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Not Rated
Copyright 1972 Greaser's Palace Ltd.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 17 February 2001

The Characters:  

  • Jessy - Christ wearing a zoot suit. You don't believe me? Keep reading heretic; it just gets less coherent.
  • The Father - The lead part of the Trinity, he enjoys lazy afternoons shooting hapless women with his air rifle. As in pantomiming holding a rifle and firing, he doesn't shoot people with a real BB gun. Honestly, why would you think that? God walking around shooting people with a BB gun. Ludicrous!
  • The Holy Ghost - Bet you didn't know he wears a sheet (with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth) and black derby. Displays an attitude about his lot in theology and why not? Everybody understands the Father and the Son, but the Spirit gets little press.
  • Lamy Homo - He could be Greaser's illegitimate son. Keeps getting killed, but Jessy brings the little guy back to life every time. His description of the afterlife has me rather worried.
  • Cholera - Daughter to the evil Mr. Greaser and main attraction at the Palace. She might represent the Church of England. Maybe. I think. Regardless of that artsy stuff, she is capable of having multiple orgasms with all her clothes on.
  • The Pioneer Woman - When God first kills your family and then is continuously shooting you, life looks bleak. Bottom line is that she is wandering around the desert while God tortures her for no obvious reason. Guess whom she represents?
  • A French Padre, a Male Nun, the Agent Morris, Vernon, the Man Who Couldn't Crawl, and others - Man, this movie is weird.
  • Seaweedhead Greaser - Constipated owner of the theater/saloon who represents the Catholic Church. (I'm going to try and explain all this in the plot section, but you will soon understand why I'm doomed to failure.)

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I am about to embark on the most pointless exercise known to man and I'm not talking about teaching a pig to fly. (Which actually works with a mildly sedated porker and a small trebuchet.) I'm going to try and explain "Greaser's Palace" to a group of people who probably have not seen the movie. Heck, even if you have seen the movie it's pointless.

You are probably thinking to yourself, "It couldn't be that outlandish. Could it?" Go and look up "naive" in the dictionary. Now.

The entire movie is an anecdotal allegory for religion, Christianity to be precise. If you want to start splitting hairs, I think Catholicism is the basis for everything that comes to pass. Greaser's Palace is a huge saloon in some tumbleweed town out west; we can identify it as being "a church" since people come running to watch the show whenever bells begin ringing. Seaweedhead Greaser is the Catholic Church as represented by a gunslinger with itchy trigger fingers. Why in the world does he have a mariachi band and his mother locked in wooden cages? The musicians are easy to explain; they provide entertainment while Greaser tries to have bowel movements (which he is unable to do). Did I mention the outhouse is on the second or third story, located at one corner? How about everyone watching anxiously, some even leaning over the railings, for signs of success?

Right from the start it is evident that Greaser hates Lamy Homo (pronounced as "lay me homo"). He shoots, stabs, and even dumps the little guy down a well. The Church's efforts to eradicate his homo problem are to no avail; Jessy keeps bringing the reluctant Lazarus back. Lamy consistently recites the same story upon his return from the other side and it's a trip. Readers old enough to remember when Puff relaxed immigration laws and all those runny noses invaded Honah-Lee (Honalee? Hon-a-lee? Who knows?) might identify with me. It's that weird.

Any movie about Western religion would be incomplete without Martin Luther; so where is he? He is the man trying to perform a card trick for Seaweedhead. Check it out, the would-be magician does the old "pick a card, any card" bit. He then holds up card after card, inquiring "This one? How about this one? That one?" Poor Martin Luther, trying in vain to decide which interpretation is correct. History says the man finally gave up and just wrote something to the effect of "Figure it out for yourself!" Then he went to get a hammer and nails, but I'm getting sidetracked.

Still with me?

Native Americans are evident through the film, though never really explored. They are just sort of there, like a whole generation looking for enlightenment in the guise of natural healing, drugs, and free love. No idea what they could represent though; I'm just not that clever. Anyway, you will see them engaged in normally cryptic behavior; self-flagellation with a boot for example.

