5 - 1
At the time, I considered this a masterpiece. I remember saying that to call it genius would be an understatement. As Quentin Tarantino piles up the publicity for his upcoming spaghetti western comedy (at least, according to the reports from Cannes), you can still find copies of this competing treasure trove. Like Jodorowsky and Leone mixed with a music video viability, the storyline is simple, but the visual aplomb by which it is approached is undeniable. Still, it’s been over five years since I last laid eyes on it. Maybe it’s not the masterful manipulation of the medium as I originally thought it was.
Before they broke up, writer/director James Gunn and then wife Jenna (The Office) Fischer found time to create this amazing faux documentary about the pitfalls of being a Hollywood power couple with no real charity to champion. After all, how can you be taken seriously in Tinseltown if your name is not associated with some manner of ersatz altruism. The pair’s idea? Give homeless people lollipops with motivational messages on them. Brilliant! Though it came from those titans of tacky, Troma, this was one of 2004’s best. Eight years later, the duo’s marriage is over. Here’s hoping the movie they made is not.
As one of the main water cooler movies from the initial boom in home video, this Jörg Buttgereit atrocity was often cited - along with City of the Living Dead and Zombi - as one of the most nauseatingly graphic films of all time. Dealing with the subject of a sick husband and wife team who steal corpses so they can have sex with them, the visuals are not the most upsetting thing. No, the fact that Buttgereit builds in a level of legitimate emotion makes the dead body diddling all the more offensive. Time has probably not tempered such a sickening subtext.
We critics see hundreds of homemade horror films in our lifetime. It’s perhaps the easiest genre to work within when all you have is chutzpah, a group of gullible friends, and a handy video camera. This Argentinean bombshell, still one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had as a writer, was eye opening. This movie (and its equally amazing sequel) had real scope and mythology. They even mixed in nods to westerns and professional wrestling. I was so enamored of these efforts that I wrote an essay for an (unpublished) book about movies you shouldn’t miss. Hopefully, that sentiment is safe.
This was the one that started it all. This was the film that first introduced me to the Jean-Luc Goddard of the Double Wide, Giuseppe Andrews. I knew him as an actor. With this weird amalgamation of found actors and Jokes from the John dialogue, it was as if a whole new realm of cinematic possibilities were opened up to me. Since then, I have seen everything this amazing man has ever made, and been part of his website as an unofficial-official commentator. There’s even talk of taking part in a documentary on his filmmaking approach. Perhaps I need to go back and see if I still feel the same about this initial foray into his ‘art.’
// Notes from the Road
"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.READ the article