Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ishtar (1987)

"It takes a lot of nerve to have nothing at your age!"

That one sentence saved "Ishtar", a notorious bad movie, for me. I kept watching and fell a bit in love with it as it is a perfect mix of political satire and adventure movie.


 

The two alpha-losers Chuck Clarke (Dustin Hoffman) and Lyle Rogers (Warren Beatty) are probably the two worst singers/songwriters on the planet...which does not keep them from trying to topple giants like Simon and Garfunkle from the pantheon of music gods.

They fail, of course, but keep trying...and trying....even though it is evident for them (and everyone else!) that what little talent they might have: It is not within music.

As their facades and self conceived pictures of themselves crumble they finally figure out that they are what they are: Two middle-aged loser with no own apartment (Clarke lives with his parents), girlfriends or wives, children or career.

More or less disillusioned (their egos inflate steadily as they leave the battlefields of their defeats behind) they accept a slave-wage gig on a hotel in Marrakesh/Morocco "to launch their career".

They travel via the neighbouring, fictive country of Ishtar where Clarke is approached by the revolutionary Shirra Assel (Isabelle Adjani) who is begging him for help. He gives her his passport and gets a jacket in return, which has a mythical map sewn in which is supposed to help topple the dictator of Ishtar, all within a few moments in which Rogers went to the bathroom.

"Nice jacket you got there! Where did you buy it?"

Clarke has to stay behind in Ishtar and Rogers has to travel to Marrakesh to save their booking at the hotel.

Clarke then finds out that getting a new passport is not so easy as thought and makes a deal with a CIA operative, who is well aware of whom Clarke has been talking to, and helps with his travel to Morocco and also recruits him in the process..... for a very small amount of money.

(The CIA`s main concern is to keep the dictator of Ishtar to deepen connections with Libya and Ghaddafi....and of course there are KGB operatives who would love nothing more than for this to happen. There are also some Turkish operators around...apart from shooting each other: Their objective seems unclear)

Rogers finds out where Clarke`s sudden "wealth" is coming from, and sides with the revolutionaries resulting in them both being hunted by all parties (for the map) and them keeping their own agendas from each other.

Fucking hilarious if you ask me!

The move does tinker a bit with vaudevillian humor, but this is perfect when it comes to the description of the cold war opponents Russia and USA playing with their little proxy wars in the middle east. Pretty much what is going on right now.

Why do I like this movie, which is rates as one of the worlds worst, so much?

It has soul, it is funny and is a monument to those who have their dreams and keep on following them. even though their lack of talent is apparent and nobody believes in them and their crackpot dreams....all to the point of being delusional.

I like THAT! (and Isabelle Adjani is painfully cute!)

 




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