Sunday, November 1, 2015

Streetwalkin' (Joan Freeman, 1985)

If you're not a prostitute, a pimp, a John or a run of the mill lowlife, I'm afraid there's no place for you in Streetwalkin', the second best movie about a demented white psycho-pimp on the warpath. The best, of course, is Vice Squad. However, this film, co-written and directed by Joan Freeman, does away with the cop subplots and the ham-fisted moralizing. You heard right, there are no police and no-one tries to teach us a valuable lesson, it's just prostitutes, pimps, Johns, run of the mill lowlifes and nothing else. What's that? Is there a place for leggy junkie whores in this movie? Even though they fit under the prostitute umbrella, I can assure you, leggy junkie whores are more than welcome. In fact, if I happened to be cruising the streets for affordable poontang in this particular section of New York City during the mid-1980s, I know exactly which leggy junkie whore I would choose. I think you all know which leggy junkie whore I'm talking about. Let's all say her name together, ready... 1, 2, 3, Phoebe!!! That's weird, most of you yelled "Cookie," the name of the naive floozy played by Melissa Leo. While I adored Cookie's predilection for white stockings and pink mini-skirts (an awesome combination), I'm sucker for Annie Golden, especially when she plays–that's right, you got it–leggy junkie whores.

Now that I've established which prostitute I want to go on a "date" with, let's move on to another topic. Just kidding, there are no other topics. Actually, that's not entirely true. The film does shed a fair amount of light on the importance of choosing a pimp. I know, that's not really another topic, but it's got nothing to do with Annie Golden's nylon-ensnared thighs shimmering in the neon slime, and that's something.

As I was saying, selecting a pimp that fits your hooking style is the most important decision a whore has to make during her lifespan. Whether you're a rookie like Cookie or a been there, done that old timer like Queen Bee (Julie Newmar), you need think carefully before settling on a pimp.

Since most pimps get off on the power, you need to stir clear of pimps who are megalomaniacal.

If you have a drug habit, you need to go with a pimp who will tolerate your constant nagging for a fix. And judging by the pimp Annie Golden's Phoebe has representing her lavender-scented cooze, she has chosen wisely. Call me misguided and a tad on the deranged side, but I can tell that Finesse (Antonio Fargas) pimps with a chivalrous grace. And I'm not just saying that because his name is "Finesse." No, I'm saying this because his wardrobe is on point... and he keeps tiny packets of smack in the brim of his hat.

As for Cookie, she chooses unwisely. Now, granted, she didn't really have a choice when it came time to pick a pimp (she's turned out at the bus station). That being said, she should have known that letting Duke (Dale Midkiff) be the one to turn her out was going to end badly. Of course, I'm not saying that all white pimps are sick in the head. But let's get real, white men don't pimp because of socio-economic reasons. They pimp because they're usually sadistic twists who feed off the misery of others.

Not to brag, but I knew Duke was trouble the moment I laid eyes on him. And we're talking trouble with a capital 'T.' Unfortunately, Cookie doesn't see what I see. Instead, she sees Duke as her savior when he approaches her and Tim (Randall Batinkoff), her younger brother, at the bus station.

Given that the film is a Roger Corman production, the cast and crew have very little to work with as far as resources go. However, the makers of this film have one thing that money can't buy. That's right, they have all of New York City–in the mid-1980s–at their disposal. Shot entirely at night over the course of twenty days, the film captures the city during the height of its reign as the cultural center of the universe.

It's true, the majority of the run of the mill lowlifes who appear in this film have no idea they're living through a cultural renaissance. But when they (the run of the mill lowlifes) look back at this particular period of time years later, they'll be able to fully grasp the importance of the era with a little more clarity. That is, if they somehow managed to not get murdered, or overdose, or die of AIDS, or accidentally fall down a manhole.

Since the film doesn't have the time or the budget to show Duke and Cookie getting know each other, they simply show that Cookie keeps a photo-booth photo of her and Duke posing as a couple in love spanning time on the wall of her apartment. Oh, and if you're wondering how Cookie managed to get her own place so quickly, you can thank Duke for that, and, to lesser to extent, you can thank Cookie's pussy. What am I saying, "to a lesser extent." If anything, Cookie's pussy is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.

Do you see that box of Twinkies Cookie is putting away? Yeah, Cookie's pussy paid for those Twinkies. And the great thing about Cookie's pussy is that she doesn't even have to insert anything into it to get paid. What I mean is, she can make men ejaculate sperm simply by flashing her pale, white stocking-adjacent thighs at them.

As Cookie is making men cum their corduroys without even touching them, Duke is beating up Heather (Deborah Offner), a fellow prostitute and Cookie's roommate. As you might expect, the reason Duke is doing this is because of money (he thinks Heather is holding out on him).

After Cookie takes an unconscious Heather to the E.R., she probably starts thinking to herself: Maybe this Duke fella isn't the best pimp for me. Enter Jason (Leon), a charming pimp who's tough yet fair. Actually, I have no idea if he's "tough yet fair." I do know this, Cookie wants him to be her pimp. I also know this, Duke isn't going to be pleased when he finds out his biggest earner has defected to the competition.

It might be awhile before he finds out, as Duke is too busy trying to steal Star (Khandi Alexander) away from Finesse, a suave pimp whose talent for cooling hos out is the stuff of pimping legend. Taking place at an after hours pimp club, Duke makes a play for Star right front of Finesse. Finesse's other ho, Phoebe (Annie Golden),  is there, too. But she's too stoned to notice.

What I liked most about the scenes at the after hours pimp club was the use of "I Want To Be Real" by John Rocca (it's song that's playing when Duke walks in), the part where Duke's sleazy sidekick, Creepy (Greg Germann), tries to pick up a woman at the bar, the abundance of neon, and, of course, Annie Golden acting high as fuck.

Even though I mentioned her earlier, I can't believe it's taken me this long to refer to Julie Newmar's outfit. Okay, here it goes, Julie Newmar, who, like I said earlier, plays Queen Bee (a streetwise older whore), wears red stockings and... that's pretty much it. Oh, sure, she's wearing a red teddy type leotard thingy. But let's get real, her red stockings are not to be trifled with. Dominating every scene she's in with a leggy aplomb, Julie Newmar's 50 year-old gams sheathed in red stockings manage to steal every scene they're in. It also helps that Julie Newmar gives a funny performance as an aging hooker who hopes to save up enough money to get in the "horse business."

People, like me, who mostly know Melissa Leo as Det. Howard from the '1990s TV show, Homicide: Life on the Street, might find the sight of her making dumb decisions in sexy lingerie a little hard to swallow. But after awhile, I kind of got used to it. The reason it took some getting used is because her role on Homicide is the complete opposite to Cookie. We're talking no make-up, no mini-skirts, no BDSM. And, yes, there's a great BDSM scene in Streetwalkin' where Cookie and Star are paid to rough up a John in a cheap motel.

To surprise of no-one, Duke becomes enraged when he finds out that Cookie has joined up with Jason. Enlisting the help of Creepy, Duke doggedly pursues Cookie for the majority of the film's final third. And if that means getting in fist-fights with every other pimp in the city, so be it, as the Wings Hauser is strong in this one. Wait, did I just make a Star Wars reference? Ugh. Hopefully nobody will read this far. Anyway, did I mention that Streetwalkin' is a great movie? (You sort of did... in your own convoluted way.) Cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment