Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rock 'N' Roll Will Never Die. It Just Has A Degenerative Mental Illness.

American Hardcore
2006, USA
Paul Rachman
35mm


Fuck your scene. And don't pretend you don't have one. First of all, you're on the Internet, which means you're either on your way to complain about the new Raconteurs album at Pitchfork media, or to lurk around private message boards to find out if it's still cool to like Franz Ferdinand. Second of all, just look at yourself, and your second hand corduroy pants and your oh so fucking ironic Skid Row T-shirt, and try not to vomit, you annoying little trend-head. You suck, your music sucks, and you don't even need to wear those stupid glasses. And The Arcade Fire sucks.


Oh, sorry, what's that? You don't like indie-rock? Your scene is techno, or dance, or rave, or whatever the fuck you call it when you're not too flipped on ecstasy to talk? Well, then you don't even need me to tell you how goddamed gay you are. The whole world does it for you, and that fucking PLUR shirt doesn't help. Yeah! Vinyl rules! And the more of the Ninja Tunes catalogue you have on 12", the less likely you are to catch AIDS by getting so fucked up on coke you let one of the Chemical Brothers pork you in the ass!

Oh, sorry, what’s that? Your scene is goth? Then shouldn’t you be posting an Anne Rice quote on some website that spells ‘vampire’ with a ‘y’? Don’t read this site, it won’t piss off your Mom enough. But do try to crank the Marilyn Manson up a little louder. If your eardrums burst you won’t have to listen to Siouxsie and The Banshees anymore and strain yourself trying to pretend it isn’t awful. And that Nine Inch Nails brand isn’t fooling anybody. You’re about as tough as your dragon belt buckle.

Magyck! Faggyt!

Oh, sorry, what's that? Your scene is hardcore? Then how are you even reading this? Everyone who like hardcore is retarded, because everyone who makes hardcore is retarded. Have you ever seen Hatebreed live? It's like Adam Sandler got bitten by those rage monkeys from 28 Days Later. American Hardcore tries to tell the story of the birth of hardcore in the early 80s, but there isn't a story to tell other than a bunch of kids too stupid to play punk and not stupid enough to play metal. The music all sounds like the bridge to a Slayer song, the lyrics are grade 4 rhyming couplets mixed with all the attitude of a school yard bully, and people in the scene are instantly identifiable by their pleated khakis and overhanging Paleolithic brows. The scene went from street kids to frat boys in a heartbeat, which is like shifting from piss to shit at a lunch buffet.


Oh, sorry, what's that? You don't have a scene? That’s pathetic.

Underage? Read a PG-13 review at The Comic Book Bin. Then come over to my house and let me watch you touch yourself. Girls and effeminate boys only need apply.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ultramanic Depressive.

Ultraman
Australia
I can’t be bothered with the director
VHS

I'm at a loss for words. If I were reading this out loud, instead of huddled in the dark typing and trying to avoid watching America's Next Top Model, I'd say I was speechless. Instead, I'm just hovering over the keyboard, trying to decide which fate is worse: to have to relive the cacophonous nonsense of Ultraman, or to watch a bunch of poofs and fag-hags try to convince the viewing public that modeling requires more than long legs and a coke nose. I feel that while America's Next Top Model may be infuriatingly stupid, but thinking about the disordered gibberish that is Ultraman may be capable of finally pushing me over the line separating charming idiosyncrasy and schizophrenia. And as much as I like talking to myself, I'd rather not do so while cutting open my palm in order to mix blood with ropey strands of semen and defecate. Seriously, this movie is mentally ill.

Insert double-entendre "high" fashion joke here, and pretend 8 million people haven't done it before.

That's the kind of crazy Ultraman inspires. It's an unsettling mess, an entry into the famous Ultraman series of Japanese films, made all the more distressing because it's not a Japanese film. As near as I can tell, this is an Australian movie made to introduce Ultraman to Western audiences. The strategy for said introduction, it seems, is to make a horrible movie in English that requires the viewer to have seen several dozen films in Japanese to understand what's going on. This is not unlike teaching English to Slovakian kids by reading them the third act of Henry V Part II, only with more monster suits. For those who haven't had the pleasure of having their pre-frontal lobe drilled long enough to enjoy Ultraman, the series is like Godzilla mixed with Power Rangers, with all the ridiculousness that implies. Ultraman, the character, is essentially a huge guy in what appears to be an Olympic luge uniform, who fights latex monsters that resemble the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal. I'd love to say that that sentence sums up the plot, but I think trying to explain the actual story would take longer than the film itself. You know when you're talking to, let's say, your niece, trying to take her mind off of what you just did to her so that she won't tell her mother, and she's just rambling on with some story she's making up as he goes along, and it gets more and more bizarre and convoluted the more blood she loses from her now-mangled genitals? That's what this story is like. It's an incoherent, rambling rant, not quite frothy at the mouth, but nowhere near cogent; a screenplay with wanderlust and an unlimited Dexedrine prescription.

I don't know if there's a point describing the plot, or the actors, the characters, the technical aspects of the film, or anything that a film review would normally contain. For to name these things will be to give them power, and this film needs to whither away and die before it starts causing seizures in children. It's like the lost name of God, or the word "Shazam". I dare not speak about the film, lest the earth be torn asunder or I be transformed by a lightning bolt into Captain Marvel, Black Adam, or worse, Ultraman.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

School of Hard Cocks.

The Graduate
1967, USA
Mike Nichols


This movie is as good as anything featuring Simon and Garfunkle's music can be. Which is still pretty good, considering that Simon and Garfunkle gay things up like a pink shirt at a Slayer concert. This is one of those films that everyone uses as a pop-culture reference point, but the closest most people of my generation have come to the film is a couple of Simpsons parodies they vaguely remember. I swear, if it wasn't for that show, everyone under the age of 30 would be unable to identify any form of culture that wasn't broadcast on Fox in the 90s. Based upon a play that was based upon a novel, the film famously tells the story of young Benjamin Braddock, a university graduate whom a married friend of the family seduces. Personally, I have a great deal of experience romancing older women, and I can tell you that this film is a very accurate portrayal of a May-December relationship. Of course, by 'romancing' I mean 'ejaculating into granny underpants stolen from a clothesline while fantasizing about my 83-year-old neighbor lying dead with nylons wrapped around her neck', but it's essentially the same thing.



Ah, the good old days.

The best comedies are always treated, as Nichols does here, as dramas that contain funny situations and funny characters. Too much time is spend in most comedies coaxing actors to mug for the camera and telegraphing punch lines with Marx Brothers editing. The story develops here as a drama, with moments of tragedy and pathos that accentuates some of the more lighthearted dialogue. Dustin Hoffman is excellent as always, despite looking less like a college student and more like a Jewish uncle on his way back from the bank. And Anne Bancroft is commanding as Mrs. Robinson, cold and desperate at the same time, like a horny assistant principal. This movie, however, does lose points for bringing MILF into the mainstream, where American Pie and frat boys who want to sleep with Michelle Pfeiffer could popularize it. The concept of MILFs, or "mothers I'd like to fuck", for those of you who don't have the internet and a fetish, is not a new one, but its popularization has led to an explosion of adult videos aimed at that particular fixation. I'm not one to judge, but that's fucking gross. Old women are all withered, saggy and dry, their skin like the testicles of an elephant. And, though toothless, their mouths are too desiccated to be of much use, tongues like sandpaper and throats like a goat hair shirt. And what's worse, all these MILF DVDs are taking up valuable floor space that could be put to use showcase better, healthier fetishes, like Golden Showers and women getting fucked with feet. Midgets, grotesquely swollen clitori, and machine sex are all loosing market share to these deviant MILF movies. Many of my favorite fetishes are currently competing for your perverted dollar, and I won't stand for it. So, I think all three of you loyal fans should join me in voting with your wallet, and picking up a few titles in the following fetishes.


1) Squish videos. Here, women in high heels step on small animals until they die and I ejaculate.


2) Insertions. Nothing makes me hungrier for vegetarian lasagna then seeing a woman stuff a zucchini into her vagina until it bleeds.


3) Ass-To-Mouth. Watching women pretend to enjoy the taste of fecal coliform bacteria is one of my greatest pleasures as a film critic, because you will not enjoy a better performance anywhere in filmdom.

4) Interracial. Sure, it's sin, but being bad always feels so good. Not so much when you're getting impaled by Justin Slayer's horse cock, perhaps, but it's sure fun to watch.

5) Fat Women. I once saw a German film in which an obese woman got her bellybutton fisted. I've never been the same since, and probably, neither has she.


I hope that, like me, The Graduate has inspired you to take matters, and your genitals, into your own hands, and make the pornographic world a better place. I hope that the film's influence will extend far beyond film schools and re-runs of The Simpsons, and reach down into the moist crotch of Silicon Implant Valley. I'm sure that's what all involved would have wanted, especially Simon and Garfunkle.

Friday, November 24, 2006

When A Stranger Does Absolutely Nothing For 90 Wasted Minutes.

When A Stranger Calls
2006, USA
Simon West
DVD

Normally, when confronted by one of the seemingly endless parade of horror movie remakes, I would join the similarly endless parade of people complaining about how the original film was so great, and remakes sucks, and Hollywood sucks, and Superman's boots had the wrong kind of tread in the new movie. But, this movie is so god-awful I don't even feel like wasting my time complaining about it. The original was fairly boring as well. Both films revolve around the terrifying phenomenon of scary phone calls, with all the horror that a ringing phone in a dark room can possibly muster, which is the same sort of terror I’m struck with when my alarm clock rings. The original film had one cool part, when the guy on the phone croaked True Anal Stories 23. In the remake, that line is delivered with all the menace of a Harry Potter book on tape, so in that respect the movie pales in comparison. In every other respect, I'm too bored to care. Essentially, this movie stars no one you know, and has a babysitter getting mildly annoying phone calls for 70 minutes, and then getting chased by a guy dressed like a garage mechanic for the last 15. Nothing happens in this movie. Nothing. The main character doesn't talk to anybody, doesn't interact with anybody, and doesn't do anything. The killer doesn't really kill anybody, and spends most of his time on the phone, like a 14-year-old girl between classes at high school. Let's see, what can we talk about. There must be some intellectual nourishment here, some bone to pick that will lead to a tangent amusing enough to keep me entertained while writing about it. Let's see... everyone in this movie is white, so that rules out about half my material. There are plenty of women, but picking on them is like playing chess with a retard: too easy and liable to make someone cry. I suppose I could go on a rant about lesbians, somehow, but I was saving a really good bit where I confused them with the Lebanese for an up-coming L Word review. There's nothing for me to structure this article around in this amorphous mess of a movie. It's like writing a review about a breeze, or a wine stain on a couch that looks like nothing. I suppose this review will have to take the form of the movie, a long build-up without structure that ends abruptly in disappointment.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Funny For All The Wrong Reasons.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
2006, USA
Larry Charles
35mm

I'm quite proud to admit that I've never watched Da Ali G Show. Generally, a show about a Jew pretending to be black would already be about as appealing to me as getting leprosy on my gangrene, but that's not what's bothering me. Actually, I find Sacha Baron Cohen quite a gifted performer, a comedian capable of committing completely andtotally to a role, refusing to break character under any circumstances. What's annoying as hell, however, is the kind of people who like Da Ali G Show, and I'd rather deprive myself of hours of mordant satire than associate myself with those mouth-breathing degenerates. Most people who like the show have no idea what's going on. They see some idiot dressed like them interviewing Butros Butros Gali, confusing the poor man half into the grave he escaped from by moving from Africa to New York, and they think the joke’s on him. But in reality, the joke's on Ali G, or more accurately, the media, which is so obsessed with the youth market they're exactly three demographic points away from getting Tony Yayo to anchor NCB Nightly News. They see his flagrantly homosexual character Bruno, and think it's a slur against gays, whereas it's actually a confrontational stance against celebrity homophobia. And most don't realize that Borat is not meant to ridicule Kazakhstan, but rather the shit-head idiots who go to see Borat. And you know the kind of idiots I'm talking about.

Public Idiot Number 1. And now he's going to shoot me.

1) They've got the box set of Scarface, and they keep their weed in it.
2) They have girlfriends with ponytails so tight the thick layer of pancake makeup covering their pasty white faces is threatening to split and reveal pimply 14 year old skin.
3) Jewelry seems like an acceptable thing to wear to every occasion, whereas most men try to limit wearing necklaces and rings to trips to the gay bar, and whenever they need to be a middle aged Russian gangster.
4) A tattoo of a panther? Seriously?
5) They keep a lot of Tupac CDs in the glove box of their mother's SUV.

These people don't realize that as funny as Borat may be, it's empty and meaningless. Instead of revealing the intolerance and bigotry of the people he encounters, Cohen merely buffoons around, breaking things in an antique shop and trying to kiss people on the subway. There are moments, like a horrifying scene with some half drunk and fully retarded frat boys, that threaten to become interesting, but the rest is just an over-educated Englishman pretending to be a bumbling foreigner in front of annoyed Americans. While a bunch of idiots watch.

Underage? Read a PG-13 review at The Comic Book Bin. Then come over to my house and let me watch you touch yourself. Girls and effeminate boys only need apply.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pretty In Suppurating Lesion Red.

Pretty In Pink
1986
Howard Deutch
DVD

Well, I guess I'm gay now. It's not so bad, I guess. I wasn't doing so well with the ladies anyway, since they always break whenever I bend them the way I like, and these lousy 'informed consent' laws have put a real crimp in my date raping style. Maybe with this new homosexual thing, I'll get lucky more often, as I understand the gays are much morepromiscuous, trying to cram in as much sex as possible before they get AIDS and die. Plus, I'll finally be able to take better care of my skin, which currently looks like I shoot heroin directly into my T Zone, instead of in the webs of my toes as per usual. I’ll get a better, non-Evil Ernie based fashion sense, and I'll becoming more open to the idea of gay marriage, and even gay citizenship, should that ever become an issue.

As you can see, I clearly need to get gayed up by Queer Eye.

The reason for my conversion to the rosy side of the force is, of course, Pretty In Pink, in which Howard Deutch and John Hughes transplant Marx's theories of class struggle into an episode of Dawson's Creek. This is not the sort of movie I would normally have watched on my own, back in my heterosexual days, but I was still in the doghouse regarding two screenings of a 1984 Samhain bootleg and a live Dwarves DVD. Now that I'm gay, however, I look forward to exploring a lot more of the poofy relics of the 80s I'd once avoided. Like an archeologist digging for treasure but finding only tampons and pages ripped from Cosmo Girl, I will sift through the chick flicks and dopey teen movies to help me get more in touch with my feminine side, so I can really learn to take it like a slut from my new leather daddy.

I think it's probably a function of my new gay leaf that I don't think Pretty In Pink is all that bad. For once, it seems to be a high school movie made for high school students, so the language is as realistic and frank as a fluffy comedy can be. Molly Ringwald only kind of looks like her jaw is made of cement, and Andrew McCarthy appears to have the talented he possessed before Weekend At Bernie's sapped his will to live. Aside from Duckie, who seems to have been created by middle aged screenwriters trying to woo 12 year old girls, the film is fairly adult and reasonable, and manages to say a little something about life in high school around the mouthful of cock it's swallowing, though what it's saying appears to be that class mixing is problematic. Generally, I contain most of my opinions of mixed relationships to mimeographed pamphlets on miscegenation and race treason, but it's enlightening to see that such things are possible. And, with my new, more liberal attitude, I'm finding the socialist views of this movie, in which love conquers all class barriers, more and more palatable. As long as they're not allowed to marry.

Friday, November 17, 2006

No Habla Ugly.

Babel
2006, USA
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu
35mm

Normally, Brad Pitt makes me want to vomit. The man is rich, possessed of good lucks that would moisten my dead grandmother, and actually a fairly competent actor. And yet, here he is, romancing that freakish Morlock queen, Angelina Jolie. Clearly sent here from the underworld to reinvigorate the mole people's gene pool with fresh DNA, Jolie's maggot-pale face and disfigured visage screams of generations living underground, scavenging for insects, cavefish, and the occasional lost spelunker. Obviously, while the savagery and brutality of underground life may have prevented the development of higher forms of technology, magic and sorcery were practiced. It's these bewitchments thathave ensorcelled both Brad Pitt and the rest of the world into thinking she's anything but a pasty hag with swollen salt-sucker lips.

Now, those are cock sucking lips.

But that really doesn't have much to do with Babel, aside from the fact that Brad Pitt's in it. The film, a somewhat rambling treatise on miscommunication, is strong, powerful, and instantly forgettable, like all of Inarritu’s other films. Comprised of 4 stories, each strongly connected by theme and loosely connected by a rifle, the film explores issues of communication breakdown the world over, with plot lines taking place in Morocco, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Pitt and Cate Blanchett play an American couple traveling in Morocco when Blanchett is shot. The effects of this shooting play out across the 3 continents and 4 stories of the film, and resonate deeply with screenwriters begging for an Oscar nomination.

