Choose Me (1984): Allan Rudolph First Successful Movie

It took seven years and four movies for Allan Rudolph to find his style in Choose Me, a giddy movie, which is still the crown of his achievements. Structured as a lyrical fantasy, its characters, all city dreamers, wander in and out of a bar called Eve’s Lounge, obsessively looking for love.

The protagonist (David Carradine), a lunatic who radiates danger, turns out to be saner than anyone else. All the characters are at least vaguely amnesiac, and, as the critic Pauline Kael noted, are given to dialogue that’s “overintellectualized in a hammy way.” But the movie’s loose, choreographic flow and swoony camera fits its romantic ambience and compensate for the weaknesses.

American audiences have not embraced adult fairy tales in the way that European audiences have. The chic, subtle and bizarre “Choose Me” is a variation on Schnitzler’s classic, “La Ronde,” set in a downtown L.A. where, with the exception of a few prostitutes, other people have vanished.

A deceptively fragile movie, “Choose Me” follows several parallel stories, some more interesting than others, linked by David Carrdaine–and Mia Goldman’s clever editing..

The movie owes a lot to Robert Altman’s artful heedlessness.  It’s an urban fable about oddball lovers whose eccentricities, madnesses and illusions interlock, resulting in a subversive yet ultimately upbeat movie.

Rudolph’s finest achievement as a moody romantic melodrama, Choose Me boasts sinuously lurid visuals and a jazzy score.