For a movie that I didn’t even know existed until about 2pm yesterday afternoon, Nothing Lasts Forever has quickly won a place in my heart. The only feature film to date by Tom Schiller, an Emmy-award winning writer who made numerous short comic films for Saturday Night Live and documentaries on a variety of subjects, Nothing Lasts Forever is one strange / quirky little movie that manages to pull off one of the most difficult challenges for a film maker: Shoot a contemporary film that looks like a classic Hollywood production.
I’m not saying Nothing Lasts Forever is a perfect film; far from it. But when it works it works oh-so-well and its loopy story of a musical fraud turned wannabe artist who gets recruited by an empire of hobos who secretly run New York City to fly to the moon on a bus and bring love to the lunar colony dominated by colonialist consumers just ain’t the kinda thing you see every day at the mega-plex.
The film near seamlessly mixes contemporary footage with stock shots from classic Hollywood films . The story never quite jells, shifting gears abruptly and jumping from premise to premise, but Zach Galligan and an astonishing supporting cast — includes Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Imogene Coca, and Calvert DeForest (Larry “Bud” Melman on David Letterman’s old show) among others — keep the story rolling with fresh, funny characterizations.
Add to that a never ending stream of often subtle sight gags and Nothing Lasts Forever should easily keep any old and / or oddball film lover interested.
And just where can you see this jem?
As the Vick’s people would say:
Aye, there’s the rub…
For reasons not entirely clear, the original distributor never made much of an effort to show the film in the US: Apparently just a handful of test screenings then the film was yanked and seemingly forgotten.
It has fared better in Europe, but even there is is considered a cult item.
Part of the problem may be legal (entanglements with various rights holder re stock footage in the film) but more likely it’s just that this film is so far afield of anything done by mainstream Hollywood that one can’t feign surprise to learn no major distributor in the US wants to handle it.
Luckily, however, there is YouTube, and if you hie thyself over there,
you can catch Nothing Lasts Forever in all its delirious black + white glory.
How long it’ll stay up, I dunno. But currently it’s your only chance to see one of the quirkiest film made in the last 30 years.
 Oh, that old story…
 Since most of the exteriors were shot in Manhattan, and since much of Manhattan hasn’t changed in the last century, the melding is quite good.