30 movies hath november – Eat the Peach (1986)

first the bad news:  there are no video clips, no web-pages-dedicated-to-it, no film stills, not available on dvd or vhs for rental or purchase, the barest of entries in imdb. … took me an hour of hard searching and all the google-fu I could muster to find this microscopic image of the poster

teh SO is a genius.  for realz.  he went searching on eBay, and not only found the movie for sale (VHS, used, natch) but even found a trailer ! (the voice over on the trailer does not match my description below. at all) but you must remember that I saw this movie once, 20+ years ago.  plus the voice over of the trailer is for the American market and likely to emphasize the funny bits;  there are some)

                         (don't bother to click on the image.  this is as big as it gets)

so no clips, no abundance of linkage, just me (gulp!) words.  which it is a disservice to Eat the Peach, one of the best, most original, and sweetest movies I've seen.  as a rental.  a vhs rental. in 1987 or 1988.  rented from one of those funky, super small, every space jammed with rickety shelves loaded with tapes video stores run by a a strangish-looking-yet-friendly-movie-obsessed-fellow-who-could-talk-about-every-movie-in-the-place-for-hours that, believe it or not, used to be a fairly common type of video store until BlockBuster (whose descent into bankruptcy gives me no end of schadenfreude and glee) ran them all into the ground.

<sigh>

the movie takes place in a small Irish village. when I say "village" it is – the roads (even in town) are dirt, most houses are barely more than shanties, there are large empty areas all over town, overgrown, unkempt. 
Eat the Peach is set in the early 1980s, a period when poverty-ridden Ireland was taking a turn for the worse.  one of the few employers in town, an automobile factory, closes shop, making a bad situation even more dire. one of the town men (our hero as it were) owns a motorcycle.  alongside a friend, our hero catches a TV showing of one-of-the-most-forgettable-among-many-forgettable Elvis Presley movies: Roustabout (1964). the scene we are shown the friends watching is one where Elvis rides his motorcycle around a carnival-type velodrome, and our hero, inspired, decides to build a wooden velodrome in his backyard. 
this is hard for me to explain, but the idea is that the velodrome is like a big tall barrel with a ramp entrance:  the rider enter the velodrome and goes round and round until riding almost perpendicular to the inside walls of the velodrome.   hell, if you've seen The Simpsons movie you may have an idea of what I'm trying to describe.

things happen, other things happen, our hero builds a shakey and fragile-looking wooden velodrome, manages to perform the feat, and since this is not an American movie,  fails spectacularly at making any money out of it.  not only that, but a veryverybadthing happens towards the end of the movie that leads to… nothing.  nothing.  no insight, no redemption, …nothing.  we are left with the impression that life will continue kind of as it were.  maybe not.

I cannot express the impact this movie had on my thinking and appreciation of movies.  it was such a shock to not have a nicely-wrapped-up ending.  I'm forever thankful that no American studio was ever interested in remaking Eat the Peach since as we all know, American studios hate  untidy movies, untidy people, untidy endings.

another lovely, lovely characteristic of Eat the Peach: though it takes place in Ireland, there is not much "Irishness" in it.  there is a pub, yes, but no full-of-wisdom bartender or witty banter. no one with a 'spring on their step and a wink on their eye'.  the men sit, silent, staring into their pints at the pub. the women try to maintain their households on a string and a prayer. kids play. there are  joyous moments but mostly life is hard, you get kicked regularly and you pick yourself up. sometimes.



update @19:43 11/04/2009: added link to trailer and 2nd paragraph

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4 thoughts on “30 movies hath november – Eat the Peach (1986)

  1. I told ya. like it vanished from this earth. which sucks. I wonder who you have to blow to make old movies available on DVD.

  2. Never heard of it.Aren't "European endings" great? The story is told, the movie ends. No happily ever afters for everyone involved… often no "wrapping things up" at all. I love it.

  3. Life comes at you pretty fast. If you don't look before you cross, you could end up somebody's hood ornament.

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