UPDATE 1/7/15 – If you missed the tweet-along to NOTHING LASTS FOREVER (1984) w/ special guest Zach Galligan, you can read highlights here.
Original Post – 1/6/15
Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd appeared in two sci-fi action comedies in 1984 – one you’ve heard of, and one you probably haven’t.
The first, Ivan Reitman’s GHOSTBUSTERS, was released by Columbia in June and spawned one of the most lucrative franchises in Hollywood history, with a chart-topping theme song, TV cartoon spin-off, comic books, theme park rides, video games, a 1989 sequel, a 2014 theatrical re-release, and a planned all-female reboot from director Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS).
The second, Tom Schiller’s NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, originally scheduled for release in September – ostensibly to ride the coattails of GHOSTBUSTERS’ success – was instead shelved by the financially unstable MGM/UA.
It remains unreleased, in any form, three decades later.
Fast forward to this past Saturday, when Turner Classic Movies gave the legendary “lost” film its American TV premiere as part of the TCM Underground cult film series. But what should have been an opportunity for rejoicing was missed by many film fans (including me), who slept through the 2 a.m. broadcast in a protracted New Year’s hangover.
Cue Andy Ross. The 29-year-old, Greenville, Tennessee-based newspaper columnist, a regular participant in the #TCMParty Twitter community, is co-hosting a special live tweet-along of the film– which is available on the Watch TCM streaming app– tonight at 8 p.m. (ET).
“It’s such a fascinating footnote from a time where there really aren’t many, if any, ‘lost’ big studio movies,” Ross told me in an email. “The fact that TCM did one of their lovely sneaky surprises like this is amazing. It’s very much worth supporting.”
“It shouldn’t be as much of a secret as it is,” Ross added.
Written and directed by Schiller, an Emmy-winning writer perhaps best known for the 1978 short DON’T LOOK BACK IN ANGER (wherein an elderly John Belushi eerily dances on the graves of his fellow SNL cast members), NOTHING LASTS FOREVER is clearly a film ahead of its time. Like Schiller’s LOVE IS A DREAM, a touching 1988 short starring Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, NOTHING LASTS FOREVER is an homage to classic film, with stylistic and storytelling tropes from the Studio Era interwoven in a post-modern satire about a dystopian New York City.
So why has this delightful film, which stars Zach Galligan of GREMLINS fame and Lauren Tom from THE JOY LUCK CLUB (1993) and features appearances by Eddie Fisher, Sam Jaffe, Imogene Coca, Mort Sahl, and the legendary Calvert DeForest (a.ka. David Letterman’s Larry “Bud” Melman), remained unseen?
“MGM/UA was going through one of many rough patches in 1984,” Lou Lumenick, classic film historian and co-host for tonight’s live tweet, told me via email. “MGM had acquired the faltering UA (their distributor since 1973) in 1981, and by 1984 owner Kirk Kerkorian was looking to unload the combined company. A number of shaky movies (like HOUSE OF GOD) got shelved; NOTHING LASTS FOREVER was always a unlikely film for a major studio release.”
“By 1985, Ted Turner had bought MGM/UA but sold it back to Kerkorian after 90 days minus its MGM, pre-1950 WB and RKO holdings (but not the post-1952 UA library, which MGM still owns),” Lumenick added. “NOTHING LASTS FOREVER fell through the cracks with just a few special screenings over the last 10 years at Bill Murray’s insistence.”
Tonight’s live tweet is also an historic event for the TCM Party community, which launched in September of 2011 and has transformed the sometimes lonely experience of watching obscure classic films into a 24/7 “party” on Twitter.
“This will be the first time we’ve ever live-tweeted a film on the TCM streaming app,” TCM Party co-founder Paula Guthat told me. “Streaming has changed the way many fans watch classic movies, and we hope to bring the shared, community experience of #TCMParty to that.”
To distinguish from tonight’s regularly scheduled TCM programming, Guthat developed an alternate hashtag for viewers of NOTHING LASTS FOREVER –#WatchTCMParty. If you’ve never tweeted along to a film before, simply add #WatchTCMParty to your tweets and open up a search window in your Twitter app so you can see what other viewers are tweeting.
One important reminder: Watch TCM is only available to authenticated cable and satellite subscribers who currently receive TCM as part of their cable package, and not all providers support it. (I’m looking at you, Time Warner Cable.) The app is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android devices or you can simply watch on the TCM website. You’ll need the username and password you use to access your cable or satellite account to log in; if you don’t have that, call your provider and ask for help. (And if they don’t help you, threaten to cancel. That always works for me. Plus they may throw in a free month of HBO).
While NOTHING LASTS FOREVER has an ostensible happy ending, the future of the film remains unclear.
“A rep for Warner Home Video told me today that they’re still working on clearing the rights necessary for a release,” Lumenick said. “Just because a film has been cleared for TV or even for streaming doesn’t mean it’s clear for home video.”
If you can’t make tonight’s live tweet, you have until Sunday, January 11 to watch the film on TCM’s app and website. Because nothing lasts forever.