Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trash (Paul Morrissey, 1970)

At first I was like: Just give him the damn shoes! Then it suddenly dawned on me. Fuck no. Don't give that motherfucker your shoes. Sure, you can buy another pair once the welfare checks start rolling in, but those are your shoes. I know, it's kinda unorthodox to talk about the final scene at the beginning of a movie review. But if you've seen Paul "Women in Revolt" Morrissey's Trash, you know the final scene is probably one of the most important scenes in film history. Well, at least it is to me. While Holly Woodlawn's decision not to give her dandy-ish caseworker her silver shoes in exchange for welfare might seem illogical to some, I totally understood where she was coming from. You see, Holly has struggled to get everything she owns. Whether it be the bathroom sink (which also doubles as a toilet) or the chest of drawers (which also doubles as a bassinet), Holly has earned the right to be proud of her possessions. In other words, she's not merely going to hand any of them over to some Joan Crawford-loving, welfare check-dangling Friend of Dorothy. And this includes her fabulous silver shoes.

Fab shoes aside, when you get right down to it, Trash is basically about a junkie named "Joe" (Joe Dallesandro) who doesn't get his cock sucked by a shrill cadre of women with irregular eyebrows. Actually, he gets his cock sucked... for awhile. Let me explain. When it obvious that Joe isn't able to transform his flaccid penis into an erect penis, the shrill, irregularly eyebrow-ed women [usually] cease massaging his cock with their mouths. I mean, what's the point, right?

Wait a minute, Holly Woodlawn is one of these cocksucking women. And most people will agree, Holly Woodlawn ain't shrill. In fact, I would go as far as to declare Holly Woodlawn's performance in Trash to be one of the greatest ever to be captured on film. (She's that good, eh?) Are you kidding me? She's amazing.

Seriously, every time she would appear on-screen, the not even close to being feckless audience that lives inside my head would let out an audible gasp.

Sadly, we have to wait eleven minutes for Holly to first appear. (Eleven minutes? That's not too bad.) Yeah, I guess. But watching Joe, who, like I said, is a junkie, talk with a go-go dancer named Geri Miller was pretty painful. On the plus side, we do get to observe Joe's cock as it napped peacefully on his pillowy ball-sack. That being said, after about five minutes, I had grown tired of watching these basket cases not have sexual intercourse.

The same goes for Andrea Feldman's LSD-obsessed "rich girl." Even more shrill and annoying than Geri the go-go dancer, watching these two brainless twits discuss drugs and...uh. All I remember is her screaming about wanting some acid. Anyway, I was getting restless.

Don't get me wrong, I love the film's gritty, nasty, sleazy vibe. But these women are causing me a shitload of emotional distress.

Of course, things get a whole lot better when the gorgeous Holly Woodlawn and her slender jet black pantyhose-adorned legs show up.

The story goes something like this: Transgender legend and one of my biggest inspirations, Holly Woodlawn, who met producer Andy Warhol at a screening of another movie some time before filming, was only supposed to have a bit part in Trash. This changed, however, once Paul Morrissey saw Holly in the dailies.

Realizing that she was more talented than the rest of the cast combined, Paul wrote a bigger part for Holly on the spot. And his instincts paid off big time, as Holly gives a funny, touching and sexy performance as a woman who turns tricks to pay for her boyfriend's heroin habit and has a talent for finding furniture on the side of the road.

Now, you're probably thinking to yourself: Side of the road? Where I come from, that's called garbage. As Holly would say, "Just because people throw it out and don't have any use for it, doesn't mean it's garbage." What can I say? You can't argue with that kind of logic, now can you?

Frustrated that Joe, the man she provides drugs and free furniture for, doesn't slip his erect penis into any of her moist orifices with any regularity, Holly resorts to using a beer bottle instead. This, as you might expect, causes her to become despondent and a tad cranky. I mean, a beer bottle is no substitute for a hot juicy cock. Am I right, ladies? Ladies? Hello? Oh, hey. There you are. I couldn't see you in the corner. At any rate, I am right. It's no substitute.

Blaming the drugs for Joe's impotence, Holly plans to get him on methadone. She also plans to adopt her sister's unborn child in order to qualify for welfare. If all goes to plan, Holly should be up to her eyebrows in welfare checks and succulent cock.

Well, she would be if she wasn't so attached to her shoes. Then again, who needs welfare checks and succulent cocks when you've got a killer pair of shoes? (Can't she use the money she gets from welfare to buy another pair of killer shoes?) Haven't you been paying attention, those her shoes. Gawd.

Containing several laugh out loud moments. Meaning, it boasts multiple instances where laughter occurs. Trash is a scummy look at New York City back when it was filled with junkies and whores. Helping matters greatly is the fact that the film's primary junkie and main whore are played Joe Dallesandro and Holly Woodlawn. Watching them wallow in the filth of that dingy room of theirs brought me a surprising amount of joy. His laconic brand of indifference meshed with her unhinged style of acting (I've read that most of her lines were improvised) in such a way, you would have thought they had been married for years.

Warning: The film features close-up shots of intravenous drug use, women with irregular eyebrows in almost every scene, ass acne and sex with a beer bottle.


  1. Beautiful work. Have you written about Heat yet? That's my favorite of the Dallesandro - Morrissey collaborations. I got to attend an onstage Q&A interview session with the great Holly Woodlawn in London before she died. She didn't disappoint - a charismatic Warhol Superstar 'til the end.

    1. Not yet, but Heat is on my radar.

    2. Oh, and that's awesome that you got to see Holly Woodlawn in person.