Windy City Heat (2006)

Daynah Burnett

Perry boasts a killer DeNiro impression, insisting that "people magnetize towards my look." That look? Balding, overweight, fanny-packed with questionable hygiene.

Windy City Heat

Director: Bob Goldthwait
Cast: Perry Caravello, Don Barris, Tony Barbieri, Lisa Kushell, Bob Goldthwait, Dane Cook, Carson Daly, Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla, William, Perry
Distributor: Paramount
MPAA rating: N/A
Studio: Comedy Central
First date: 2006
US DVD Release Date: 2006-09-26

It's hard to know what to make of Perry Caravello. He's either the most dim-witted egomaniac vying for Hollywood stardom, or we've all just been punked, big time. Windy City Heat, a reality-show style film-length documentary, claims to be an elaborate prank played on Perry, where everyone from the director (Bob Goldthwait) to the PAs are in on the joke.

The DVD reveals that his "friends" Don Barris, Tony Barbieri (here, as a wig-wearing burnout named "Mole"), and Jimmy Kimmel have, for years, been promising aspiring comic Perry a chance at a leading role in a blockbuster film, extolling his talent and charisma. (He has neither.) Five months before production begins, Don convinces Perry that he's a shoe-in if he auditions for Windy City Heat, an action flick in which the hero is hardboiled sports detective "Stone Fury." It costars William "The Refrigerator" Perry as himself, in need of Stone's expertise to find his stolen fridge. Perry doesn't know that the film, and everyone working on it, is bogus, despite some obvious clues: a casting director (Dane Cook) named Roman Polanski; his on screen love interest, Susan B. Anthony (Lisa Kushell); Travis Bickle (Dave Sheridan) driving his limo; and foreign financial backing by Hiroshima Nagasaki. I told you he was dense.

The eight-day shoot subjects Perry to one "comedic" set-up after another. When thugs toss Perry (as Stone) into a dumpster, the filmmakers are sure to fill it with watery manure for the multiple takes Perry must endure. Only after he's covered in shit, do they suggest that Perry request a stunt double, just in time to be escorted out of the room so his double can perform the graphic sex scene with the buxom Susan (upon meeting her, Perry explains that she makes him "hard as a... diamond, er... cutter or whatever"). When Goldthwait leaves the set after filming the scene, he runs into Perry in the halls. Shaking his head, forlorn, he explains to Perry that they can't use any of the sex scene, because Susan has allowed full penetration. Perry's visible devastation -- having nothing to do with the film production and everything to do with his libido -- says everything we need to know about him: He's lascivious and deplorable. And so very dumb.

So dumb that it's not long before one starts to wonder who exactly is being tricked here. Could Perry be so hungry for fame that he would actually drink, take after take, Stone Fury's morning shake: a blender's worth of raw eggs, leftover Chinese noodles, cheese pizza, glazed donuts, and beer? That he wouldn't balk at the studio's prototype Stone Fury action figure resembling an obese Samoan with a Geri-curl? That the "Most Promising Actor in an Unfinished Feature Film" trophy awarded to Perry by the President of Show Business at the windy City Heat premiere is legitimate?

In an effort to uncover the truth, I scoured the DVD extras, consisting of old cable access footage of Perry, with Don and Mole ribbing Perry at every turn. A special featurette titled "The Reveal," which lets us watch the finished film alongside Perry, Don, and Mole. At no point does Perry seem to understand that the film's a joke and he's the punch line. Even his audio/video commentary track shows him in a suspended state of denial. As the text, "Everything you are about to see is an elaborate prank being played upon Perry," fills the screen, he doesn't even acknowledge it's there. When he does comment, he more or less recites the film's dialogue as it plays. The spectacle is sad and frustrating.

Equally frustrating is that in the film, Perry never takes a firm stand against his tormentors. Instead, he oscillates between engaged and enraged. One minute he's name-dropping and trying to schmooze "celebrities" like Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, the next he's regressed to infancy, red-faced and screeching whenever anything starts to go awry. What never wavers is his insistence that he's supremely talented: comparing himself to a young Brando, he boasts a killer DeNiro impression, insisting that "people magnetize towards my look." That look? Balding, overweight, fanny-packed with questionable hygiene.

With such absurdity abounding, it's hard to gauge who should be insulted more: the audience or Perry. While these shenanigans feel exploitative (as one can only think that if this is really a prank on Perry, he must be, in some significant way, mentally impaired), a hoax on the audience feels equally so, since it's insulting to assume the audience can't see through the sham, given the increasing ridiculousness of each situation. I suppose that since it's never exactly clear either way means it's somehow brilliant, but mostly I just think it's mean.





90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.


Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.