Friday, September 14, 2012

Get Off the Bus, Loser: "The Cruise" (1998)

Do not be fooled by the video box cover that tells you this is the man Woody Allen wants to be.

Timothy "Speed" Levitch is a tour bus guide who waxes philosophical about how the tour bus "cruise" is a lot like life, and man, there are "anti-cruisers" out there who want to put your own personal tour through life down. I eventually came to immensely dislike Levitch and this waste of film.

Levitch is not in love with New York City. Levitch is in love with his own voice talking about his love of New York City. The entire film consists of a camera following Levitch around as he spouts his own twisted life philosophy, and wondering aloud why everyone cannot be more like...him. There is no dramatic thrust here, the most suspenseful scene involves his distaste for the new red shirt he must wear as a uniform. I think it is red, this is in black and white for no other reason than to be artsy.

Levitch once spent time in jail, and this had a profound effect on him. I do not know what he was in for, we never find out. Levitch's origins are also a mystery. Is he a native New Yorker? A new arrival who got caught up in the excitement, no matter how fringe-like his existence is? We never find out.

The film makers leave us with over an hour of Levitch's rantings and ravings, and his pithy, self-serving comments while taking bored tourists around in an open air double decker bus. He is trying to change people's souls through the tours, when in all actuality, they probably just want a picture of the Chrysler Building.

Levitch is so self-involved, to the complete ignorance of everyone around him, I do not think I could take five uninterrupted minutes with him. He uses many long multisyllabic words, incorrectly, and overanalyzes everything- from the indestructiveness of a cockroach to the "style" of some plants on a New York sidewalk. He comes off as one of those kinds of people who would fart, then discuss the cosmic repercussions of such a wanton act of his own bowels.

There is an infamous scene where Levitch rants on the Brooklyn Bridge, covering the gamut of anger towards a childhood bully to his mother's own menstrual blood. In the background, you can see the twin towers of the World Trade Center, shrouded in fog and looking half the size they once were. I thought to myself: wow, Levitch had a bad childhood like everybody else, yet there are thousands of people in that center who never did get a chance to rant about past wrongs. They were snuffed out, and we are stuck with this self-pitying loser tour guide telling me how tough he had it. Sorry, Timothy. Sorry, Bennett. I ain't buying it.

Cruise past "The Cruise." (*) out of five stars.