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Psych-Out (1968).

February 5, 2007

The Scoop:
This little chestnut — one of my favorite bad movies — comes from those heady days right after the Summer of Love when the mainstream entertainment media tried a little too hard to cash in on the hippie culture.

Produced by eternally-square Dick Clark, “Psych-Out” professes to be an honest, unflinching look at the counterculture. Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite of everything “Easy Rider” was. But it is good for a laugh, nonetheless.

It features a pre-superstardom Jack Nicholson as Stoney, the leader of a San Francisco psychedelic band (he doesn’t sing on the soundtrack, fortunately — that’s handled by The Strawberry Alarm Clock) who helps a naïve, deaf runaway (Susan Strasberg) find her long lost brother (Bruce Dern). Dean Stockwell is along for the ride, too. Along the way, there are cheesy acid freak outs, weird clothes and goofy dialogue. A must-see for anyone who mythologizes the ’60s too much.

Best Line:
It’s a tie between “You’re righteous Stoney, but you’re not very hip” and “I’ll get it; serving’s in my racial memory.”

Side Note:
1) As much as the film got wrong, it still produced a Top Ten hit for The Strawberry Alarm Clock with “Incense and Peppermints.” 2) Keep an eye out for future directors Henry Jaglom and Garry Marshall in bit parts.

Companion Viewing:
“Wild in the Streets” (1968) and “The Trip” (1967).


Take a Look:
Here’s the trailer:

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