Review: 'Goodbye Seventies' Captures a Bygone Era in Porn

by Roger Walker-Dack

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday February 16, 2021

'Goodbye Seventies'
'Goodbye Seventies'  

There is an uneasy space in cinema where homages to bad '70s movies sit. The cliches of stilted dialogue, dodgy camera angles, arthouse pretentiousness, and grainy visuals can hardly be celebrated without employing them, and doing so feels like double-dipping back into a garbage can we were all glad to empty.

Todd Verow enthusiastically digs deep into the dirt with the self-aware title of "Goodbye Seventies." We have a feeling it will be uttered with the same relief that we will all be saying, "Goodbye, 2020."

Bradford Christianson (Chris Rehmann) is an aspiring Broadway dancer who slips on a puddle of puke while mounting the stairs to an underground gay club in 1970s New York. He is too badly injured to "Showgirls" his way to the top and is forced to find an alternate profession. He and his partner in crime Vinnie (Ken Kaissar) decide that they can make a living by replacing the Swedish arthouse movies that gave a veil of avant garde respectability to the adult cinemas with some proper man-on-man entertainment.

After persuading the venue owners to give their movies a chance, they turn out to be a huge success - or at least a reasonable source of income to provide drugs to Bradford and the performers he recruits from his nightly exploits in underground sex clubs. But success proves short-lived, and the looming specter of AIDS works its way through his community and career.

There is no dividing line in this work between a bad movie and a satire of a bad movie. The stilted lines are spoken as if being read, followed by awkward pauses and attempts to show the emotion that the lines were supposed to evoke. It's hard to tell whether this was deliberate for not, but it's so consistent that it is impossible to believe it isn't. It seems Todd Verow wants us to know exactly what it feels like to watch badly acted trash.

An authentic bow-chicka-wow porny pulp fusion soundtrack lends the film a wonderful and almost hypnotic authenticity. (Thank you, Colin Owens.)† Visually, the movie employs the same techniques as the '70s movie it builds itself around. The camerawork is grainy, odd angled, and amateurish, but in the most committed way.

It's a long 90 minutes to maintain the veneer of dodgy underground adult entertainment. While the consistent authenticity is admirable for the first time, we were thirsty for a little vajazzling.

"Goodbye Seventies" is coming to DVD & VOD February 16, 2021

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.