TRASH (director/writer: Paul Morrissey; cinematographer: Paul Morrissey; editor: Paul Morrissey; cast: Joe Dallesandro (Joe), Geri Millar (Go-Go Dancer), Holly Woodlawn (Holly), Jane Forth (Jane), Andrea Feldman (Rich Girl), Johnny Putnam (Boy from Yonkers), Michael Sklar (Welfare Investigator), Diane Podlewski (Holly’s Sister), Bruce Pecheur (Jane’s Husband); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Andy Warhol; Fire Mystic Video; 1970)
“It shows when it comes to trash, you can’t beat a film produced by Andy Warhol in delivering the real goods.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A companion piece to Flesh. Underground filmmaker Paul Morrissey is the writer-director of this bleak but very funny campy blue movie spoof on lowlifes living a dead-end life in NYC’s East Village. Bisexual hustler Joe (Joe Dallesandro) is an impotent, lice-ridden, heroin addict living with transvestite Holly (Holly Woodlawn, a female impersonator), who prowls the Filmore East to pick up boys for casual sex and collects garbage from the street to furnish their seedy pad and eke out enough money to survive by selling the salvageable garbage. Joe roams the street with his mangy mutt, where he picks up chicks to service them hoping to get money for a fix. But he can no longer get it up and meets with a series of rejections as we see him first with a go-go dancer (Geri Millar) who can’t get him hard even when she blows him or does her naked go-go dance for him on an elaborate stage in her pad built by her sugar daddy. Joe then meets a freaked-out acid head chick in the street (Andrea Feldman), who tries to score acid from him while he tries again unsuccessfully to score money for sex. Back home, Holly returns with a pimply-faced high school student from the nearby suburbs (Johnny Putnam), who wants to score speed for the concert at Filmore East while Holly wants to blow him. The scene was a gem in showing the world of difference between someone playing at being hippie and those who are completely alienated from society. Joe will have a strange encounter with weirdo Grosse Pointe native Jane (Jane Forth) in her apartment that he enters to rob and she instead envisions raping him. When her irate hubby (Bruce Pecheur) comes home and finds him naked and passed out on the floor as he ODs after shooting up, it creates another degrading scene for Joe. The climax builds to Holly’s pregnant sister (Diane Podlewski) staying with the couple and promising to give her expected baby to them so they can get on welfare. It leads to two very funny scenes of Holly throwing a fit when catching Joe attempting to screw her sister and the visit of the obnoxious welfare investigator (Michael Sklar), wearing a peace button but showing he couldn’t care less about his charges, calling them trash in his hissy fit, as he will grant them welfare only if Holly gives him her Joan Crawford-like silver shoes she found in the garbage which he thinks would make a nice lamp for his apartment.
The film’s casual way of treating nudity, the matter of fact way of presenting the odd lifestyle and apathy of its underground extreme hippie protagonists and its openess about sex and drugs, hides its moralistic, almost puritanical, bent about the misuse of sex and drugs that shapes the lives of such amiable and non-violent losers. It shows when it comes to trash, you can’t beat a film produced by Andy Warhol in delivering the real goods.
REVIEWED ON 12/25/2005 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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