“Mad Max” (1979) dir. George Miller

Back in the spring of 1980, my older brother and I saw this trailer (or some variation of it) while waiting for another movie.  My brother looked at me, serious as a heart attack, and said “We have to see this movie.”  Since my Dad (who was divorced from my Mom) was coming for his monthly visit the following weekend, we were going to do everything in our power to have him take us to see this R-rated film.   To my Dad’s credit, he wanted to take us to see “The Black Stallion,” which, as far as G-rated films go, is pretty superlative.  But my brother was beyond the age where G-rated films were remotely cool, and me, by extension as a spineless younger brother, agreed 100%.  So after much cajoling, my Dad bought the tickets and we settled in for something that completely blew me away (and needless to say, was completely inappropriate for a 10-year old).   Not only was “Mad Max” full of action, but a lot of people died … in very painfully graphic ways.  I was seriously disturbed, but also completely thrilled.  Of course, my brother and I completely ruined any future chance of seeing a transgressive movie like this by excitedly telling our Mom in graphic detail what we just saw.  My Mom berated my Dad, who sheepishly shrugged his shoulders and tried to say, “I had no idea what kind of movie this was.”  Wherever you are Dad (he’s since deceased), sorry for putting you in that position … but also thank you for taking my brother and me to such an awesome flick.

I tried explaining for months to my friends how great this film was, but since the original theatrical run of “Mad Max” was completely under the radar in the United States (one of the only territories in the world where this film wasn’t a success), most just brushed me off.  It wasn’t until the 1982 sequel “The Road Warrior” made major waves that my friends got interested in seeing “Mad Max.”  As terrific as “The Road Warrior” is, the original “Mad Max” is still the best.  There’s just something so freakin’ cool with how down and dirty this flick is.  The only film that has remotely approached its original feel in my opinion is Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop.”

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