The Great Oregon Movie Binge Watch

If you want to be a wonk about the state’s film history, well, here’s a slightly unhealthy movie marathon of local deep cuts for your own hibernation day viewing and/or mocking.

For every Drugstore Cowboy, Meek's Cutoff or, hell, even The Goonies, there are scores of Oregon-made movies lost to the deep reaches of the internet or Movie Madness shelves.

Some deserve their anonymity. Some just don't really evoke Oregon in any memorable way. But if you want to be a wonk about the state's film history, well, here's a slightly unhealthy movie marathon of local deep cuts for your own hibernation day viewing and/or mocking.

On the morning of Dec. 11, eggs were made, coffee poured, gym begrudgingly visited for just a shred of pre-couch energy—and then it was on to five consecutive obscure Oregon films.

Bongwater (1998)

Start time: 9:49 am

Where to watch: Free on Prime Video

The gist: A weed dealer (Luke Wilson) and arty scenester (Alicia Witt) become star-crossed roommates in this adaptation of Michael Hornburg's 1995 novel, allegedly inspired by a relationship with Courtney Love. It's a prickly, loveless story with very little plot.

Best part: Amid a stacked supporting cast, Brittany Murphy and Jack Black outshine the entire production with burgeoning, giggly star power.

Worst part: Never truly terrible, Bongwater just doesn't have a story to tell, even compared to its aimless '90s indie peers.

How does it rep Oregon? As a land of provincial, self-absorbed slackers.

Visible Oregon landmarks: Mary's Club, Bagdad Theater, Burnside Bridge.

Should you watch it? A worthy curio.

Exhaustion check: Just fine. Lunch soon, though, right?

Brain Smasher…A Love Story (1993)

Start time: 11:36 am

Where to watch: YouTube

The gist: On the downturn of stardom, Andrew Dice Clay stars as a leather-clad Portland bouncer called "Brain Smasher." For the price of a Rolex, Brain Smasher partners with model Sam Crane (Teri Hatcher) in an all-night brawl with Chinese crime lords.

Best part: Dice's personalized "Brain Smasher" jacket. Also, he lovingly pronounces it "Ohr-ee-gahn."

Worst part: Tries and fails to imitate the zany imagination of Big Trouble in Little China. A repeated bit of Portlanders confusing the Chinese gangsters with ninjas comes up about 25 times.

How does it rep Oregon? As some bizarre mix of old San Francisco and New Jersey.

Visible Oregon landmarks: Dice lives above the old downtown Lotus Cafe. He and Hatcher escape one standoff atop a MAX train—peep the Chinatown Paifang and the Fox Theater showing Malcolm X.

Should you watch it? If you're into classically hapless exploitation flicks with cornball jokes, blatantly missed punches and gleefully Dice-y politics, maybe.

Exhaustion check: Brain a little smashed. But let's stay positive.

Portland Exposé (1957)

Start time: 1:28 pm

Where to watch: Free on Prime Video

The gist: An unsuspecting family falls in with Portland gangsters, all because they risked the slippery slope of putting pinball machines in their tavern. Supposedly based on the findings of a U.S. Senate committee report on the city's organized crime.

Best part: Opening '50s voice-over warns that insidious Portland vice could take hold in your very own town. It's true. Don't laugh.

Worst part: All the suspense comes from dames in peril.

How does it rep Oregon? "Portland!" proclaims the victorious narrator before the final credits. "Still a good place to rear children!"

Visible Oregon Landmarks: International Rose Garden, Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam

Should you watch it? It's a half-decent noir that's probably more interesting to read about than watch.

Exhaustion check: I didn't doze off, you dozed off!

Frozen Assets (1992)

Frozen Assets (1992) – Shelley Long

Start time: 3:35 pm

Where to watch: VHS from Movie Madness

The gist: A bumbling bank executive (Corbin Bernsen) is unknowingly reassigned to a small-town Oregon bank—a sperm bank, that is. A completely harebrained battle of the sexes ensues with a biogeneticist played by Shelley Long.

Best part: The title, I guess? It feels like a producer came up with that wordplay during a coke binge before there was ever a script. "Hey, man, hey, man. What if a legal scholar ended up working in a prison bakery!? TORTE REFORM. Get me a writer!"

Worst part: Aside from everything, Bernsen's character tries to coerce Long's into sex by telling her they already had sex when she was blackout drunk. Fucking yuck.

How does it rep Oregon: As puritanical but also sex-crazed?

Visible Oregon landmarks: The small-town setting of Hobart does not exist. It's mostly Historic Columbia River Highway vistas. Canterbury Castle pops up.

Should you watch it? If you're a post-Cheers Shelley Long completist, sure. But no, you should not.

Exhaustion check: I am no longer tired, just very dumb. Need dinner and a new pair of eyes.

Zero Effect (1998)

Start time: 6:30 pm

Where to watch: YouTube

The gist: The only movie of the day by a notable filmmaker—Jake Kasdan, who went on to make Orange County and Walk Hard. In Kasdan's directorial debut, a late-grunge Sherlock Holmes archetype (Bill Pullman) investigates a Portland blackmail case with the help of his irritated Watson (Ben Stiller).

Best part: Crazy, strung-out, blond-streaked Bill Pullman trying way too hard. This was actually his Independence Day.

Worst part: Pullman intermittently dictates a book about his investigative methods, but it only slows down an already sluggish mystery.

How does it rep Oregon? The setting is basically inconsequential.

Visible Oregon landmarks: Portland International Airport (aqua carpet!), St. Johns Bridge, St. Francis Hotel, Vista House

Should you watch it? Eh, it's easily the best acting, directing and writing I saw today, but also painfully dense for a simple whodunit.

Exhaustion check: I hope I like movies again when I wake up tomorrow.

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