Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

Hilarious parody of blacksploitation flicks; I imagine the mileage varies on how much you like blacksploitation. Personally, I love it, and I thought this one was funny as hell. I always love seeing Jim Brown, too. Some interesting commentary on black culture of the late eighties. Great cast, and a couple of cameos that really made me laugh, especially John Vernon as the villain, who onscreen compares his appearance as the villain to Shelley Winters in Cleopatra Jones. Nothing I can say to give it any higher praise than, honestly, it's just really, really funny. ****

Documentary that has some interesting information about the record industry, but uses it to laud independent record stores far beyond their importance. I think this would be a much more powerful, interesting documentary if it figured out what it wanted to say. All of the information is right there to show you how the record industry destroyed itself with greed, ineptness, and MBAs. But this film would rather focus on the plight of the poor independent record stores without actually having anything meaningful to say about why we would need independent record stores in a world focused on digital technology and in the modern economic climate. You have to reach me as a music consumer. Yeah, I know we're all supposed to be upset about the loss of a sense of community, or whatever nostalgic pseudo-romantic term you want to put on it, but in a crumbling economic structure, what is the sense of community putting on my table at the end of the day? You have to come up with genuine, realistic arguments about why shopping at an independent record store is better for everyone. Personally, I hate shopping in those places, because you always think they're going to be cool, but instead you go in and everyone looks at you like a potential thief, the prices are too high, and you get mocked for your taste in music--if you can peel the clerks away from their own conversations. I hate the whole experience. And I don't like vinyl much, either. I like being able to hear my music instead of pops and creaks and scratches with a bit of mono music underneath. I prefer clarity. Sorry. So I'm never going to feel bad about not subsidizing your lifelong dream to hang out in a record store all day. The whole thing ends with a bit of unintentional irony as one of the particularly loud record store owners, who has lost his shop and is now selling records on the street, says "To quote GG Allin, 'I'm still here! I'M STILL HERE!'" GG Allin is dead, jackass. ** because it almost makes its point before descending into a nostalgia wank about how we should all hate progress.

This flick is just downright bizarre. It's about a fugitive (Steve Railsback, alternating between intense and INTENSE!!) who winds up hiding out as a stunt man on a film directed by a bored artist (Peter O'Toole) who loves to mindfuck people. He's making a World War I anti-war movie, but trying to find the meaning of it all. Barbara Hershey's also in there, as are a number of actors I like (always great to see Allen Goorwitz). It's the kind of thing I just watched with my jaw open, trying to figure out what the point was or if the gamesmanship was all there was to it. Either way, it's as riveting as it is off-putting. I can't even rate this one; I'm not really sure how to.