Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Trip


Hey, man, groove on this weird groovy shit, man. It’s fuckin’ groovy! Did we really say “groovy” as often as the people in this movie do? Yes, I’m afraid we did. Forgive us, young folks.

This movie really sucks. Sorry, but there it is. Hollywood—even the bottom of the barrel Hollywood, in the form of Roger Corman—never really understood the ’60s until well into the ’80s, if then. They got the colors right, but the music was lame. There is no plot here. A film director is bummed out (sorry, we said that a lot, too, still do) and decides to drop acid. He sees pretty colors, he has bad dreams. Every time someone asks him a question he responds, with deep insight, “I don’t know.” The end.

This ain’t the way it was, not even as this silly thing was being made. Trust me, I was there. Much of the action takes place in a gigantic mansion, every inch of which is painted in psychedelic colors. Who would need acid in a place like that? You could break your neck trying to walk down the op-art stairs.

But … it is true that the deepest insight I retain from a couple dozen trips, in spite of the feeling that I was glimpsing deep inner meanings of the universe, can be summed up as “I don’t know.” One genuine moment was when Peter Fonda grew fascinated with a washing machine and a dryer. I remember moments like that.

The acting is terrible except for Bruce Dern, who does what he can with the pathetic lines he’s given. Dennis Hopper is here. They say it was “written” by Jack Nicholson, but he should have signed it Alan Smithee, or Cordwainer Bird. The visual effects are primitive but sometimes arresting, and recall if you will that a “light show” of the day was guys slopping colored oils and water in dishes set on overhead projectors. But every image is repeated at least a dozen times. Take out the replication and this movie would have run 25 minutes. It’s actually 80 minutes, and seems much longer, even when you’re FFing through large parts of it.

This review is a bit sloppy and disorganized, but nothing like the movie.