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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In Search Of America (1971)

When a college student (Jeff Bridges) announces to his family that he's dropping out of college to "find himself", he convinces his family to accompany him on a cross country journey in a bus to discover his generation and their unconventional lifestyle. Directed by Paul Bogart, this film is the perfect example of how topical movies that are "now" and "relevant" become irrelevant in the ensuing decades. It's almost impossible to take the film seriously with dialog like "That sure is a groovy looking pad", "Can you dig it?", "Coming and going are the same thing, it just depends where you are in the circle" and this beaut "We don't really exist. We're just stream particles in the great cosmic jellyfish" which is said in dead earnestness. The telefilm even gives us a "hip" granny (Ruth McDevitt) who says things like "Right on!". To the movie's credit, the older generation aren't all portrayed as "squares" though the mother (Vera Miles) is pretty uptight and the hippies are shown to be as rude and self involved as anyone else. As an archival curiosity of a certain time in our culture and how Hollywood viewed that culture, I suppose it has its place. Bu oh, that ghastly "folk pop" underscore which is about as hip as Three Dog Night. With Sal Mineo, Kim Hunter, Carl Betz, Howard Duff, Tyne Daly, Michael Anderson Jr. and Glynn Turman.

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