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by Garon Cockrell
Nothing Lasts Forever - The 80's cult film that was never allowed to be.
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By Garon Cockrell
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Dec. 24, 2012 12:01 a.m.

“You will get everything you want in your lifetime; only you
won’t get it in the way you expect”<>
When writer/director Tom Schiller
wrote this line of dialogue for his film Nothing
Lasts Forever, he couldn’t have had any idea he was predicting his own
future with the movie. Nothing Lasts Forever
is the best cult film you’ve (probably) never seen and most haven’t heard
about. Produced almost thirty years ago, the studio MGM refused to release it.
Even after MGM’s library was sold to Warner Bros the film has never been available
on VHS or disc. Schiller said he was in touch with the studio for years,
receiving a number of different reasons for the delay including music and stock
footage clearance problems. He was always promised release was close in coming,
but as of 2012 this promise has not been fulfilled. Schiller described the
treatment of his film as saddening. <>
The movie is a whimsical comedy
loosely set in the 1930’s. It alternates between black and white for scenes set
in ‘reality’ and color for its more fantastical moments; much like The Wizard of Oz. It’s story follows
Adam Beckett (Zach Galligan of Gremlins
fame) as an aspiring artist who returns to his home of New York City to find it
under martial law by the Port Authority due to a transit strike. He is forced
to work as a bridge monitor (Dan Aykroyd makes an appearance as Beckett’s boss).
Eventually he makes friends with a hobo who takes him underground and reveals
that all the cities of the world are run by a secret network of hobos. Furthermore,
America has a secret base on the moon and the bums want him to travel up there
and meet the love of his life. This in turn leads to him accidently getting on
a bus that is in fact bound for the moon. Eddie Fisher (famous singer and
father of Princess Leia) makes a cameo as himself while Bill Murray stars as
the man running a vast conspiracy to keep senior citizens shopping on the moon.
The plot is not as incoherent as it
would seem because it is in keeping with the films absurdist style. Nothing Lasts Forever has the feel of a
Terry Gilliam movie with the surreal comedic elements of Top Secret. Tom Schiller worked on Saturday Night Live in its early years and with Lorne Michaels as
Producer, the humor of early SNL is in the DNA of this movie; especially when Aykroyd
and Murray are on screen.<>
that appear in this film also starred in huge hits that year such as Gremlins and Ghostbusters. That fact is part of the baffling mystery of why Nothing Lasts Forever has been held
back. Schiller states that two years in a row he had offers to show the film at
Cannes and both years MGM refused to allow it. Nothing Lasts Forever is certainly offbeat and it is debatable if
the film would have been popular with a wide audience (the resolution feels
frustratingly incomplete with no explanation of what was really achieved by
going to the moon), but the star power alone should have warranted a theatrical
or home video release.<>
enough, as of right now, the only “official” way to see the movie is on
European television, or catch one of the rare, random screenings at a festival
or theater. At a recent Q&A, Tom Schiller said that he was very happy that at
least the movie got seen and he liked the experience of being with the audience
when they saw it. In essence, it was everything he wanted, just not in the way
he expected. <>

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