In praise of old hippie movies
Ed Kaz | Shell Pile, NJ USA | 02/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nothin' in the world better than an old hippie movie, and I just got finished watching one: Cisco Pike.
Faded rock star Cisco (Kris Kristofferson) promised his girlfriend (Karen Black) that he's all done dealing pot. If he gets convicted a third time he'll get five years. Enter the crooked narc, Sergeant Leo Holland, played by that loveable bastard Gene Hackman. He's got a truckload of high quality weed that he's forcing Cisco to sell in 48 hours or he's gonna bust him again.
Then the fun begins. Along the way we meet Doug Sahm who plays an extremely wired Tex-Mex singer (what a stretch) and the perma-weird Harry Dean Stanton as Cisco's ex-bandmate, not to mention a couple of the flakiest hippie chicks you're likely to meet in Venice California, circa 1972. I learned a few important facts from this film. For example: You can tell an undercover narc by looking at his socks (they're always white). Also, if you get pulled over by a cop, eat the pot! If he asks you what you're chewing, say gum!
I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. It was Kristofferson's first, and he displayed an effortless manner of acting, sort of the way his whole life has been: effortless. And I gotta tell ya, ol' Kris was one sexy dude back then, wasn't he girls? I wish I had that squint, that swagger, that rail-thin frame, that tousled hair, that growl of a voice, those cowboy boots...Damn, I just wish I wrote some of those songs!
After listening to some of his early music and seeing this movie I've come to the conclusion that Kris Kristofferson is a national treasure. Let's ring him up and tell him before it's too late.
Kris Kristofferson=Cisco Pike
Dustin Blythe | Mishawaka, In USA | 03/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When it comes to playing Cisco Pike, there is virtually no acting required for Kris Kristofferson. Pike is a down on his luck musician who is coming off of a pot bust and is looking for a way back into the music business. Gene Hackman is Holland, a seemingly straight laced LAPD cop who blackmails Pike into getting back into the pot dealing business. The film focuses on Pike working his old contacts to try to move 100 kilos of pot within 59 hours (kind of a take on "Gone in 60 Seconds"). During this weekend Pike is forced to lie to his live in girlfriend (Karen Black) about his reasons for getting back into dealing and he is reunited with his old singing partner Jesse (Harry Dean Stanton), who is by now a hopeless heroin addict.
"Cisco Pike" is a good movie with a solid cast. Kristofferson is highly believable playing a variation of himself, even singing some of his own songs in the movie. (For those interested in the music, check out "The Silver Tongued Devil and I by Kristofferson, as close to a soundtrack to this movie as you will find and a very good album on it's own merits). Gene Hackman plays a quirky role in the middle of his most successful period as an actor (Bonnie and Clyde, French Connection, The Conversation and the Poseidon Adventure). Karen Black is Kristofferson's beautiful, earthy girlfriend and Viva appears as a variation on the part she played in almost every movie, an offbeat woman seemingly in a world of her own. Viva always had the ability to make her dialogue seem ad-libbed, whether it was or not. Finally, Harry Dean Stanton puts in another great character performance and would soon appear with Kristofferson in another role seemingly modeled after Kris' own career and persona, "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid". Also look for Alan Arbus playing an unsympathetic character (the manager) before his very sympathetic turn as Dr. Sydney Friedman on "MASH".
"Cisco Pike" is dark and downbeat, but enjoyable as an honest portrayal of a man, trying to straighten out his life, who is forced into a bad situation and finally loses all that he cares for. I highly recommend this to Kris Kristofferson fans and those who enjoy the look and feel of early 70's cinema."
A Great Portrait of a Bygone Era
stoic | Mobile AL | 12/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a Kris Kristofferson fan, I had long wanted to see Cisco Pike. Critics (including Pauline Kael) gave Kristofferson good reviews for his performance as the title character. When I finally tracked down a copy, the film lived up to my high expectations.
Cisco Pike concerns a singer-songwriter who became a drug dealer and spent time in prison after his music career hit the skids. Much to the approval of his girlfriend (Karen Black), Cisco tries to get out of dealing and back into the music business. However, a crooked narc (Gene Hackman) makes Cisco an offer he can't refuse - go back to dealing or head back to prison. Cisco Pike is short (94 minutes) and the plot is fairly straightforward; the film, however, easily holds the viewer's interest.
Other than Kristofferson, the best thing about Cisco Pike is that it does such a good job of evoking early-1970s Los Angeles. The visuals alone - the cars, the clothes, the hair - make the film worth watching. Kristofferson also contributed a great soundtrack that includes many of his best-known songs ("Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "The Pilgrim," among others). Finally, the cast is excellent; it includes Warhol superstar Viva and the always-seedy Harry Dean Stanton as Kristofferson's former bandmate. Look for Antonio Fargas (Starsky and Hutch's "Huggy Bear") as the drug dealer Buffalo.
It might take some searching to find a copy of Cisco Pike. For those with an interest in the 1970s, Kris Kristofferson, or offbeat cinema, it will be worth the effort.