"This early effort by director Brian DePalma is a funny series of vignettes that touches on the various social issues of the late sixties. These issues include the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, computer dating, voyeurism,etc. This is definitely a low-budget affair and the film has some ragged edges but it is done with such verve that you choose to ignore it and go with the flow. The selling point is a featured role for a young Robert DeNiro and he is fine but this is more of an ensemble affair. This film is well worth checking out."
De Niro's 2nd movie
anelka | 04/24/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great film, made by Brian De Palma with a very young De Niro. He plays a really interesting role that shows how talented this actor was already in 1968. I recommend it for all De Niro's fans."
The comedic side to De Palma
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 11/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So this is what happened to a high-spirited, talented director who could in 1968 co-write, direct and edit this movie for $39,985 (I know I could of just rounded it out) yet 30 years later made Mission: Impossible? With this, his 3rd film, he was well entrenched in an underground style of low budget works with an element of humor and a vigour that was exciting in its own right, not for what it gorily displayed.
Depalma introduces us to three friends through a series of New York-based sketches that bear only tenuous relation to each other; if not for the film's intense forward velocity, all the raw materials would certainly fall apart. Paul (Jonathan Warden) is trying to dodge the draft while testing the waters of computer dating; Jon (Robert De Niro) is giving "amateur" filmmaking a shot; and Lloyd (Gerrit Graham) is a JFK conspiracy nut trying to ferret out the truth of the assassination. The three are introduced in a lengthy, bravura sequence where Lloyd and Jon provide increasingly ridiculous draft-dodging advice as they shift venues: from a clothing store to a zoo, a random apartment, a public bathroom and finally a bar. The first half-hour neatly captures a sense of early twenties aimlessness, where hanging out--wherever--is an end in itself; it's jovial and feels at times not unlike Godard's Band of Outsiders.
Even though the "Greetings" theme song, a jangly Byrdsian creation, quickly negates the gravity of the opening LBJ Vietnam clip, the war hangs heavily over the film. (Hearing a president speak in 1968 about fighting terror abroad to help secure the homeland gave me chills.) "I'm not saying you never had it so good, but that is the case isn't it?" says LBJ, and the three draft-concerned friends do their best to prove him right. The sight of a young mustachioed Robert De Niro gallivanting through Central Park and goosestepping through the Lower East Side trying to figure out just how great of an actor he might one day become should be enough to warm the heart of even the most hardened cinephile. And De Palma himself is no slouch here, taking time to skewer the art world, tenuous race relations, JFK conspiracy nuts, the dating scene, radical liberalism, and the city of New York's own innate pretensions. Paul manages to dodge the draft by playing gay, but Jon's not so lucky. His plan to pose as an extremist arch-conservative with bloodlust only rendered him more worthy of the military, forcing him to abandoned his burgeoning "Peepers and the Peep" avant-porn masterwork Even if the film loses a bit of steam mid-way through, Greetings' coup de grace comes in an obviously staged Vietnam by way of Long Island where a newsman hooks up with a rifleman on the front line--none other than Jon Rubin. In the course of the interview Jon captures a young Vietnamese girl, seats her in front of the news camera and begins restaging his "Peepers" film as De Palma intercuts footage from the original taken in a Manhattan bedroom, effectively thumbing his nose at his audience, and the political priorities of the day.
I thought the cast (at the time) were fresh and in tune with his anarchy. He uses the story of a draft-dodger with an ingenious line in excuses to present a portrait of late-60s society. Rough and ready compared with later films, but minus the cynicism and contempt of those glossy works.
DePalma's Postcards From The EDGE...
R. A. Bean | knoxville, tn usa | 12/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The early 1960's were a great era for films and filmmakers. Brian DePalma made a huge impression as a up-and-coming gonzo-guerilla-radical-rebellious-independant filmmaker. And, that was just with this one film, his 2nd feature. Starring a very young, unknown Robert DeNiro, DePalma created a satirical farce that skewered practically everything society was dealing with at the time: Vietnam, draft dodging, racism, paranoia, the JFK conspiracy, Antonioni's "Blow Up", Hitchcock's "Rear Window", teenage angst, rebelliousness, young love/lust, voyeurism, and entertainment. Telling this in the style of short stories, well, postcards, pasted together to tell one story, this is a very interesting, complex (yet simple) piece of film that is still fun and relevant today. Join Jon Rubin and his merry band of friends as they experience some really cool and off-the-wall things, from unrequieted love to trying to solve the JFK conspiracy. Funny as h*ll, and a blistering reflection of a more innocent time when America was in a uproarious upheaval state. Dizzying film styles and techniques, and with a very witty script help move this film along charged at a rate of very high velocity. Highly recommended! Thanx! ;o)"
Imperfect, yet funny and entertaining overall
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 06/13/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Greetings may be slightly uneven in that some scenes and sequences work better than others, but overall it is an entertaining film with excellent acting by all. Brian De Palma both co-wrote and directed this film which takes place in New York City and uses its three principle characters to explore the themes of free love, the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination and amateur filmmaking of women slowly undressing by a would-be "peep artist." In addition, the cinematography and the choreography work well and the script is essentially well written although it could have been funnier in some places. It's probably best to regard this film as an early attempt by Brian De Palma to make a film with true meaning; De Palma was still something of a diamond in the rough at the time this was filmed and I think that accounts for the occasional raggedy edges of this picture.
When the film starts, we meet three young men--Paul (Jonathan Warden), Jon (a very young Robert De Niro) and Lloyd (Gerrit Graham in his film debut) in 1960s New York. They are desperate to get out of having to go to Vietnam; they want to romance women as much as possible; and one of them (Lloyd) has an incredible obsession with the Kennedy assassination. All of this generates some very interesting and usually good scenes and sequences all throughout the film. For example, Jon and Lloyd try everything to prepare Paul to appear as unfit for military service as possible to the point of actually giving him lessons in how to pretend he's the most flamboyant gay man who ever lived! At the same time Jon wants to make his own "peeping tom" movies of women undressing and just how he goes about this is actually very funny. The scene in which he gets a young lady to undress for "an intimate moment" at the end of a hard day at her job is more than worth the price of admission alone! It will make you laugh.
As I mentioned above, Lloyd has quite a fixation with the Kennedy assassination. There's a bedroom scene which is very tongue in cheek with Lloyd making marks on a woman's body to "prove" that the Warren Commission had whitewashed the entire inquiry of the assassination to intentionally mislead the public; and Lloyd's obsession gets played out in even more scenes as well.
The DVD itself doesn't come with any extras. It would be interesting to have a commentary by De Palma or De Niro as to what their thoughts are on this piece in retrospect; and maybe someday we'll get that in a re-release of this movie on DVD.
Overall, Greetings is a not quite perfect film primarily because a few scenes don't quite work well or fit in smoothly along the way; but overall it remains entertaining. I recommend this film for fans of the actors in it, especially Robert De Niro who proves he could act brilliantly even very early on in his career."