Pitt is good in this film. Not as good as Blanchett, but good nonetheless. So, he doesn't make me want to throw up. What does, however, is the hand-held camera work. Not because it give me motion sickness, but rather because I don't understand why every movie set in one of those countries with languages that sound like a retard beat-boxing has to be hand-held and shaky. I know these are backwards banana republics, and while you may not be able to get clean water or food not comprised of dust and insects, I'm sure you can rent a tripod somewhere, or at least find enough scattered leg bones around to jury-rig one. It's a cheap form of filmic shorthand, like making an Italian a mobster, or a woman a bad driver whose only purpose is to bat their eyelashes at the male lead and have erect nipples. I mean, both those things are true, but that doesn't mean it's not lazy to rely on them. I'll understand that a film is set in Africa even if the frame doesn't giggle around like a pregnant woman with epilepsy. I'll understand that a country is hot even if the film stock isn't all blown out. What I'll never understand is what Brad Pitt sees in Angelina.

Underage? Read a PG-13 review at The Comic Book Bin. Then come over to my house and let me watch you touch yourself. Girls and effeminate boys only need apply.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Art Through Random Number Generation.

Ju On 2
2000, Japan
Takashi Shimizu

I think I've seen this movie before. And not only that, I think I've already reviewed it. Not that it really matters, because Japanese horror movies are just visual gibberish anyway. They're like staring into a cloud bank; every time you do, you see something different, and it's always boring. I'm not sure why that is. They certainly have creepy moments in them, or rather moments that should be creepy, and yet I feel nothing when confronted with the myriad horrors presented in these types of films. Wait, did I say 'myriad'? Because I meant 'solitary': girl with long hair. I don't really understand how a 7 year old kid is supposed to make me afraid of anything but getting grape juice mixed with wine on my bedspread when I’m pouring Jesus juice down their throats, but the Japanese seem to have an irrational fear of youth without bangs.

The first Ju-On didn't really make any sense. Or rather, it was so unbearably simple, it lost all cohesion and turned into what happens when you boil potatoes too long. The movie was a sentence, and a simple one at that: There's a haunted house, and everyone who goes inside it dies. Sometimes, people who don't go inside it die, allowing that one causal link to fade away, and the thread of narrative unity connecting the various segments of the film to tangle into a knot of nonsense even Lewis Carroll couldn't untie. Ju-On 2 is no different, but this time the fact that the Japanese tell a story like a toddler explaining string theory actually works for the film, instead of transforming it into an exercise in narrative futility. The sentence explaining the film remains the same, but this time director Takashi Shimizu plays with temporality as well as linearity, messing with the chronology of the both the film and the story. Of course, this interplay between the diegetic world and the film's structure is probably unintentional, as the only Japanese films that I've ever seen that were any good whatsoever seemed to be watchable only accidentally, like monkeys throwing shit at a wall that eventually resembles Whistler's Arrangement In Grey And Black.

If you look closely, you'll discover chimps are mainly vegetarian.

There's no progression from the last film to this one, save some technical improvement and a greater sense of desperation in some of the scares. Some of them work, and some of them don't, but all in all it's a step up from the first film, which essentially consisted of a woman crawling around while croaking like a cross between a death rattle and Tom Waits' singing voice. There's also a little kid ghost, because North American government regulations require either a spooky child or a samurai before a film can be imported from Japan. Some other crap happens, and every once in a while, the shit drips down the wall until I can see Munch's The Scream.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm Not Racist. Some Of My Best Friends Know Black People.

Roots, Episode 2
USA, 1977
Marvin J Chomsky, John Erman, David Greene, Gilbert Moses
VHS

Wow. After the powerful message of racial tolerance of the first episode of Roots, I didn't think there was more I could possibly learn. I thought I had absorbed enough valuable lessons from the first show (black people come from Africa, racism is bad), but it seems I still have a ways to go before I become either black, or Quentin Tarantino. In the last episode, slavers from America travel up the river Gambia to harvest a fresh crop of Negroes, whom as I understand it live an idyllic, pastoral existence in Africa not unlike Ewoks, but with a worse grasp of English. Among the batch netted and sent across the ocean is a young Geordie LaForge, who helps organize a revolt on the ship caused by the horrific living conditions and poor selection of Holodeck programming. In addition, he falls in love with a colored woman on sight. Also, apparently I'm an enormous idiot who requires ham-fisted proselytizing to understand my own prejudice. So be it.

