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Escape from New York

“Snake Plissken. I’ve heard of you. I heard you were dead.”

Many films in the early 80s continued the cynicism of the 70s, and that certainly holds true for a number of John Carpenter’s films, who has used several of his films and characters in them to take a pointed look at the hypocrisy of the government and society’s ills as he saw them. His 1981 film ‘Escape From New York’ falls into that mold, while also feeling like nothing more than an early 80s action thriller set in a dystopian future. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our 1981 series with Carpenter’s ‘Escape From New York.’ We talk about how the film holds up for us (not very well despite still being fun) and why it likely doesn’t work as well as other films of Carpenter’s in that period. We discuss the glimpse into the year 1997 as the film describes it and reminisce about what really happened in 1997. We chat about the performances, from Kurt Russell in one of his iconic roles, to Lee Van Cleef to Adrienne Barbeau to Isaac Hayes in a role far too weakly written for him. We touch on the production of the film and how they didn’t film any of it in New York City except a few bits on Liberty Island. And we chat about the character of “Snake” Plissken, why he works, why we like him, and if we agree with Russell in saying that it’s an intrinsically American character and should only be played by American actors when they finally get around to doing a remake. It’s a fun film that unfortunately really carries the burden of its budget and its time around its neck, getting weighed down and faltering when it has such a great concept. Regardless, we have a great time talking about it. Tune in!

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