Tommy is an incredible intense creative and surreal experience. I feel like anybody who considers themselves a creative type should sit down and watch this masterpiece. Within the 108 running time no matter how many times you watch this movie, you’re being taken on an incredible journey that’s like taking drugs if they actually did offer a beneficial experience.
I first came across this film as a child in my local videostore. I remember seeing the cover that features a guy wearing sunglasses, earplugs and a cork in his mouth, wondering what in the hell I was looking at. I then turned the box around to read that this was a film involving a main character who goes deaf, dumb and blind after seeing his father murdered. I then saw the photo of Tina Turner holding a large syringe and as a child I was terrified. Still to this day the image of Tina Turner holding that syringe is very iconic to me.
It was a few years later I was at my grandmother’s house flipping through Showtime where I happened to see the ending of this film with Tommy walking around the ruins of his holiday camp singing and I was mesmerized, finally ready to rent this from the videostore. Almost instantly it became an obsession of mine, particularly Paul Nicholas as Cousin Kevin. I remember having a video camera and having a friend reenact that scene who I had sit in a chair pretending to be Tommy as I danced around until I shoved a pillow over their face.
I also sent that scene to as many people as I could. The Cousin Kevin scene is easily one of the coolest and greatest moments ever to take place in a musical film.
Tommy is also the reason I won’t tolerate bullshit form a big budget popcorn movie. This incredibly creative and surreal film costed five million dollars which in 1975 was equivalent to just under twenty five million dollars. You truly see every penny of this film’s budget on screen. I always find it more creative and fulfilling than popcorn films that cost over 100 million dollars and seem as if they took the most generic B movie script and added as much CGI as humanly possible as a means of covering up the mediocrity.
Another thing I love about Tommy that films also fail to do anymore is an incredibly entertaining film that also has serious subject matter. I slowly die on the inside whenever I hear somebody say “When I go to the movies, I don’t wanna think.” Well judging by our current president, it’s pretty clear that most Americans refuse to think period.
It’s incredible to watch a film that’s more entertaining than the average movie in recent years that deals with subject material such as a child seeing his father killed by his mother’s lover, the question being asked on Christmas Morning of does a deaf, dumb and blind kid go to hell since they don’t know who Jesus is, pedophilia and propaganda and profit within religion and gurus. It’s depressing how people shut off their minds with ease and will say they don’t want a movie that makes them think, and yet have zero issue with movies advertising products shamelessly.
A running gag in Little Nicky was pretty much an ad for Popeyes. About as hilarious as anything else in an Adam Sandler movie.
Mac and Me, an ET ripoff funded by McDonalds as a means of advertising McDonalds’ horrible food. America at its very worst.
Only 80s kids remember the Transformers not being a 2 and a half hour car commercial.
With musicals it’s important for the soundtrack to deliver and this by far is perhaps the greatest soundtrack of all time. You get an all-star cast covering amazing songs by The Who. The cameos in this film are by far the most impressive.
First there’s Eric Clapton playing a reverend in a church that worships Marilyn Monroe.
Then it’s Tina Turner going full force as The Acid Queen.
Then it’s the greatest scene by far in the film, Paul Nicholas as Cousin Kevin which according to IMDB was the first thing shot for Tommy.
Then it’s Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie. One part I love about this scene is when Oliver Reed burns his newspaper and a large burned piece flies up and hits Keith Moon in the face.
A couple of scenes later the iconic Elton John is revealed to be The Pinball Wizard, this song being the only time a cover of a Who song cracked the top 10. Elton John as The Pinball Wizard, yes a film this awesome is real.
The final iconic cameo is Jack Nicholson as Tommy’s doctor, who appears in this film the same year he did One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Throughout the entirety of this film we get the great Ann Margaret and Oliver Reed playing Tommy’s parents. Oliver Reed is an actor that I absolutely love because of this movie. Notable for playing Dickens villain Bill Sikes in Oliver, Oliver Reed does what he does best in Tommy and that is portraying a intimidating slimeball who appears to be sweating booze all the time, which he apparently did a lot of in real life. Ann Margaret in her performance, dedicating herself fully and never phoning it in. Ann Margaret put so much of herself into this film that at one point she cut herself on a shard of glass, went to the hospital and returned the next day ready to go.
Tommy is a film that offers one unforgettable experience that’s horribly underrated and underappreciated. Hollywood would in fact prefer this film be forgotten because once you experience Tommy, it’s near impossible to tolerate a mediocre film pumped out that’s the introduction to a multi-billion dollar cinematic universe.