The slave ship that brought Goerdie Laforge to America.

In this episode, the revolt rises and fails, and Geordie is bought and sold to a plantation owner. Separated from his imaginary girlfriend, Geordie makes a new friend on the farm in the form of that guy from Iron Eagle. Presumably, this is Geordie's first introduction to the science of engineering, and LaForge and Iron Eagle no doubt while away the summer nights with plenty of corn whiskey and talk of aerofoils. Geordie escapes, then is recaptured, and falls in love again with another woman he mistakes for the first one, apparently having just as much trouble distinguishing the coloreds as I do. I learned a great deal from this episode. Mainly, I learned about the roots of the socio-economic slavery that still plagues the colored community. I already knew that this link existed, but I hadn't realized that this slavery extended to picking tobacco as well as fucking up my order at Burger King and working the Lost and Found counter at the Buffalo bus station. Now that I know, I'll be more appreciative of the tobacco I roll into my Philly blunts, as well as the black guy I buy the drugs from. I can't wait for the lessons of episode three.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This Time Around, I'll Try Not To Kill Anyone At My Prom

Marie Antoinette
2006, USA
Sofia Coppola
35mm

I think I'm going to throw up. This is a movie about a spoiled little retard, made by a spoiled little retard, which feels somehow incestuous. And not the good kind of incest, either, like two red-headed sisters scissoring or a MILTF getting fisted by her pre-teen daughter. It's the nauseating kind of incest, where a grandfather with hair in his ears goes down on a baby. I think it's because this movie is so self-consciously hip and bratty, and it seems exactly like an idea Sofia Coppola came up with while getting stoned with Spike Jonze.

As the title would suggest, this film is a biography of Marie Antoinette, of sorts, and as such is a period piece. But aside from the detailed costumes and set design, everything about the movie screams John Hughes without the wry sense of humor. The language, theperformances, the soundtrack that sounds like a college radio station around 10 PM, everything is modern and ultra-cool; a backstage documentary at a Strokes concert, in high collars and frilly dresses. These anachronisms, coupled with a hand-held camera and cinema verite visual style, make for a jarring but interesting interpretation of Antoinette's story, essentially positing that the French court at Versailles was a lot like high school.


Still from Marie Antoinette, moments before her execution.

Big fucking deal. Everything is a lot like high school. Work is like high school. University is like high school. The Internet is like high school. Everybody is trying to fuck everybody else, but failing, you get called a 'faggot' a lot if you don't watch football, and I'm hooked on Benzedrine. Things have been like high school before there even was high school, because high school is full of the retarded, a timeless condition independent of whether or not gym class is in session. Gossip and pack behavior are eternal conditions, and the movie reflects that life will has always been, and always will be, Mean Girls. It somewhat depressing to realize that no matter how successful I become in life, I'll still be trying to bum cigarettes and giving my girlfriend a hurried abortion with a coat hanger in a bathroom stall, and perhaps that's where some of my animosity towardsthis film comes. I don’t like bumming cigarettes, especially from all the raver idiots who seemed to have plenty of Dad’s money to by menthols, scared to death of me because I wore a leather jacket instead of a candy colored jumper and didn’t have a cock in my mouth, and I don’t like this movie. It's certainly competently made, and the stylistic choices are as bold as they are irritating, but despite the interesting ideas I came out of it frustrated. I should have liked it too, because Kirsten Dunst is in it, and she's got those nice crooked teeth that show she's already been properly housebroken, but it still didn't do it for me. Despite the incest.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

To Serve Black Man.

The Last King Of Scotland
2006, UK
Kevin Macdonald
35mm

Despite their yellow coloring, the Chinese do not taste like lemon. Caucasians aren't vanilla, and Red Indians are neither cinnamon flavored nor candy-apple. Black people, however, do taste like liquorish root, unless you're lucky enough to get a southerner flavored like bacon fat and fryer oil, which is why I hate eating them. Well, that, and I don't want to get AIDS. And if that kind of attitude offends you, then you just might enjoy the scathing commentary on Western arrogance found in The Last King Of Scotland, a film that takes place during Idi Amin’s cannibalistic reign over Uganda.

