see them for the first time. Case in point is Boom (alternately known as Boom! which I finally saw last night). It confirms a long-standing theory I have had that back in the late 1960s, there was a movement within the studios to save a big budget movie in trouble by adding an exclamation point to the title. Cases in point: Star! (1968), Hello, Dolly! (1969) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) I think the main reason that last one failed is the stacatto nature of the punctuation that should have been a crescendo of tora. Tora! TORA!!!!!
I've not seen any back story on it, but apparently Boom (as it is credited in the opening titles and some early posters must have gained the exclamation point after test screening. Some marketing genius must have recognized that no one would pay to see a movie called Boom, but they would come in droves to see one called Boom!
Boom sort of reminds me of Eckhardt Tolle's The Power of Now. Tolle says that the book was written so that you could pick it up and read any two pages out of sequence and gain something from those few paragraphs. I think the same is true of Boom, and it's really hard to watch more than five minutes of it at a time. For example, the six or seven minutes of the Asian themed dinner party with Liz Noël Coward as the Witch of Capri is a brilliant, free-standing short play, and it's unfortunate with all that comes before and after it. Liz is offended that Coward sees her Kabuki gown and asks if they are having Chinese food, but she has no problems having sitar players provide the incongruent musical mood for the evening.
Boom is a sort of non-linear movie and probably makes more sense viewed in separate, short sittings and in no particular sequence. It also is sort of like tofu or eggplant in that it could be paired with just about anything -- the Mediterranean villa works nicely with the one in Contempt, the script is a shadow of Night of the Iguana, and like Bunny Lake Is Missing, it has Coward playing a witty old perv.