Director Penelope Spheeris / / USA

“A somewhat forgotten but simply unforgettable punk rock western, dubbed ‘The Easy Rider of the Eighties’.” – Night Flight

Three New York punks (Jon ‘Duckie’ Cryer, Daniel Roebuck and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea) decide to move to LA, and drive straight into a cross-country nightmare. Brawling, packing pistols and crossing paths with a sharpshooting cowgirl named Jessie and an Elvis impersonator named Daredelvis, they embark on a bloodthirsty cat-and-mouse game with a redneck gang, led by the scenery-chewing Lee Ving from LA punk band Fear.

Blending action, drama and comedy, Penelope Spheeris’ punk western barely surfaced in cinemas but found a cult audience on VHS. Now, it feels ahead of its time. Not only does it bridge Spheeris’ early cult films and her later studio comedies, it also foreshadowed other subcultural genre mashups, from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) to Green Room (2015).

Its soundtrack offers just as much fun as its hallucinatory western flourishes. Highlights include Jane’s Addiction, the Vandals, Faster Pussycat, Megadeth’s cover of These Boots Were Made for Walking, future Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski’s band the Little Kings, and metal guitarist Steve Vai shredding the living hell outta Amazing Grace.

“Its utter weirdness is a virtue, and there’s a playfulness here that charms.” – Not Coming to a Theatre Near You

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