The film follows Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish doctor fresh out of med school, yearning to live the jet-setting life of a family practitioner, speeding from old woman with rheumatoid arthritis to infant with colic. He begins his adventurous life by traveling to Uganda, sort of like a 19th century nobleman's Grand Tour, except instead of smoking opium in a Shanghai basement while a scabby prostitute teases his dope-sickened genitals, he's patching up some 10 year-old's spear wound. Once in Africa, he tries to sleep with Scully from The X-Files, apparently forgetting that her skepticism runs so deep she no longer believes in the myth of the female orgasm. However, a chance encounter with General Idi Amin, having just recently seized power, leads Garrigan to take a job as Amin's personal physician. The film revolves around the doctor, and his stubborn insistence on remaining oblivious to the atrocities and human rights abuses surrounding Amin's regime. Caught up in Amin's infectious affability, his own sense of power, and the separation of cultural tourism, Garrigan refuses to believe the whispers of mass murder and torture that invade his cocoon of detachment. Until, that is, Amin has his girlfriend's legs put where her arms should go. It's like modern art, only with dismemberment. Once the horrors have hit home, Garrigan trades in his white indifference for white guilt, taking on the requisite droopy-faced countenance, long wavy hair, and perpetual odor of last night’s hash familiar to all liberal arts students, and the movie proceeds from there.



Any creative writing class, anywhere.

The Last King of Scotland is a personal story, one that focuses on the doctor instead of the regime, which is interesting if you're looking for an affecting character study, disappointing if you're trying to grill up some coon steak and need tips on seasoning. Normally, I'd feel guilty about making such an off color remark, but that sort of attitude, be it explicit, as in everything I've ever written on this site, or implicit, as in anything any one British has ever written, anywhere, is what’s being engaged here. Africa has long been seen by the Western world as a land of savage children pretending to be adults, taking the occasional break to snort brown-brown and play cowboys and Indians with real guns and no cowboys. The Last King Of Scotland both criticizes and reinforces that paradigm, exploring the complexity of the situation through a microscopic character study. It's neither a condemnation of the attitude, nor an endorsement of it, merely an explanation of why it exists, and the harm that it does. So, despite the fact that it's yet another movie about Africa told through the eyes of a white person, the film does attempt to at least bring attention to the way in which Africa is viewed, if not change that view entirely. Not that that sort of change would be possible, anyway, because this is Africa were talking about here. If I were trying to show the Western world that I was a civilized continent capable of self-rule, I would probably try not to chop people up with machetes and eat them. But perhaps that's just my Western arrogance talking.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Love, Death, and a Pile of Human Shit.

Hated
1994, USA
Todd Phillips
VHS

G.G.Allin ate a lot of shit. If this is something that you need to see physical evidence of, then Hated is the movie for you. If you just want to take my word for it, you might save yourself 60 minutes of coprophilia, minutes that could perhaps be spent smearing yourself in your own defecate. There's not much depth to this documentary of the legendary punk rocker’s life, and it contains precious little actual information on G.G. Plus, his genitals are too drug-withered and shriveled for this tape to be much use as a scat video, unless you're mixing your defecation fetish with homosexual pedophilia. Thankfully, I am, but while I was pleased with the film, more discerning viewers will probably not be so generous.

Directed by Todd Phillips, the man who cursed my new apartment with endless screenings of Old School, this film school documentary purports to be an examination of Allin, a punk icon who took Iggy Pop's notorious on-stage antics and buggered them with something sharp. He performed naked, beat up women, vomited and swallowed, pissed and drank it, and shit and ate it, occasionally finding time to play "I Kill Everything I Fuck". Allin got more attention for his behavior than for his music, mainly because he couldn't even spell 'rapist' right on his album jackets, let alone write a coherent song, but that's entirely the point. But the songs were pretty good, for music that isn't Gorgoroth. But despite his failings in grammar, spelling, and personal hygiene, Allin's stage act was more important than his music. As much as I like to hear a catchy pop tune with a social message, like "Bite It, You Scum", or "No Room For Nigger", it's Allin's performance art that I really respond to. During shows, Allin would draw attention to nearly every behavioral taboo in existence, getting into fights with male, or more likely female audience members, beating himself bloody and usually senseless, and frequently inserting some variety of foodstuff into his anal cavity before either eating it or hurling it into the audience. But not only is Allin an avant-garde performer using shock tactics to draw attention to the ridiculously arbitrary societal disgust with the human body, he's taking performance art back from faggots picking their AIDS scabs and women talking about their periods. Compared to him, the last half of that sentence was a quote from Bible study.



