An artist fails a test and is required to direct traffic in New York City’s Holland Tunnel. He winds up falling in love with a beautiful woman, who takes him to the moon on a Lunar Cruiser.
It was recently announced that a movie that was made back in 1984 by Tom Schiller, a filmmaker best known for directing segments of “Saturday Night Live” and produced by Lorne Michaels, the creator of SNL and which starred Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, former SNL alums, was never released to the public. The name of the movie was “Nothing Lasts Forever” and shortly before its intended release in September of 1984, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer postponed it and it has never been officially released theatrically or for home media in the United States. It has however, been broadcast on TV throughout Europe over the years and in Germany it screened under the title “Alles ist vergänglich”.
The quality was not very good and it’s hard to tell if that’s a direct result of thirty years of neglect or whether it was part of the supposed plan, to give viewers the perception that they’re watching a movie that is eerily reminiscent of those film from the 30s and 40s. It genuinely looks and sounds like the films of said era and Howard Shore, the composer who would go on to win an Oscar for the “Lord of the Rings” movies, does an exceptional job here recreating the big band sound which dominated for most of the decade while visually, the movie reminds us of the black and white film noir style which utilized stark shadows and moody, dimly lit scenes.
Adam Beckett (Zach Galligan from “Gremlins”) is a famous pianist who is performing at Carnegie Hall. While the audience waits for him to finish his encore, he announces that he is a fake and the entire theatre erupts into mayhem. Adam decides to travel to Europe to get away from the controversy and while on a train, he meets a mysterious man who tells him that he needs to go back to America because bigger and more important responsibilities await him. He agrees but upon returning to New York, everyone is on strike and the Port Authority is now in control of the city. Asked how he will support himself, he exclaims that he wants to be an artist.
After failing a drawing test, he is assigned a boring job under the supervision of his boss Buck Heller (Dan Aykroyd) but shortly after, he meets the beautiful Mara (Apollonia van Ravenstein) who introduces him to a bizarre and strange underworld that nobody dares speak of. Before we know it, Adam is declared the savior of the planet and in order to bring about the change that the world needs, he has to take a bus to the moon which is closely guarded and observed by its conductor Ted Breughel (Bill Murray) and meet the mysterious and enigmatic Eloy (Lauren Tom) and fall in love with her.
I felt like I was watching an earlier incarnation of “The Matrix” but without the spectacular special effects and intricate and intertwining plot-lines that film so cleverly employed. By the end of this movie, it felt like everyone involved was ingesting acid and while the film genuinely looked like a motion picture straight out of the 40s, it was never actually revealed what time frame the events take place. One character alludes to an event that happened in the 1950s but even with that vague reference, we’re left in a sort of limbo as characters go from the earth to the moon and back again by simply floating away.
MGM never released the movie in the U.S. and I can understand why. The movie has obvious undertones of Luciferianism, Freemasonry and Astrotheology and in one scene, a character even talks about everyone in the city having electronic chip implants embedded into their skin so the government can keep track of them. Scary indeed and this was thirty years ago! Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd appear in glorified cameos and while the rest of the cast is competent in their respective roles, the movie, on the whole, just feels like a surreal nightmare that you’re more than happy to wake up from.