From the classic iconography of the Marlboro Man to the absurd pitches for Jack LaLanne's "Glamour Stretchers", this outrageously retro review of funky, clunky clips offers more than campy fun. In fact, it allows us precious insight into a lost, impossibly innocent world of fondly remembered looks, styles, and attitudes, from way back in the good ol' 20th Century.
Far more entertaining than it conceivably should be, The 70s Dimension
is a compilation of 1970s TV commercials and public service announcements scavenged from the dumpster behind a Portland TV station. Half the disc is devoted to these hilarious artifacts of media history. The other half has experimental filmmakers Matt McCormick, Thad Povey, and others twisting these raw materials into whimsical and psychedelic found-film shorts. While entertaining in their own right, these "remixed" films don't match the absurd beauty of the original material. The commercials themselves are a riot. One ad for Tab cola, clearly designed to exploit women's insecurities, claims that a woman who drinks tab will be able to keep in shape and be a "mind sticker" in her man's mind. In apparent reaction to consumer alarm over what goes into a hot dog, Oscar Mayer released a couple public service announcements praising the safety precautions that go into making a healthy weiner; in case you still harbored doubts, rest assured that men in lab coats and hard hats with incredibly serious expressions watched an assembly line. The budget for a commercial for the US Marine Corp apparently didn't provide for any footage of actual combat, but plenty for a muscle car and a woman in a bikini. If you were tempted to "shoot dope" in the '70s, a public service announcement by a member of the band Chicago surely would have rescued you from addiction. Those who watched TV in the '70s will wonder how they had ever been brainwashed into thinking these kinds of commercials represented anything in the neighborhood of reality. Viewers who came of age after the me-decade will find ample opportunity to ridicule the fashions, products, and media of generations that preceded them. --Ryan Boudinot