Electra Glide in Blue (1973): In the early ’70s, jazz-rock outfit Chicago was so powerful that film honchos asked producer James William Guercio if he’d like to make a movie. As it happened, he’d been a John Ford fan since childhood, and jumped at the chance to tell of a diminutive highway patrolman (Robert Blake) speeding about scenic Monument Valley while—in an inversion of Easy Rider —running afoul of sometimes-violent hippies. (Chicago members rounded out smaller roles, with Peter Cetera as a suspected murderer.) It proved Guercio’s only film, and he really went full-on, particularly with the epic long take that concludes the film.
Je t’aime moi non plus (1976): Using the title of his most notorious hit, Serge Gainsbourg’s debut feature stars lover/co-conspirator Jane Birkin as a boyish woman who begins an affair with a gay man (Joe Dallesandro). Unfortunately he can’t achieve orgasm through vaginal intercourse. But Birkin finds anal sex too painful. She acquiesces anyway, causing them to get thrown out of a series of hotels due to her screaming. I’m not making this up.
Renaldo & Clara (1978): Very few people have seen Bob Dylan’s four hour “surrealist” amalgamation of concert footage, backstage hangouts and scripted (by Dylan, Sam Shepard and an uncredited Alan Ginsberg) drama starring Dylan and then-wife Sara as a musician and his girl. Existing on bootlegs, it also features the last footage of Phil Ochs, who killed himself six months later.
Human Highway (1982): Neil Young has directed several films under the pseudonym “Bernard Shakey,” none stranger than the apocalyptic sci-fi about the last day on Earth. Co-directed by Dean Stockwell, it also features Devo covering Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).”
Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006): Featuring zero Daft Punk music, the French electronic duo’s art film eventually turns into “Gerry with robots.”
Rubber (2010): Quentin Dupieux, better known as producer and DJ Mr. Oizo, is the man responsible for the movie about the killer tire (now on video). Thing is, despite imploding heads aplenty, “The Killer Tire Movie” is not a horror movie, but rather a hilarious, deadpan deconstruction of audiences accepting gleefully inane premises.
2014 Films: The Year’s Most Likely