You know what we need much more of? No, not love, sweet love, but episodic
ensemble dramas which feature loosely interconnected L.A. lives! Man, I just
can't get enough of those. If I were supreme world dictator, I would mandate
this format for all movies, even Spaghetti Westerns and those crazy musicals
from India. Of course, if I were supreme dictator, the format would be much
better since I would also require all the hot young actresses to be naked at
In this particular case, the film focuses on the
thousands and thousands of people who move their lives to to L.A. every year - because their sexual
inclinations are too complicated for Iowa, or because they want to break into
show biz, or perhaps just because Iowa sucks and L.A. sounds inviting,
glamorous, and snow-free. Once they arrive, the transplants need to find jobs,
places to stay, and friends they can trust. Those would not be easy hurdles to
clear for mature adults, let alone for the naive youngsters that move there.
Some end up in the L.A. gutters; others head back to Iowa with their tails
between their legs; others settle into the same kinds of pedestrian lives they
led in Des Moines; one in a few thousand manages to get a big break of some kind. On
the other side of the spectrum are those who prey on the newbies, and those
who simply rely on them to fill low-level McJobs.
The script of this film weaves together some characters from each of those
categories in a series of vignettes. It was created by author/director Jason
Freeland from some short stories he wrote about life in L.A. Based on the
movie, I presume those stories had little to do with one another. That doesn't
really matter, I suppose, but what does matter is that the story has no good
laughs, no action, no dramatic tension, and no particular insights. Couple all
of that with the shopworn Altmanesque framework, and performances so laid back
they barely have a pulse, and you get a film that seems to go nowhere and
accomplish nothing en route.
That Garden Party song not only lends its title to the film, but it seems
to be sung about a bazillion times. There's also another Rick Nelson song on
the soundtrack. I like Rick. Heck, I can sing along with almost all of
his songs and I never missed an episode of "Ozzie and Harriet" when I was a
kid. But I'm not exactly in the hip young demographic that this film seems to
have been intended for.
The tale of the tape is woeful:
- Garden Party grossed $21,000 in 7 theaters.
- Rotten Tomatoes reports that only 11% of the reviews were positive,
including a perfect 0% from the major critics.
None of the film's many attractive female stars provide any nudity. The one
nude scene, which is actually a pretty good one, is completely gratuitous,
provided by a minor character who plays no part in any of the interweaving
central threads of this random tapestry.
Here's Robin Sydney, who may not
be important to the plot, but is attractive and has a killer bod.
Fiona Dourif appeared in sexy