Can you identify this film?
March 21, 2011 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Back in the mid 90s I and a friend were up at 4am and saw a comedy so gloriously quirky we couldn't believe we were watching it. It was on TNT or another network that broadcasts back to back B-movies.

Plot points are as follows:
  • A group of eccentric, fugitive dissidents are living aboard a nuclear-powered B52.
  • Most of the crew are disaffected Vietnam vets.
  • One character is some kind of rasta. Another is a classic grizzled combat vet.
  • The radar operator is a paranoid stoner, chain-smoking joints in rainbow papers.
  • There is a younger, Buck-Rogers type who ferries intel and supplies between the ground and the plane via jetpack.
  • Another young crew member is a Vietnamese war orphan. He spends the entire movie meditating next to an atom bomb.
  • The film's central antagonist is a Thatcher-like candidate for the US presidency.
  • At one point she orders the plane shot down. The anti-aircraft missiles are thwarted by the hippie-missile-defense system, which is Hendrix's star spangled banner played really loud.
  • At the film's climax the meditating war orphan pulls a lever which releases the bomb. It falls through the ceiling of a TV studio where the candidate is giving a speech. Instead of an explosion, building debris tear off her clothes, revealing she's really a cross-dressing he.
  • The day is saved, the dissidents are exonerated, the guy with the jetpack gets the girl.

My friend and I were nearing the end of a 48 hour bender and kept asking each other if we were really seeing the same thing. To add to the surreality, the title was never mentioned at breaks. When it was over there was another quick cut to commercial. It was as if the network programmers didn't want anyone to name the film when they called to complain.

Was it real? I'm not ruling out a shared hallucination. Both are equally likely.
posted by clarknova to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry that I can't help you, but this is now my favorite movie. If it doesn't exist I think it might be necessary to make it.
posted by theodolite at 3:13 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Riders of the Storm ;)
posted by iconomy at 3:18 PM on March 21, 2011

The American Way
posted by empath at 3:19 PM on March 21, 2011

posted by empath at 3:19 PM on March 21, 2011

IMDB can maybe help? <- keyword search for submarine.
posted by gregglind at 3:20 PM on March 21, 2011

I actually found it by looking up Jimi Hendrix on IMDB.
posted by empath at 3:21 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Oh my god thank you.

I now have to watch every movie Salvatore Santangelo has ever made.
posted by clarknova at 3:23 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Oh wait he's not the director. Maurice Phillips is.
posted by clarknova at 3:24 PM on March 21, 2011

Best answer: I believe the movie you're thinking of is "The American Way" a.k.a. "Riders of the Storm", which was a Dennis Hopper movie from the mid-80's.

On preview:
Goddamit. My bastard, idiot co-workers distracted me so I couldn't respond sooner and had this left in a preview window while 8 other people responded.

So let me add a link to youtube user Graphite42Vault, who has uploaded the whole thing, starting with part 1 of 9 here
posted by hincandenza at 3:30 PM on March 21, 2011 [9 favorites]

I remember going to see this at the Scala in King's Cross, and being so taken by its silliness and Dennis Hopper overload that I dragged three different sets of friends to see it. Nobody was as impressed with it as I was.

And now I have to dig it out again and see whether it stands the test of time. Thank you for the flashback!
posted by vickyverky at 3:55 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's even on YouTube!
posted by telstar at 4:47 PM on March 21, 2011

I love the scene where the technician is repairing one of the engines in mid-flight during a storm, and he is yelling at the crew make sure that his Italian Opera music is loud enough on his headphone feed.
posted by ovvl at 7:04 PM on March 21, 2011

Now do you believe in Science, captain?
posted by flabdablet at 11:23 PM on March 21, 2011

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