Friday, July 10, 2009

Answers to Questions Youth Must Understand

Last night I watched Zabriskie Point for about the twelfth time. I catch it every three to four years, and it seems a little less pretentious to me each time. It played an important part in my formative years, like something peaked at through a key hole since my parents would not respond to my demands that they take me to see it. (My amazingly hip grandmother, who took me to see The Boys in the Band the same year, would not cave in on this one.)

One afternoon in 1969, I came home from middle school to find the above copy of Look magazine with the image of Mark Frechette on the right answered a question that hadn't been all that mysterious to me anyway. It certainly cleared up any doubt about why I had no interest in going to the honor society banquet with Darla in my civics class.

Frechette is not exactly a one hit wonder since he did two other movies afterwards, albeit in Italy. As far as I know, he's the only guy to star in a movie and then be put in jail for holding up a bank to garner funds for a commune. He died in prison at 27 when 150 pound barbells he was lifting choked him to death. Someday I will have to track down the documentary on his life, Death Valley Superstar.

Two years later, I moved on from my obsession with Mark Frechette to Mark Spitz. (It's fittingly ironic that the below clip is from the same episode of the Dick Cavett Show that I posted a couple of weeks ago.)

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At 9:21 AM, Blogger ArtSparker said...

I am glad you were able to move on. I don't know that Mark Frechette would have produced offspring, but possibly it is just as well he removed himself from the gene pool (strangling himself with a barbell?). Hope that isn't too harsh.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Susan - I never completely moved on, but I am not offended. Sounds like he wasn't your favorite guy?

At 1:24 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

That was incredible. What the hell was she wearing? And: I've met a lot of people in my life. A lot of them were stoned, a lot of them were idiots, and Mark there was a part of that one subset who manage to be both.

Fascinating hairstyling, though. I've never made it all the way through that movie, not certain I'm gonna try, but that documentary sounds fascinating.

And I'm loving all this Cavett stuff.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - I don't think I've converted anyone to the Mark Frechette or "Zabriskie Point" fan club. Oh, well.

Some of those Cavett interviews on the web are real treasures. Mr. C can be a complete goof, but the guests and topics he managed to procure are pretty amazing treasures.

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous The Angry Young Man said...

That Frechette character has terrible teeth.

He basically reminds me of every urban hipster male in my immediate four block radius.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous The Angry Young Man said...

I've moved Zabriskie Point up to the top of my Netflix queue.

At 9:57 PM, Blogger WAT said...

Frechette and the girl seemed detached and blah during this interview. Mel Brooks and Dick Cavett look so young here, but look at how many years ago this was! WOW!

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Angry - Well, if you react to ZP the way most people do, don't blame me (please)

WAT - It is hard to believe that Mel Brooks was ever young, even when he was marching with the Union in the Civil War.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger The Blue Elephant said...

Around the U.S. bicentennial year, there were films that seemed to comment on that with a portrait of the U.S. 1976 -- TAXI DRIVER is one, and I am sorry that I cannot remember the others. Somehow I thought Zabrieski Point was one of them, but clearly I am wrong. I guess it was just that it was Antonioni's first film set in the U.S., and I love it as a great and searing portrait -- two empty-headed actors, the male chosen because he had a violent nature; loads of alienation and vacant-mindedness: brother and sister, the U.S. family, meet only when their vehicles arrive at the same spot along a highway. Love-hate sickness of materialism in the explosively violent ending where U.S. products, all those lovely novelties, disintegrate. Plus the very name of the film being the geographical nadir of the continent as the film shows the country as the cultural nadir of the globe.

At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Fan said...

WOW! I also saw this magazine in 1969 when I was 16 and kept it hidden in my dresser for years. My first sorta porn. Frechette looks just like my first love, my farmboy cousin-he was French Canadian American too.
Junk Thief, I have pictures of Mark Frechette's right peach and big banana if you are interested. No lie. I'll check back.


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