Cisco Pike

A heavenly slice of dark, laid-back storytelling that effortlessly captures the pulse of L.A. in the post-Summer Of Love “what do we do now?” era. In his starring debut film role, a sexily dejected Kristofferson plays the sexily dejected Cisco Pike, a faded rock star and ex-con armed only with a squint, stagger, boots and perfectly tousled locks. His dreams of a better life are dashed when a frighteningly high-strung crooked cop (played brilliantly by Gene Hackman) blackmails Cisco; he must sell a briefcase full of hash in just 48 hours, or go back to jail. This plot device allows for an incredible zoological survey of stoner Los Angeles, as Kris is forced to crawl over every corner of the Thomas Guide, revisiting contacts more interested in his dope connections than his new songs. The film is one long, gloriously casual unveiling of all manner of flaky Venice chicks, rich scenesters, music industry weirdos and scene-stealing counterculture denizens of all kinds — including Tex-Mex musician Doug Sahm, Joy Bang, Antonio “Huggy Bear” Fargas, Warhol superstar Viva, and Harry Dean Stanton in a role so perfect that we wish a spin-off film could’ve been created just for him.
Dir. Bill L. Norton, 1972, 35mm, 95 min.

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