I've always believed that the sign of a great film is one is stays relevant in our time and will remain so matter when it was made. And that fits, without a doubt Paul Schrader's 1978 film Blue Collar
It's the perfect example of the type of film that major studios don't even have the guts to make anymore. It's a powerful, searing and, yes, downbeat film perhaps more in tune today with what's going on in America and our greedy superficial culture than it was when it first came out.
I think it's Pryor's best film and his best performance and that's not taking anything anyway from hs co-stars Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto. The film was directed by screenwriter Schrader, after making his mark with his script for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, but the making of the film was nightmare and a real baptism of fire for him.
The three lead actors dispised each other and Schrader. Things got so tense that once Pryor and Keitel got into a fist fight and another time Pryor hit Kotto over the head with a chair when he thought Kotto was upstaging him during a scene.
Schrader was, in fact, forced to shoot several scenes with the actors with just master shots only using no more than two takes because the actors would walk off after doing one or two takes refusing to came back to the set. so Schrader wasn't able to cover several scenes with any close ups.
Yet, in spite of those problems, it's an amazing film which tells what happens when three deep in debt auto workers, screwed over by the company, their union and life in general, conspire to break in and rob their union's office safe with for its collected union dues. It is, after all, their money.
However, what they find instead are ledger books detailing all the illegal payoffs and kickbacks their union has made to various people which results in them getting into more trouble that they ever imaged.
The film is blistering examination of the corruptive nature of captialism and how the 47 percenters (as Mitt you remember famously said) get run over and chewed up by a system they don't completely understand and is beyond their control.
The film is rarely seen nowadays and it was once available on DVD, but not anymore unless you want to buy an used copy for $60 on Ebay.
But if you're in the Chicago area and still around in March, the Studio Movie Grill theaters located at 301 Rice Lake Square in Wheaton Illinois in suburban Chicago will host a screening of the film as part of their SMG Film Series on Weds March 6th starting at 7PM.
But here come the big surprise. The host for that evening to discuss the film and to lead a Q & A afterward is none other than the man who you ove to hate...ME!
That's right. You friend Sergio will be hosting the screening of Blue Collar that evening. I was approched about doing hosting a screening for the series and was asked to pick any film I wanted. I selected Blue Collar and they were able to get it.
So I hope to see some of you there.
Here's the trailer: