From roaring hot rods...to the racing big time, Jack Nicholson shines as Johnny, the kid who constantly gets into trouble with his gang of troublemakers. Johnny is embittered by his friend Dave's (Robert Bean) betrayal of their wild and reckless life, he kidnaps Dave's girlfriend Nancy (Georgianne Carter) and takes her on a dangerous, high-speed romp while attempting to evade capture by the local cops.
Where The Mild Things Are
- The Wild Ride review by Count Otto Black
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You know you're probably not going to get too many high-budget thrills when a fifties B-movie pinches the pennies till they scream by scraping so close to the 60-minute mark it needs to reach to technically be a cinematic feature that in the slightly faster DVD format it's not even quite an hour long. This sorry effort doesn't disappoint in that respect.
Naturally, it disappoints in every other possible way. A very young Jack Nicholson looks good in comparison to everyone else because he's actually giving a performance. Otherwise, he's little more than an absolute beginner coping adequately with a dreadful script. And when I find myself thinking, during a scene when the leading lady, who is also allegedly the most sympathetic character, is in danger, something along the lines of: "that girl really ought to change her hairstyle, and she's not that pretty, and when's this 'wild ride' we've been promised gonna start 'cos we're running outta movie here! - oh yeah, PS, I wonder whether or not she'll be raped in a minute?", there is clearly something amiss with the acting, the direction, the script, and possibly the Universe!
Nicholson has the unenviable task of speaking every single one of his lines in hideous pre-hippie beatnik slang because that's how the probably not very young and deeply uncool scriptwriter assumed cool kids spoke, in the same way that if this movie was remade today, the youngsters would all say "awesome" with such monotonous regularity that they sounded like donkeys. Well, he tries... All the major characters are supposed to be about 18, but apparently the average mental age of the men is more like 12, because they're so confused about girls that they come across as desperately trying not to admit they're gay, an almost certainly unintentional aspect of the movie which to modern eyes is far more entertaining than anything that's actually meant to be there.
As for the rest? Kids bicker on the beach, dance listlessly to dreary xylophone jazz, impress each other by driving in suicidally stupid ways which the budget strains to show us for even a few seconds, and argue like people in a botched lobotomy support group about the merits of true love versus deliberately trying to have near-fatal road accidents. There's a hot-rod derby which looks as though it must have consumed at least half the budget, but even so, nothing much really happens. And the inevitable car crash at the end is, I think, the lowest-budget vehicular mishap ever filmed! Even Edward D. Wood Jr. would have at least thrown in some non-matching stock-footage to make it look as though a car had actually crashed!
By the way, in terms of picture quality and sound, this DVD is very much of the "nobody gives a hoot about this worthless old waste of celluloid except the Jack Nicholson Fan Club, therefore production standards are irrelevant so we might as well save some money here" variety. Ah well, at least it was short.