Dressing sharp and resurrecting the dead are only two of Jessy's routines. He spends most of the movie with a small group following his every move and a memorable scene performing at Greaser's Palace. Singing and dancing doesn't seem to capture the hearts and minds of the townspeople, but when the blood starts flowing from his lacerated palms they go wild with adulation. That's right, Christ exhibiting stigmata. What in the heck? There is no way Christ can display a religious miracle based upon himself, maybe we can attribute it to foreshadowing.

The prodigal son has other tricks up his sleeve though. He can cure people of their ills, even without a telethon going on. When one dirty miner falls to the ground after discarding his crutches you think the miracle might have failed. Wrong! Don't try to anticipate this movie. Ever. The afflicted man begins to cry joyfully, "I can crawl again!" Hehehe! There is a whole scene of him slowly creeping across the floor as Greaser laughs hysterically.

Now, every single conclusion I have drawn is easily the subject of debate. Truth be told, if you came up with your own ideas about whom Cholera represents there is only one way to settle the dispute - trial by combat: two people hacking at each other with broadswords, with the winner (he who is still alive) getting to determine the truth. Don't get all huffy, go and read your history books. Who wrote those? A twitching pile of limbs and entrails or the victor? Case closed, I'm going to sharpen my sword.

However, if anyone has an explanation of how a rhinestone cowboy fits into Christianity, I'm all ears. Wait a minute. He represents the pageantry of the Church, all the shiny things intended to keep our minds occupied instead of a substantial representation of divinity. Now the question is: what place does Hervé Villechaize, living with a bearded hermaphrodite, have in Christianity?

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • When someone starts speaking in tongues it is because the Holy Ghost ground out a lit cigar on their chest.
  • Jesus has a parachute license.
  • Heaven is full of naked babies and rainbows.
  • Oral sex puts women to sleep.
  • The Church made a good choice in dictating only women could be nuns.
  • Christ can walk on water better than anyone else, but his floor routine needs work.
  • Everybody appreciates a naked woman on horseback.
  • Homosexuals cannot stand mariachi music.
  • Jesus is also a licensed chiropractor.
  • If you are going to end the movie with a sunset then please use time elapse photography.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - One has to wonder if a song about the virtues of virginity is lost on this crowd.
  • 7 mins - Tithing?
  • 9 mins - I don't think that singing to the IRS would be a good idea either.
  • 15 mins - Somebody was nice and saved him from all that drug abuse...
  • 23 mins - The Church screwing over Native Americans? I dunno, but that is seriously disturbing.
  • 31 mins - How much do you want to bet she has thirty pieces of silverware? (You'll get it later - heathen.)
  • 43 mins - The horse shot her! Orwell was right!
  • 49 mins - You know what would spruce this place up? A... ...nope, on second thought, I'll stop. If I say it I'm certainly going to Hell. One hint: what do you usually see gracing the wall there?
  • 51 mins - "The Messiah! The Messiah!" Hehehehe!
  • 83 mins - A public service announcement from your local utilities company...

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note greasers1.wav Jessy: "I'm on my way to Jerusalem to be an actor/singer. It is written that the agent Morris awaits me."
Green Music Note greasers2.wav Lamy: "Dad, I was swimming in a rainbow with millions of babies... ...and they was naked... ...and then all of the sudden I turned into a perfect smile!"
Some Old Coot: "Put a rope around the son of a b*tch!"
Green Music Note greasers3.wav Afflicted Man: "I can crawl again!"
Green Music Note greasers4.wav Cholera: "A man with holes in his hands gets a bigger applause than me, and you talk of greatness?"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgreasers1.mpg - 1.7m
It is really difficult to appreciate this movie in the space of only twenty seconds. Just remember that the distinguished gentleman is Seaweedhead (aka: the Church) and this apparently represents what goes on in a confessional.

