Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
by Garon Cockrell
Nothing Lasts Forever - The 80's cult film that was never allowed to be.
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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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