Deadly Drifter aka Out (1982) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Deadly Drifter (1982) is called Out at IMDB. Very little information is available under either name.  One of the two who commented at IMDb clearly understood the film much better than I did. 
As the film opens, Peter Coyote and a young girl are sneaking around, peek in a window, and see a young man tied to a chair, and a topless girl dancing around him with a knife. Peter lights a stick of dynamite and tosses it in, then Peter and the girl catch a cab, who takes them to group headquarters, where they use a combination of dice and alphabet soup to see what the next assignment is.  


see the main commentary

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1

  • no extras

From there, the film gets seriously strange. Coyote starts off on a cross-country Odyssey ending in Santa Monica, California, and, along the way, develops psychic ability, partially thanks to something an Indian has him smoke. Also in the film are Danny Glover in a small part, and Olan Shephard. It is billed as absurdist, and I concur that it is absurd, but I did watch it beginning to end, largely because I was waiting for something I could understand.
Scoop's note: they have Danny Glover on the cover of the DVD box although his role is virtually a cameo! 

This is my kind of movie. It got trapped in the eternal paradox of radical art. If all the universe is meaningless, pointless, and absurd, then nihilist films, being part of the universe, must be meaningless, pointless and absurd. If they were not, they would stand as evidence against their central thesis. They are thus trapped into a dilemma where there are only two choices. Either, on the one hand, they are correct and must be therefore pointless, meaningless and absurd. Or, on the other hand, they are simply wrong.

Frankly, based on this film, I can see no evidence to refute their point. They have convinced me that nothing has meaning or purpose, or at least that there is nothing in the film to belie that claim.

The dialogue is filled with portentous non-sequiturs, all delivered with solemnity. After they get into that cab, it goes something like this:

He (to driver): Hey, aren't you following us? You've been following us all day.

Driver: It's a coincidence.

He: You're an agent.

She: Somebody in this cab is an agent.

Driver: Maybe it's you.

She: Oh, everyone really works for the government.

all nod knowingly

They whisper almost all of their profound dialogue, and it is stuff like this:

He: When the tides are high, the rivers run faster.

She: Will you follow the river?

He: Only if it stops at the sea

She: How can you tell when the river ends and the sea begins. Does your Uncle Sasha know?

He: No, but the seagulls know

While the characters are talking, the director intercuts "meaningful" numbers which take up the entire screen. First 10, then 1, then 0, then 0 divided by 1, then 0 divided by 1 equals 0.

The film consists of ten unrelated chapters, beginning with chapter ten and finishing at chapter one. Some of the same performers appear in different segments, but with different names. I never understood one thing in the entire film, but it had a quiz in the special features, and there is a quiz inside the DVD box. I'm not kidding. I'd have a better chance taking a quiz on Finnegan's Wake.


Eli Hollander wrote, directed, produced, and edited. According to IMDb, he never did any of those things again, an illustration that life can, on rare occasion, be fair.

He is now a full Professor in the film department at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he is inspiring other, younger men to follow the trail he so confusingly blazed. Best of all, he teaches the class on film editing!

I sure hope they don't have to pass that quiz on Deadly Drifter to ace his course.

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 2.5/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.8 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D. WTF? (Scoop says: no way it can be a D. It's incoherent, pretentious gibberish, amateurishly filmed and cut. It's funny to laugh at for a few minutes, but that novelty soon wears thin. Did Maltin really give this 2.5 stars? One of the 50 worst movies I've ever seen. F)

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