Tromeo & Juliet Reviews
(1997) Tromeo And Juliet
Financed by the company who did the cheesy "The Toxic Avenger" and "Nuke Em High" called "Troma" a company that makes low budget movies on a shoe string budget with gore and nudity for I have to watch this movie again for at the time I had seen this- it was quite forgettable. This is the rating I'm giving this movie for the time being.
1/2 out of 4
The movie was if nothing else enthusiastic, like I said before. That and narration by Motorhead's Lemmie Kilmister are the best things the movie has going for it, in spite (or because?) of not being able to understand two words he says.
If you enjoyed the likes of the original Evil Dead, American Pie, and if you know what The Toxic Avenger is at all, Tromeo and Juliet is the Shakespeare adaptation for you.
The scene begins in the Que house in New York City. We see a squirrel, apparently hung by the Capulets, swinging lightly from a noose with a paper stuck to its bottom half, reading, ?Monty Q Sucks.? The narrator, Lemmy from the rock group Motorhead, then reveals the characters from both feuding households by name. The feisty feud between the two households begins when Cappy Capulet (William Beckwith) the sadistic, abusive father of Juliet, forces the ?black-mailed? alcoholic and father of Romeo, Monty Que (Earl Mckoy), to sign over the rights of their porn production company ?Silky Films.? The families then begin to wreak havoc on one another, resulting in the deaths of Sammy Capulet (Sean Gunn) through his brief encounter with a fire hydrant, Murray Martini (Valentine Miele) with his spike to the head for the need to call people ?fiddle-fuckers,? and Tyrone Capulet with his severed arm and head; leaving the unrequited love story of Romeo and Juliet somehow stashed in the middle.
Though this particular adaptation arguably presents a perversion and mockery of a classic text, it may be considered effective because it contains the typical elements of the Shakespeare script; violence, comedy, passion, and love. These elements, however, seem to be magnified times a million. The love story seems to be overshadowed by the excess of violence, sex, and goriness prevalent throughout the film. I manage to get an onset of nausea thinking about ?Prince Meatball?s? (Steve Gibbons) need to bash his head repeatedly against dead pigs, and that huge monster penis growling at Juliet in her sexual nightmare.
The target audience might also present a problem as well. It seems as if there is a film version of Shakespeare that caters to every type of person, and this film clearly seems to target a punk rock or gothic audience. Needless to say, this isn?t necessarily a version that I would watch with my parents or even with the majority of my friends like I would Frank Zeffirelli or Baz Luhrmann?s renditions.
On the other hand, the connection between Romeo (Will Keenan) and Juliet (Jane Jensen), though a goofy-looking couple, was actually believable. The moments that they were in tune together actually seemed like a totally separate movie and true love story. When they first meet at Capp?s Ball, unfortunately with Romeo in a cow suit, we are taken into a dream-like state of stars as they directly quote sonnets from Act 1 Scene 5 of Shakespeare?s original play. Then of course, a booming ?What the fuck! Get your God damn tongue out of my God damn cousins mouth!? spoken by Tyrone Capulet, plunges us quickly back to reality.
Everything controversial or considered wrong with the world was featured in this film including violence, lesbianism, incest, and abuse. I was especially surprised at the abuse of woman, particularly from Cappy Capulet toward Juliet and her mother Ingrid, and wasn?t too fond of this element of farce in the film. I can deal with a few slaps here and there, but he kind of beat their ass.
Overall, what makes this adaptation ?work? is perhaps ?Shakespeare?s? guest appearance nodding and laughing at the closing of the film. This is definitely an important addition which suggests that Troma Entertainment wasn?t trying to screw up a classic, but simply meant to entertain. Shakespeare, oddly, would probably be proud.
In less than fifteen minutes Kaufman manages to squeeze in explicit sex, transvestites, gang bangs, meth, incest, nut crunching, breast piercing, finger dismemberment, farting and animal maiming-an exhausting but impressive feat in itself. Romeo masturbates to a program called "Shakespeare Sex Interactive" that includes selections like "The Merchant of Penis," "As You Lick It," and "Much Ado About Humping." Instead of a nurse, Juliet's gets a badass lesbian cook and a steamy sex scene. The friar is a priest who is also a pedophile. Juliet's father forcefully dresses her in a scanty costume meant for "dirty girls" as he shackles her limbs inside of the plexiglass time out room and makes her refer to herself as "daddy's little Crenshaw melon." It is just icing on the cake that the lovers find out that they are actually brother and sister but decide to continue their incestual relationship and breed mutant children.
Steve Gibbons gives an outrageously entertaining performance as London, portrayed in this film as a masochistic butcher.
If Kaufman wished to exacerbate the overdramatic recklessness of the Romeo and Juliet dynamic then he certainly hit his mark. In the words of Cappy Capulet, the lovers are really just a couple of "miserable fucking monkeys in heat." Their dialogue is way over the top with Romeo declaring "My Juliet, let me bathe in your breath and your skin." Romeo declares "What light from yonder plexiglass breaks?" when he meets Juliet in the time out room, they make wedding plans over the phone while Tromeo has diarrhea on the toilet, and after the wedding they have sex against a wall in the street and get matching tattoos.
Morbid to say the least, Tromeo and Juliet kill her father with a scorching curling iron to the face, bobby pins through the ears, backstabbing with a nail file, a running blow dryer in the mouth, tampons up the nasal cavity, and computer smashed over his head. Comedic relief to a tragedy or a tragedy in itself, there is something tantalizing about the suspense created when the modern sacred notion of Shakespeare is contrasted with kitsch and chaos.
As with all of Troma's films, nothing is sacrosanct. Preserving the crux of the Bard's original, Tromeo Que remains the lovelorn doter whose capricious affections light upon the betrothed daughter of his mortal enemy, Cappy Capulet, yet Troma takes its liberties by expanding characterizations and contexts. The family feud begins with Cappy's successful ploy to purloin the Silky Films porn company from his once dear friend Monty Que. Chaos and hilarity ensue as Monty falls into a state of alcoholic decrepitude, and the Que boys seeks their vengeance in a string of barbaric atrocities. Meanwhile, Tromeo remedies his love's rejection-by the aloof and scantily clad Rosy-with a sudden intractable yearning to shag Juliet everywhere from a giant glass cage to the backrooms of a church. Juliet remains imprisoned in the extravagant Capulet manor, albeit by an incestuous and unscrupulous father whose dealings with his daughter take the form torture porn. If our heroin is to subvert the unsavory future her father holds for her-and live happily ever after with her Tromeo-she must not only conquer Cappy, but also break her engagement with a goofy and self-mutilating meat mogul and forsake her erotic relationship with Ness, the family cook.
Tromeo & Juliet is undoubtedly a purist's hell. Ironically, though, this black comedy of epic proportions finds a way to recapture the theatricality and bawdy titillation that drew Elizabethans to the theatre in droves. Spontaneous and outrageous fight scenes featuring such unlikely weapons as bobby pins and paper cutters supplant the exhilarating swordplay that would have animated Shakespeare's rowdy throng, and the Bard's famous penchant for fart jokes remains a crowd pleaser. Most offensive to the so-called defenders of Shakespearian purity, no doubt, is the film's pornification of the inviolable teen lovers. And yet, between all the scenes of masturbation, between all the squirming of bare bodies and shots of unfettered breasts, a careful observer will detect the soft, hearty chuckle of the Bard as he watches his ribald verse come to life. What the film does most pointedly is offer to cinemagoers a refreshed and updated version of a classic which allows Twentieth Century viewers the delight of accessing the Elizabethan milieu, and renders each a raucous groundling cheering and gaping with shock at the action on stage.