82 - Up Your Alley (1989) Blairvember 2017
It’s with deep regret we welcome Grindbin All-Star Murray Langston back to the show (Night Patrol). Yes, the comedian famous for putting a bag over his head returns; only this time he’s living in the bag. That was a bad joke. Imagine watching 90 minutes of that, you’d have a good idea of what Up Your Alley is like.
It’s not that I hate Murray Langston as a person, I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy, but his work is so insulting that I take it as a gift from above that he no longer attempts to write or direct movies.
What makes Up Your Alley particularly offensive is its insistence on trying to portray itself as sympathetic to the people it openly mocks. Murray Langston plays a homeless man who hangs out with other homeless people - this sounds fine on the surface - the only issue is that Murray isn’t like them, they are all crazy, he’s the regular one trying to keep this band of misfits in line. Without Murray their world would devolve into chaos - they would defecate all over the place, eat or drink themselves to death, and generally harass the public until they would eventually end up behind bars and start the process all over again.
Linda Blair plays a newspaper reporter who is trying to get ahead in her career by sleeping with her boss and still hoping to be taken seriously. That’s not a joke, remember this is 1989. In her struggle to be taken seriously Linda constantly poses the question of why she should have to choose between her love life and her career and then constantly asks why she can’t get a promotion for putting in jacuzzi time with the boss. And her boss? A complete tool with no redeeming qualities, someone we would never believe Linda would ever have an interest in other than as a career advancement.
Eventually landing a story to put her on the radar, Linda goes undercover in the world of the homeless to learn more about them and humanize their struggle. Also there is someone murdering the homeless people; it’s not important, seriously, just forget I even mentioned that. During her reporting she meets Murray and his new friend Sonny - who he has reluctantly taken under his wing and is teaching “the ways of the street”.
After spending some time watching Murray dig through dumpsters, make offensive jokes, and insult his closest friends, she inevitably falls in love with him. That’s when we learn the most offensive character trait of all. You see, Murray is not like the other homeless people, he is a regular guy who just fell on hard times when his harlot of a wife left him. It’s her fault he is homeless and can’t get a job, it has nothing to do with him and his drinking problem. In spite of his complete lack of self-awareness and crass nature, Linda falls in love with him and they end up living together - making Murray the one homeless person who is able to leave that cesspool and become a real person again. Also, the one black person in the movie is revealed as the killer.
Screw you Murray Langston.