“Invitation to the Blues” – Tom Waits


Another legendary song from Tom Waits’ essential 1976 album “Small Change.”

Memorably used over the opening credits of Nicolas Roeg’s 1980 bad date-film classic “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession,” one of the most graphic and despairing looks at a toxic relationship ever put on film. Trust me when I say “Bad Timing” makes “Fatal Attraction” look like “When Harry Met Sally.”  An executive for Rank Films, the UK studio that financed “Bad Timing,” called the film “a sick film made by sick people for sick people.”  And it’s available to watch on Netlifx Instant to view with your honey … that is, if you and your honey are mentally unstable and/or are pill / booze addicts.  Thanks champagne!

“Memo from Turner” – Mick Jagger (from the 1970 film “Performance” dir. Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg)

From the decadent and extremely trippy late 1960s masterpiece by directors Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg is the infamous sequence where Mick Jagger’s rock star character changes identities with James Fox’s gangster character.  Things get very freaky very fast.  Do not watch under the influence of any mind-altering substances.

“Performance” is a notorious masterpiece from the late 1960s.  Its release was held up by at least two years by a skittish Warner Brothers.  It was given an X-rating and dumped into midnight screenings.  Some critics called it the most repulsive film ever made, one even describing it as the equivalent of someone sticking the dirtiest finger into the back of your throat to make you vomit.  I wouldn’t go that far.  But it’s still pretty intense.  The clip is not safe for work or little ones.

“Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession” (1980) dir. Nicolas Roeg


I can’t imagine a worse “date movie” than Nicolas Roeg’s psychotic 1980 masterpiece “Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession.”  OK, maybe “Cruising,” “A Serbian Film,” or “Irreversible” would be worse … WAAAY worse.   But seriously, I don’t want you to underestimate how seriously f–ked up “Bad Timing” is.  Art Garfunkel and Theresa Russell probably deliver their best-ever acting performances as a mutually destructive couple from hell.  Russell’s character is the stereotypical slutty “crazy woman,” and Russell does play the part very well.  Garfunkel plays an unctuous, controlling, co-dependent psychiatrist scumbag who, we later learn, may actually be more deranged than Russell.  And, of course, there’s Harvey Keitel (the patron saint of f–ked-up cinema) playing a Viennese detective interrogating Garfunkel’s character about Russell’s suicide attempt, trying to play mind games with someone who is a master of the art.  A complex, well-acted, well-written, and well-directed journey into relationship hell.   It also has a great use of music, from Tom Waits to Billie Holiday to Keith Jarrett to the Who.

Here’s Roeg’s effective use of the Who’s “Who Are You” during a couple of crucial scenes:

It was released with an X-rating in the United States, due to nudity, sex, language, and extremely disturbing subject matter.  The Criterion Collection had the good taste to release it on DVD in the U.S. and you can watch it for free on Netflix streaming.  See it with someone you love.

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” (1976) dir. Nicolas Roeg


Another trailer I saw when I was 6 or 7 that seriously freaked me out. This played before a Disney (?!?) film of all things. The scene where the family wearing the white space suits vanishes gave me nightmares. I also thought it was odd that the actor they kept referring to as “David” (David Bowie) looked like a woman. I think that’s William Shatner narrating the trailer.