- Movie Rating -

Slamdance (1987)

| October 2, 1987

Last week I wrote a review of the movie Big Shots in which I noted that there is a good movie in here.  The same goes for the thriller Slamdance.  It’s not a very good movie, the plot doesn’t work but I sense that there is a good movie in here.  For my own purposes, this may become a new genre – The In-Here Movie.  I sincerely hope that I won’t have to use it too often.

In-Here Movies are frustrating because the potential is present, just not executed.  In the case of Slamdance we have a movie that was obviously conceived by watching a lot of Hitchcock with the wrong man in the wrong situation.  It has the form of Hitchcock thriller but not the function.

The wrong man in this case is C.C. Drood (Tom Hulce) a cartoonist whose marriage to his wife Helen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) is falling apart.  He’s having a lousy time, career-wise as well with his editor is riding his bad for missed deadlines,  Oh!  And he is sought by the cops in connection with Yolanda Caldwell (Virginia Madsen), a stripper who was found dead on the floor of his apartment; Detective Smiley (Harry Dean Stanton) and Gilbert (John Doe) want a word with him.  Oh!  And the guy responsible is a nervous-nelly named Buddy (Don Keith Opper) who wants to take out Drood to keep him from telling the detectives what he knows.

Smiley has reasons to suspect Drood because Yolanda was involved with some shady criminal-types which weaves a web from which Drood has to figure a way out.  That includes reestablishing his relationship with Helen who despises him but cares only enough for the good of their young daughter.  If I sound like I’m being vague, it’s only because it would be exhausting to go down the labyrinth of clues and dead-ends provided by this plot.

I should say PLOT! because this movie gets itself into a morass of noir traps that even Raymond Chandler would have to work overtime to sort out.  Seriously, I lost interest.  I wanted the people.  I wanted Drood and his relationship with Helen and further his relationship with Yolanda.  The people are here.  They are damaged and emotional and, in very small doses, are allowed to show humanity.  These are good actors, but I wish the plot would get out of their way.


About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Drama