“Patti Rocks” (1988) dir. David Burton Morris, scr. John Jenkins, Karen Landry, David Burton Morris, Chris Mulkey

One of the best indie films from a time when indie truly meant “independent” is the 1988 comedy-drama “Patti Rocks.” The film is about a married blue-collar f–k-up named Billy (played by co-writer Chris Mulkey) who is in a jam when he finds out he has impregnated a girlfriend he has on the side named Patti (played by co-writer … and Mulkey’s wife in real life … Karen Landry). Billy enlists the help of good friend and former employer Eddie (played by co-writer John Jenkins) … with whom there is bad blood … to travel hundreds of miles to meet with Patti and help Billy through his crisis.

During the journey to see Patti (which takes up more than half the film), Billy talks a lot of s–t, not only about Patti, but about pretty much any subject you can think of. Billy is obviously an idiot, but despite the X-rated dialogue and s–t talking, he has the maturity of an 11-year old. Eddie is not too far behind Billy, but is definitely the “adult” of the two. Of course, when we finally meet Patti, she is not how Billy has described her and is far more aware of the dynamics between the two of them than Billy is. The result is a sad and poignant tale of a pathologically dumb man-child who sadly, doesn’t have the sense and maturity to grow up.

“Patti Rocks” was extremely controversial when it was released, because the dialogue was too raw for an “R” rating and went out unrated instead. Though, arguably, had it been a major studio release, the film probably would’ve gotten an “R.” In any case, “Patti Rocks” is a profanely funny and cringe-inducing comedy about male sexuality.

When I finally saw it, it was in college during a sponsored event by the campus Women’s Center. I must say, given the politically correct tenor of the times (late 1980s) and the content of the film, it was a ballsy choice on their part and a nice reminder that sometimes  a sense of humor prevails among organizations that stereotypically don’t seem to carry such traits.

Some of the X-rated language and humor the film is controversial for is featured in the attached clip. It is not safe for work or kids.

The film is a sequel of sorts to a mid-1970s film called “Loose Ends” (featuring Billy and Eddie) which I’ve never been able to track down. If you can direct me to this film, I will be eternally grateful.

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