Actually, "No Room For Nigger" is one of the less popular psalms in the King James Bible.

Not that this movie really addresses that aspect of Allin’s career. Essentially, Hated is a chronicle of the first show of G.G.'s final tour, set up by Phillips in an inadvertently Michael Moore-y intrusion into the cinematic reality. There are a smattering of interviews with other members of Allin's back up band, the Murder Junkies, like the drummer, Dino, who bases every conversation he has on past acid trips, and Brother Merle, who looks like Hitler mixed with a 19th century plantation owner. What little insight provided into Allin's artistic endeavors is gleaned solely from Allin's disjointed ramblings and the rushed voice-over by the director that bookends the picture. The rest of the film is comprised of live footage and news clips, as well as some amusing but unenlightening interviews with Allin's former high school teachers and childhood friends. Allin died shortly after the production of this film, so footage of his funeral, where he looks like a swollen Fu Manchu in black face, is added, but no additional depth is obtained. Essentially, this film reduces Allin's act to a novelty, which is only a half truth. As far as Hated is concerned, Allin is all fun and games until somebody gets covered in shit. Then, it's a thesis film.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Googling Little Girls.


What do you get when you search for “sweet kiddie porn” or “why does my cum come out with blood”? Aside from a marked IP address and a wire-tap? Me. My mother would be so proud.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Nightmare Before The Registered Tradermark.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D
1993, USA (2006 re-release)
Henry Selick
35mm

Despite its apparent complexity, 3D is actually a deceptively simple process. Two images are filmed, one offset from the other by a same measurement that separates your two eyes, and then one is projected in red, the other in blue. The glasses that are handed out in the cinema, or in a copy of TV Guide if you're stupid enough to be watching the season finale of Medium, have one red lens, and one blue. By giving each eye the same image but shifted, the film tricks your brain into thinking that you have a headache and kind of want to throw up a little bit. It can be a powerful effect when used properly, but all it's been used for in the past few years is to try and make Superman Returns not a colossal waste of time, and to try and sell at least a few tickets to Spy Kids 3.

Here, however, is the exception that proves the rule. For its 10th anniversary, The Nightmare Before Christmas has been given the Disney 3D treatment not to sell tickets, but rather to sell black leather purses to Goth girls too old for Emily the Strange merchandise but too young to masturbate with a black skull dildo while listening toMarduk's 'Funeral Bitch'. I swear to Christ, this movie is the only thing keeping the Disney store afloat. I think they plastered Jack Skellington's face on so much merchandise, 30th century archeologist are going to think we're all lonely high school girls with bad skin and Marilyn Manson T-shirts.


What's a goth thing? Acne? I hate you.

As for the movie itself, I can't even tell if I like it or not anymore. Every time I watch it, all I see is dollar signs and Oogie Boogie plush toys dancing around with Hello Kitty wallets and Tickle Me Elmos. It's like the 80s all over again, except instead of My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake toys, I'm supposed to buy a grown woman slippers shaped like pumpkins. I don't even remember what this movie's supposed to be about. I think the king of Halloweentown decides to hijack Christmas, but then learns that shrunken heads don't make good presents anywhere outside of the Belgian Congo. But that's all incidental, because this film is just a computer program written to get me to buy actionfigures. By the movie's 20th anniversary, I'm betting you'll be able to get a Nightmare Before Christmas nativity scene, in a crèche shaped like a rib cage. What was a great idea for a film has been turned into a great idea for a $20 belt buckle, and everyone seems to be buying into it. Why must everything even remotely cool be co-opted by My Chemical Romance fans so they can post about it on MySpace? Fuck! Fuck you and your goddamn black nail polish and Lock, Shock, and Barrel shoelaces. Fuck your Dr. Finklestein curtains, and your Sally snow globes, and your Bobble Head of that lummox with the axe in his skull. Fuck your idiosyncratic conformity, fuck the bad attitude you can fit inside your black skull-patterned pencil case, and fuck the shitty poetry you write in your Oyster Boy pencil case. And fuck the fact that I've turned into yet another website with a Nightmare Before Christmas post on it.