The 2-Disc Limited Edition was purchased impulsively on its street date release, after I saw it staring at me on a shelf at a local retailer. Having greatly enjoyed Rabid, The Brood, Videodrome, and Crash, I had long been curious to see Stereo and Crimes of the Future. Yet having picked it up for Cronenberg's two early features, I was watching Fast Company for the sixth time on Saturday night of that same week.
Phil Adamson (John Saxon): You know you're out of your goddamn mind, Johnson. You're out of your mind, and you're over-the-hill. First you turn my trailer into a goddamn whorehouse, now it's an insane asylum!
John Saxon's villainy as the FastCo oil company rep is hilarious. Aside from the wonderfully written dialogue, his facial expressions and gestures are fantastic. Lonnie "Lucky Man" Johnson's (William Smith) team consists of a Western genre family-like trio, with character names such as Billy the Kid, P.J. and Elder; all wonderful performances. Gary "The Blacksmith" Black (Cedric Smith) is Lonnie's top competitor. He is neither a one-dimensional friend nor foe. His personal team members, known as Stoner and Meatball, are a funny pair. Stoner is likable and not-such-a-bad guy, while Meatball is a classic A-hole. Candy (Judy Foster) is Miss FastCo, a not-so-dumb blonde with feelings for Billy, and who makes an admirable stand when her self-respect is threatened by her employer's demands. William Smith and Claudia Jennings are the long-distance relationship lovers that I, on a personal level, have grown strongly attached to. Both, individually and together, add to the film something magical and nostalgic for me that I find very rare in most movies that I've seen. The scenes involved with them makes me feel like a small boy spending time with a favorite aunt and uncle. Mind you, I come from a Hispanic middle class background.
The cinematographer is largely to thank for capturing the humor of the film, as well as the documentary-like and exciting treatment of the dragsters; not to mention a multitude of highly admirable shots. Also worth mentioning is the work of Art Director Carol Spier, as well as the choices of music that significantly add to this wonderful little film. I have to say that Fast Company has been one of the most delightful surprises that I have encountered on DVD so far this year, along with The Passion of Joan of Arc, Flesh + Blood, Humanité, and Diary of a Country Priest.
Now, about Stereo and Crimes of the Future - after my purchase, I got home as fast as I could, and saw them first. Alas, they did not fully appeal to me, though Cronenberg's aesthetic approach to the storytelling on both, and his very nice camera work, did. I am very glad to have finally seen them, and I do intend to redo so again in the immediate future.
Blue Underground along with the personal supervision of Cinematographer Mark Irwin present an amazing print for a late-Seventies B-movie. The colors and sharpness are outstanding; and the sound is extremely satisfying. David Cronenberg's commentary is both interesting and very pleasing. His own enthusiasm on the film, and at the discovery of the restoration of a thought-to-be lost seen is wonderful. Comments like: "...it's very much me. And I don't think anybody else could have made this movie the way ... that I did." He stumbles at this last comment, probably concerned with sounding egotistical. However, with his style being so distinct along with his input into the script, he has justification to make that statement. Cronenberg also remarks on the commentary: "Worth every penny of it, wasn't it?" I quite agree. And am very pleased to hear a director satisfied with his own work, for a change. This film should appeal to fans of Seventies exploitation and car racing, while bitter and stubborn Cronenberg no-nonsense horror fans might need some lubing, or repeated viewings, to appreciate it for what it is and not for what they want it or expect it to be.
Billy "The Kid" Brooker (Nicholas Campbell): You know something, gang? There's a lot of junk you can put down your pipes, you know what I mean. Now I'm talking about the good stuff. You gotta take care of your baby's engine. So I suggest you go like the pros, and go with FastCo. If you want that power, that performance, and that protection. Yeah. FastCo. This is what all the pro racers use. FastCo Motor Treatment. (Chuckles). All right.