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On the Nickel (1980)
10/10
Heartfelt, non-righteous, ironically funny look at skid-row life in Los Angeles.
20 June 1999
On The Nickle is a thoroughly forgotten film which I was lucky enough to tape from the "Z Channel" (now defunct) in Los Angeles many years ago. The brainchild of actor Ralph Waite (of Waltons), it was independently made on a very low budget. In it, Waite manages to balance the tragedy of skid-row life with humor and irony, and in spite of an easy, fellini-esque ending, tells a moving story of a man (Donald Moffat) a former alcoholic and skid row dweller, struggling to "put his demons to rest" as he searches the "Nickle" (Fifth Street) for his old pal, C.G., played by Ralph Waite. The movie is bookended by the Tom Waits song, "On The Nickle", presumably written for the movie, and has a score that quotes the song frequently. Maybe the Independent Film Channel will consider running it.
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The Westerner (1960– )
One of the most unusual and sophisticated westerns for its time or any other.
20 June 1999
One of the most unusual and sophisticated westerns for its time or any other. Those who have seen it (I was able to see all thirteen episodes in Peckinpah festival in NYC at Walter Reade Theatre) will know how revealing it is about Peckinpah and his developing film technique, and just how plain entertaining it is. Brian Keith is so watchable that it makes you regret the fact he spent so many years doing Family Affair where he was mostly catatonic. If there is any way of getting this series onto home video, I would love to join forces with anyone who had an idea of how to bring this about.
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