This is a story from the pages of history, from an almost forgotten age,
The good old days when you could drive you car when ever you pleased,
when petrol stations were always open and gas was less than a buck a gallon.
The great New Zealand road movie that rocked the nation in 1981, and has become a cult classic for those who weren't even a glint in the milkman's eye at the time.
It follows the exploits of Jerry Austin (aka Lez, aka Blondini) and John as they travel in a brand new, stolen yellow mini from Kaitia to Invercargill, (the top of the country to the bottom).
John is trying to hitch to Invercargil to try to make up with his girlfriend, and Lez has just found a wallet. Lez picks up John and the madness begins.
He's queer and I'm driving.
After accidentally stealing $10.79 worth of petrol, a legendary crime spree ensues. They are pursued by incompetent, and obsessive police officers. As the story is picked up by the media, the Blondini Gang become cult heroes.
We're taking this bloody car to Invercargil
Along the way, they meet up with a number of weird and wacky characters. They collect flags at each petrol station they steel from. In Dunedin they sell the flags and what started out as a light-hearted comedy becomes darker as the gang descends into madness as they head south.
There's only one sure thing in life Blondini, and that's doubt, I think
After its showing in Cannes, it was released on 6 February 1981. The producers didn't know how a public not used to seeing its own country on film would react, so an extensive promotion campaign was undertaken. It paid off, and Goodbye Pork Pie became the first New Zealand movie to turn a profit, and out grossed the other year's hits: Star Wars and Jaws.
The movie caused a lot of controversy from the moronic conservative half of the country. A number of newspaper articles calimed that it was corrupting the nation's youth. In 1992, the director, Greg Murphy said he believed it represented the end of New Zealand's innocence.
Inflation was running at double figures, people were beginning to queue at the dole office, Maori people outraged to find themselves treated as second-class citizens were being dubbed as ‘radicals’, and the country was beginning to slip downhill economically, socially, and racially. Suddenly here was a film where the heroes didn't buy any of this shit. And it was funny. … It was the last laugh.
Since its release, the movie has become imbedded in the nation's psyche. For those who were there, it is seen as a national coming of age. For those like myself who weren't, it's just fucking hilarious.
Sourced from The New Zealand Film Archive, http://www.filmarchive.org.nz/archive_presents/1981/lastlaugh.html