Go watch the movie. If you're going to be confused, you might as well be confused with the big picture.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 [3] 4
Greasers Palace
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Jadeh
Bravo regularly shows this movie. I didn't recognize it from it's title unti lI saw the picture of Jessy.
Greasers Palace
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Alex Dominguez
Ya saw it on Bravo few years ago and was hooked. I realy like the abstract plot, that in my view pays homage to the
magic and fresh outlook that Christ gave to all the backward
people in the holy land.
Greasers Palace
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Toby
I taped greasers from the independent film channel years ago and made the guys at the shop watch it recently.  Laugh is an understatement.  Will have to get dvd for permanent video library. Another great flic is "Strozek" about a mans tough life in the US after leaving Berlin, subtitled but pretty damn funny.
Greasers Palace
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by mkhall
I just finished watching this without benefit of your review ahead of time. You get major kudos for stringing together a quasi-plausible interpretation of the film, and making it funny as hell. I enjoyed the film, in a "what did I just do to my higher brain functions?" kind of way; your review let me know I'm not alone.
Greasers Palace
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Nathan
The following is a dead straight, true story about how I met my wife and this movie.

OK, the year is 1973 and I am a Physics student in Atlanta. Beard, broke, no money.  A single, hairy, dateless male was in fact de facto at Georgia Tech where females were under 10% of the populace. Today, there are lots of female students, but many of them are also single and hairy.

Back to 1973. I was (as per ususal) dead broke. Hanging around the Commons in AREA III we could see guys dropping off/picking up dates one Friday night. I saw a very cute girl driving up who I had seen earlier and (as it was 11:15). Easy to recognize as there were about five girsl who fit this description.  I bet another dateless loser colleague that she would not kiss her date good night. One dollar. Unfamiliar with dating rituals, said loser assumed that girls always kissed their dates good night. Purely a theoretical observation on his part. He accepted my wager and lost. In a confident mood, I said "double or nothing she will go out with me." "When?" he asks. "Now" I say and he accepts again. To our mutual surprise, she does accept; I get my two dollars and we head over to the midnight movie. hard for modern man to imagine but the Midnight Movie cost a dollar. The movie was "Greaser's Palace" (with, as I recall, "Bambi meets Godzilla" as an opening pre-movie). I am glad she didn't want popcorn as I was broke.

It was a weird movie for sure. No reviews can quite prepare you for it. But if you are still reading it isn;t because you wanted movie insights, but rather to hear the rest of my story. We later married (1976), had six children and are in the "living happily ever after" format. You know, big house in the burbs, nice cars and vacations in Europe.

A few years ago, one of my daughters sent me the DVD. I decided to see it again before any of my kids (or sposal unit) watched it. This is not a movie for my kids. Not for me or my wife either. Maybe it is for you. But it served its purpose.

Greasers Palace
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Rick
Saw the film on HBO, it seems like a century ago and have been quoting lines ever since.  A personal must see movie at least once a year just to stay grounded in it.  My favorite line is The Holy Ghost confronting GTF with the lament of every non-favored sibling, "You'll never know what I can do because you never give me the chance."  Instead of "Seaweedhead" I've always heard it as "See, Weedhead".  That makes more sense to me but I suppose I'd have to have access to the script in order to resolve what goes against popular interpretation. Don't miss this one.  
Greasers Palace
Reply #23. Posted on February 24, 2006, 11:34:04 AM by CaffeineJunkie
You seemed a bit confused by Jessy, the Jesus satire, suffering from stigmata.  I think the purpose of that scene is that when he tried to do positive things to entertain people (card tricks, singing and dancing, water to wine, etc.) nobody cared.  But when he starts screaming and bleeding, everybody applauds.  The point is that to most Christians, the greatest thing Jesus ever did was to DIE.  Not all the love and peace crap.  
Greasers Palace
Reply #24. Posted on July 26, 2006, 10:37:38 AM by raymonAnderson
Did you notice when God killed someone they stayed dead.
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