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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Last Party: Robert Downey Jr. and Gen X Believe 1992 Will Change Everything

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM


The Last Party is an unabashedly partisan documentary hosted by a mid-recovery Robert Downey, Jr., as both he and his generation (hey, that's us! Me, anyway!) try to make sense of the world they're inheriting. Through interviews with celebrities and civilians alike, this sense-making mission is set against the backdrop of the nonsensical 1992 election.

Is it self-indulgent for Downey? Sure, but it's frequently touching, epsecially the running thread of him reconnecting with his father, the legendary cult director and Gong Show Movie-coscreenwriter. Downey Jr.'s lack of ego onscreen, and his willingness to look silly, is also charming. (There's a bit of Goatboy in us all.)

As for the rest of the world, what's striking is how little has changed in the past 20 years -- Spike Lee's comments about racism and economics are just as true as ever, especially in these stupid, stupid days when hoodies are being blamed for hate crimes -- other than the technology. Holy shit, he's editing Malcolm X on a Moviola!

Speaking of things that haven't changed, Oliver Stone describes the corporate-owned media. Except I'm pretty sure the number you'll hear him state is far fewer than 23 now.

The speeches in Patton or Glengarry Glen Ross are all fine and good, but for my money, there's no greater monologue in film than Downey's "If money is evil" speech after he visits a trading floor on Wall Street. I used to know it by heart, and I intend to memorize it again.

He speaks to some of the aforementioned high-energy jackrabbit motherfuckers. These days, they'd be called the 1%, or at least 1% wannabes.

The 1992 Republican convention looks much like 2012's probably will: blather about the persecution of Ronald Reagan's legacy by the "liberal media" (a notion which Peter Jennings easily debunks), religious leaders kidding themselves into thinking they can connect with the young people, and shiny, shiny white people line-dancing.

For those youngsters who think that Republicans showing a profound ignorance of history while claiming to be oppressed is a recent phenomenon, consider this statement: "PC and liberalism is worse than McCarthyism ever was."

For that matter, conservative rage (and misinformation) about Planned Parenthood is nothing new, either.

Across the street from the Convention, Downey (b. 1965) gets schooled by once-and-future Geto Boy Willie D (b. 1966) and soon-to-be-former Nation of Islam spokesman Quanell X (b. 1970) about the roots of violence in black communities. I believe that in modern internet parlance, Downey's defense of young America would be characterized as "privilege denying." Quick, somebody start a Fuck Yeah, Privilege Denying Robert Downey Jr. Tumblr!

Inside and outside the Convention. Downey's slow tie-removal speaks for us all.

The film ends with the election of Bill Clinton, and the sincere hope that things would, in fact, change.

What can I say? It made sense at the time.


Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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