Is Ulmer’s Detour one of the best movies ever?
I guess that depends. There is something in my personality that flips on once every blue moon. On very rare occasions, I am able to take something entirely on its own terms. Sometimes the subject is a person, like my one-time landlord and crypto-fascist, drug dealing, porn producing friend (hi, B!). Sometimes it’s an album, like Digable Planets’ Blowout Comb. And in each case, I am able to see the subject the way it wants to be seen. I mistake its foibles for inspiration. Its assumptions are my assumptions, and its detractors just don’t understand. For most purposes, we can consider this a delusion. But in another way, I am seeing the subject as its own truth. In a way, I am more right about the subject than anyone else.
So for whatever reason, Detour gets this treatment. It is a seminal movie no matter how you slice it, of course, but there is plenty that’s ridiculous in it. But all of its flaws are so easy to disregard, so easily brushed away. And the movie underneath is perfect. It is one of the best movies ever.
Anyway, here’s a little clip from Detour that cracks me up: Video – Detour – Ann Savage and Tom Neal. You can watch Detour in its entirety here. If you do watch it, think of all of the movies that wouldn’t exist (or wouldn’t be the same) if there’d been no Detour. (“Paging Mr. Herman. Mr. Herman, you have a telephone call at the front desk.”)