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This was a great film essentially embodying a punk rock ethic - misunderstood youth forming a band and, through music, articulating their frustrations toward adult authority, personified in the film as parents, the medical establishment, and politicians. Two young girls form a punk bank - the Sleez Sisters, and Tim Curry plays a sympathetic DJ who finds a common ground with these two young runaways. The movie was inspired by a diary, found in a second-hand couch bought by the director. Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre cites this as one of her favorite films. The movie features a soundtrack of punk rock and New Wave music with a wide range of artists including The Ramones, The Cure, XTC, Lou Reed, Gary Numan, Talking Heads, Suzi Quatro, Roxy Music, Robin Gibb & Marcy Levy, Patti Smith and The Pretenders. For more punk film bliss, make sure you check out 'Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains.'
THE "TIMES SQUARE" YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR.
Binky | NYC, NY United States | 12/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anchor Bay's new DVD release offers what fans of this cult classic have been long waiting for; an explanation as to how an original script, spirited scenes, and a fantastic soundtrack can add up to a disjointed and poorly assembled film. Director Alan Moyle and star Robin Johnson offer a frank and sometimes comic commentary, filling in the gaps where story line and continuity were discarded in favor of soundtrack filler. In some instances, DVD commentaries reveal insights and secrets that can spoil the mystery of the overall movie experience. Here, the comments from Johnson and Moyle only enhance the audience's understanding of both the underlying story, and the behind-the-scenes tug of war that plagued the completion of the project.One of the first movies ever to feature punk and New Wave music, "Times Square" captures the essence of post-70s New York decay, immortalizing the famous porn district that has since been transformed into a characterless mega-mall -- and for those assets alone, despite its flaws, it is worth checking out. For fans though, who saw the diamond in the rough courtesy of early performances by stars Trini Alvarado, Tim Curry, and the then-unknown Robin Johnson, this new DVD is a must-have."
I Love This Film
Only-A-Child | 08/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must confess up front to a favorable bias toward "Times Square". Just before its release I recall seeing the trailer and being won over by the scene in the hospital where Nikki begins eating the flowers. Since this was only about 10 seconds into the trailer it is fair to say that I immediately connected with the film. The same trailer is included with the DVD and I was happy to see that my memory of the event was accurate. After seeing the actual feature I went out and bought the double album, which I still own.
I know more about films now than I did 25 years ago and thanks to the DVD commentary (by Director Allen Moyle and Robin Johnson-who played Nikki) I now know a lot about what went into the making of "Times Square". Unfortunately Robin's co-star Trini Alvarado (Pammy) was not available for the commentary. Although most viewers consider Nikki the central character, Nikki really needs Pammy to play off (much like Charlize Theron needs Christina Ricci's reaction shots in "Monster"), yet Pammy's scenes without Nikki are some of the best in the film so you can't really say one character is more important than the other.
"Times Square" suffered the same fate that Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" did 40 years earlier. The producers took control of the final cut, re-shot some scenes, deleted others, and released a version that did not reflect the director's vision. Apparently no one has ever been able to find the deleted footage for either film. Although "Times Square" was butchered even more than "Ambersons", it seems to have been less damaged. In part that is because the originally intended version would never have approached the perfection of the original "Amberson's". Perhaps more importantly, "Times Square" has a Haskel Wexler gritty documentary style that simply transcends the narrative elements of the story. So changes to the storyline could not take away from its basic ambiance nor from its preservation of the look of 1979 Times Square-something that was even then a ghost world.
Moyle now wishes he had not left the production after a dispute over including additional songs (so they could have a double album) because his continued presence would have had some damage control value. Producer Robert Stigwood ("Saturday Night Fever", "Saying Alive", "Jesus Christ Superstar", Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" ) was determined to release yet another of his musical exploitation films designed to make a lot of money on the soundtrack. This accounts for the inclusion of the completely inappropriate "Help Me" (The Bee Gees), the movie actually goes out on that song although they switch to something more appropriate midway through the credits.
The commercialization of the film also included dropping all obvious hints of a lesbian relationship between the two girls. This was probably a commercial mistake because a public controversy might have actually increased attendance. Ironically, if the lesbian angle had remained Moyle would have been accused of exploitation because it is really unnecessary for the storyline. Likewise the script changes needed when Alvarado refused to dance topless saved Moyle from looking like an exploiter.
While what survives has major continuity and character development issues, the core of the story may actually work better. Two emotionally damaged girls-polar opposites- bond and help each other. It ends with Altman's cool "Kansas City" twist where the seemingly weaker girl becomes protective of the tough girl.
I like the way that Pamela's father finally gets it and backs away, letting her continue to help Nikki until she feels that Nikki can continue without her. You first realize how strong and together Nikki has made Pammy by the end of my favorite montage sequence. After ordering her out, Nikki trashes their room, tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide, and completely breaks down at the radio station. Inter-cut with this is a shot of Pammy standing outside her father's home. At the station Nikki is screaming "Pammy" over and over as they agreed to do earlier in the film in moments of total despair. The audio of these screams is extended into the morning after establishing shot of their dock building. Johnny comes into the seemingly empty room and lifts the blanket revealing a peacefully sleeping Pammy sucking her thumb-she has returned to help Nikki.
Another highlight is the scene I already mentioned of Nikki eating the flowers in their hospital room. What makes this work is its point-of-view dynamic. Moyle artfully connects us to Pammy for the first time by allowing us to see Nikki from her POV. Later he places us back into Pammy's POV as Nikki non-verbally convinces Pammy to leave the hospital with her. The hospital exit scene only works credibility-wise because the first scene set us up for it.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child. "
One of my favorite movies ever
Rashmi Sunder Raj | 08/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The negative reviews in this forum are way too serious.
This is the best teen movie I have ever seen. I saw it 15 years ago and have searched for it in vain in video stores since. Once the internet was born, searches came up with it being deleted. Now there is the DVD.
The performances of the leads are inspired. Nicky must have been the inspiration for Courtney Love!! The music (played at full volume and used as a centerpiece not as background noise) is amazing. The shots of NYC before its disneyfication are haunting.
Suspend your disbelief, and forget what Ebert and others say. This movie is a classic! See it for yourself and decide."
A flawed gem
cheshirreccat | San Leandro, CA United States | 02/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautiful Story with great performances by the two leads. It possesses a quality of "teen" desperation that doesn't exist in films today. Sadly the studio ruined this film after they fired the director and filmed more "filler" scene in order to fit more songs in which to sell the soundtrack. They also reedited the movie to "tone it down" and shorten the length. Despite its flaws, the original vision of this film still shine through. I can't help but wonder what this film would have been like if the director had free reign. I suspect a classic. After my first viewing, Times Square instantly got on to my all time favorite movies list."
I Saw This When I Was a Runaway Squatter
Peter Tunnell | New York, New York USA | 11/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw TIMES SQUARE at someones house in 1985 when I was a runaway and living in a squat. It amazed me actually how close it was to my life. I was seventeen and worked at a nightclub and came home to an abandoned building in NYC. When people say this movie is unrealistic, I'm always like..."It's the story of my life!""