Toomorrow (1970) (part 10 of 10)

As the group comes on stage we get shots from the audience of Smart Chick, Zombie Sylvana, Matt (whew! He made it! The “D” plot is officially resolved), and some other blonde dressed like Heidi cheering, and Doesn’t-Love-the-Big-Beat Amy applauding tepidly. She’s doing that thing where you applaud only on the lower half of your palm. What’s that called? A golf clap? I thought that was what Tiger Woods got when he slept around.

Caption contributed by Mark

Little known fact: Diana Prince hates Britpop.

The group launches into “If You Can’t Be Hurt”, which goes like this:

”If You Can’t Be Hurt”
Written by:
Mark Barkan & Ritchie Adams
Performed by: Toomorrow

If you can’t be hurt, you can’t be happy
How you gonna laugh if you can’t cry
If you can’t be hurt, you can’t be happy
You can’t be happy unless you try

Life is a gamble, it’s true
For every highway there’s a rocky road, too
And you’re gonna stub your toe
Somewhere down the line, yeah
But chalk it up to living
If you can take what this life is giving
That’s a very good sign, yeah

Baby, I know you been beat
You’ve had too much bitter and not enough sweet
But if you tried it with me
Maybe you’ll be glad
It’s up to you to choose, now
If you want a chance to win or lose
Now don’t you play the game scared, yeah

Yeah, I have no idea what that was about. You know, the strangest thing about this film is, it’s actually causing me to appreciate the artistry of Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives. Seriously, no joke. Because as lame and infuriating and laughable as that movie was, and boy was it, it did the one thing a musical is supposed to do, which is use the musical numbers to help tell the story. Whereas, in this movie, the songs are cues for us to disconnect our brains, just like Barkan and Adams did when they were writing them.

Caption contributed by Mark

”Rip, rip. Rip and destroy! You know the hour’s getting late. Rip, rip. Rip and destroy! Break it down and seal your fate!”

The crowd digs the groovy tune, and they’re all up and dancing. Even Amy—who’s dancing ballet steps to the Big Beat! Man, this is one silly-ass movie. Even more hilarious, her ballet groove catches on as some random dude comes up and starts doing it alongside her!

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Observer, meanwhile, is checking his watch. Hey, dude, I feel you. The movie’s almost over, I promise. I think the watch is actually supposed to be a communications device linking him to Uptight Superior on the ship. That would explain the three or four times the watch has come up in the movie. But that only opens up more questions, like why it still needs winding.

Heidi comes over and urges him to unsquare himself, and, to humor her, he starts snapping his fingers. And then suddenly he’s totally into it, like orgasmically into it, swinging his arms and making enough priceless faces to keep anyone interested in blackmailing Roy Dotrice in business for years. It reminds me of that moment where Cary Grant says he decided to go gay all of a sudden. Then, just as suddenly, he realizes he’s making an utter ass of himself and stiffens right back up. Sorry, buddy, too late. We’ve got it on film! Heh heh heh.

Caption contributed by Mark

”At last my heart’s an open door, and my secret love’s no secret anymore!”

The crowd is up and swinging and the room is filled with energy, so Observer figures the moment of maximum heartfulness has been reached. He signals the ship, and, wow, they’re really going to do it. A twinkly shaft comes down and slowly lifts the stage and surrounding audience right up out of the theater and up into the sky—and the band keeps on playing! And the crowd keeps on dancing! What’s in that music, heroin?

Caption contributed by Mark

No, no, not the floor, the roof! Raise the roof!

And we get a shot of Observer hanging in space, folding his arms in satisfaction, and then another shot of just the band out in space, splitting into four versions of itself [??], and then they’re swallowed by a burst of light, and…

…we cut to Olivia, waking up and slamming her alarm clock off! Huh??

Holy shit, the movie’s starting over! Aaaaaaauuugghhhhh!! *runs screaming from the recap*

Okay, I’m back. The time-counter says there’s only a minute left, so we can’t be starting over. Deep breaths. Nope, definitely not starting over, because she goes straight from the kettle and the theme song on the radio to making the mugs of tea, which means she forgot the pasteless toothbrushing.

Except, when we cut to Vic’s room, it turns out the movie really is starting over, in the sense that it’s back to being the previous morning and Olivia’s frying eggs and talking about the weird dream she had. But Dink’s mod glasses are still in the room, and Karl is wearing them and making jokes about Vic’s “secret,” before they start repeating dialogue from the beginning of the film about Vic having fixed the tonalizer.

Caption contributed by Mark

A rare still from the unreleased film version of Barefoot in the Park, starring David Birney and Flip Wilson.

The camera pans out the window into the sky and—that’s it? That’s the end of the movie! We watch the S.S. Spirograph sail off into the Mutara Nebula as the soundtrack regales us with the closing choruses of “Toomorrow”. Filmed on Location in London England, and fade to black!

OMGWTFBBQ? What the hell just happened? I guess the aliens were able to bottle whatever happened at the Festival, or something, or maybe they really did clone off three copies of the band and abduct the whole audience and take them back to Ork—who knows. And then they took the band back to the previous morning like it never happened. Fine. But if all that’s true, and it’s yesterday, how can Dink’s glasses be in Vic’s room?

Even worse, the movie made it clear that what it really cared about was the “C” plot. But this way, it’s never resolved! We just saw Amy the Ballet Nazi embracing the Big Beat (while simultaneously Doing Her Own Thing) at the festival, which meant Vic and Amy will be compatible after all. But if it’s back to the day before, Amy’s back to being a Ballet Nazi and never gets her redemption. They’re going to miss the Festival—they only made it there despite the obstacles of the “B” plot before with Observer’s help (I think) so either Vic is going to stay whipped, or she’ll dump him again because he loves his tonalizer better than her. It’ll all end in tears, I know it will. In fact, all of the relationship issues just got unresolved, like a loose thread got pulled out at the end and the whole movie just unraveled into a big messy heap.

Wow, that was brutal. The movie as a whole was bizarre enough, and every single plotline led nowhere, but only the 1967 Casino Royale had an ending that made less sense than this one.

At least Olivia was able to live it down, once she reinvented herself with “Physical” and roughed up her nunlike image a little. And Roy Dotrice survived as well, probably because too few people ever saw this movie for those really goofy faces he made when he was dancing to damage his career irreparably. Not long after this he played a key role in the first episodes of Space: 1999, and decades later he’s still working—he even had a part in Hellboy II. I wonder how often anyone mentions this movie to Roy? I’m guessing… never. No one ever mentions this movie to him. Or to anyone. It never happened.

In fact, that’s going to be my policy from now on, too. This recap never happened. It’s yesterday morning and I’m frying my yesterday morning eggs. My, what a strange dream I had!

Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: Toomorrow (1970)

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