(1979)1.5Fred BeldinWhile the satire doesn't always connect with this box-office misfire, Americathon still scores some juicy bull's eyes, forecasting a number of cultural fads that don't seem so ridiculous in retrospect (is a future where hipsters wear clown shoes and fashion rollerskates so hard to envision?). Unfortunately, the film has many stilted passages that seem to suffer from clumsy editing, especially a conclusion featuring President Roosevelt's rescue that is presented in silent montage, suggesting post-production tampering. Though generally avoided by audiences when released, Americathon is smarter and funnier than detractors might suggest, with a loud, brash sensibility that buzzes with energy. The film bulldozes its way past its technical shortcomings with an affectionate but devastating attack on American culture, as well as a great soundtrack and crazed performances from an assortment of '70s era personalities. Harvey Korman and Meat Loaf are hilarious, though Peter Riegert never seems to get the joke. For these reasons it entertains as a time capsule, as a hazing of everything excessive and pernicious about the U.S. during the Carter administration: gas shortages, economic recession, and tensions in the Middle East. The logical extremes that Americathon takes these issues to are wickedly funny, even if the rest of the film falls apart around it.