Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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It's like Otto Preminger just wanted to see who the most ridiculous people were that he could put into a hippie drug movie. So why not Groucho Mark, Jackie Gleason, The Riddler, and the guy from the beach movies? There seems to be some loose plot about mobsters or hitmen, or something, but the reason to watch this is to see Ralph Kramden Go On An Acid Trip. Period. Ok, also worthwhile are a dance troupe of garbage cans and a mutiny by a group of hippie pirates, led by a badly lip synching and go go dancing Carol Channing. And Groucho Marx (as "God") sailing off into the sunset in Hari Krishna garb while smoking a joint. I've heard this was the last role of his film career, what a fantastic exit.
The only bracing I was given for this film was that Joe Coleman does the Bad Thing. Ok, I know about the Bad Thing. I once discussed the Bad Thing with Joe at a rooftop party, and he said he felt badly about it in retrospect. (Apparently since he's given money to rat rescue and keeps a few as loved pets.) Ok, you can point out to me that various chickens meet unhappy fates in this film as well(more on that in a bit) and while I'm not down with cockfighting either, I AM the Mad Rat Girl so...
Anyway, the film begins as a bit of self back-patting for the NYC underground art scene of the late 80's. Here's all our friends who are cool hot shots on The Scene! Yeah, I know there are many other notables of the time who are conspicuously absent, but here's Lydia Lunch and Joe Coleman and Joey Arias and Karen Finley! And Ann Magnuson from Bongwater dressed like that chick from the hot cocoa box for some damn reason or other! Basically the film follows a suburban looking girl who wanders in and out of these scenarios, apparently lost on her way to the Bon Jovi concert, I dunno. She never really speaks or reacts, we are never really given an idea of why she's there or what she's looking for. Is she supposed to represent "you the viewer?" I wasn't like her in the 80's. Among the scenarios she encounters are Joe Coleman's aforementioned performance, a beginner circle at the Hellfire Club, a couple of street performers drawing big laughs with the kind of ethnicity-based humor that would get any comedian less streetwise crucified (take note, guy-who-played-Kramer.) She enters an art salon run by a big stupid twat and a performance where we get a glimpse of the even bigger stupider twattier rapist brother involved in the audience. (It should be noted the performance itself, by Karen Finley, is good. She can't help who happened to be in the audience.) She also wanders in on a Puerto Rican cockfight, a human trafficking auction in Chinatown, and a Voudoun ritual where the Houngan invokes by biting the head off a live chicken. More purpose, at least to the humans involved, than what Joe did I guess. Which brings me to some of my biggest critiques of the film. The NYC it presents to outsiders is a very segregated one, which wasn't entirely true, and one where non-white cultures are portrayed in their most brutal aspects, while the white bohemians are portrayed as artists and intellectuals. I don't mean the Voudoun ceremony. That's there religion and it's better than more global religions that cover up for pedophiles while restricting women's health, for example. The cockfight and the human auction however--yes, those things do happen (though I've been assured by someone tangentially involved with the production of the film that the auction was staged.) But seriously are those the ONLY things they could show us to represent aspects of those cultures in NYC? Where are the Boricuan artists and poets of the LES and Spanish Harlem? Where are the Chinatown gong and drum street ceremonies that sometimes seem to break out at random? Do you blancos even know that there are those of us in Latino culture who DON'T think cockfighting or even bullfighting are all that great? And though I'm relieved to hear than the auction was staged here, A)why is this the only representation of Asian culture in New York, and B) why is it portrayed so indifferently, as just one more freaky far out thing the suburban girl sees? FFS, Ashton Kucher treats this topic with more gravitas than it's given here! I'd say if you're interested in that era, skip this film and hunt up other woks and writings by the personalities involved.
Amazing, beautifully filmed movie which today I'll say is about the shadow sides of the planetary correspondences, or the risks of occultism performed from a place of more reptilian/Sobek based ego ("To Will" replaced with "To Want" by the Alchemist, which I initially thought was just a mistranslation thing - it's not. Recurring appearances of the monkey/Hanuman.)
I say "today" because I'm sure the next time I watch this multi-faceted film I'll see a whole other dimension to it.
This is a documentary made by a French woman about the No Wave and Cinema of Transgression underground film movements in New York City. I enjoyed it though honestly I'd rather watch the films themselves. I remember James Nares talking about the place on Canal with the Super 8 cameras and stuff at this one screening in a loft of Metropolitan somewhere and a lot more detail about it and the places films were screened than they got to go into here. I'm glad that someone has done this overview of this as a whole film movement, not sure why Smithereens was included with the rest, I guess cuz Richard Hell acted in?
We went to see this cuz the Bldg. Dept. put an illegal vacate on our space and the poster reminded me of some of Ralph Steadman's drawings of Hunter S. Thompson's acid trips, where everyone is a reptile or whatever. Indeed there's a HST reference in the film, but if you blink you'll miss it. This lizard is on a trip and he get's onto some Casteneda thing where a roadkill armadillo sends him on some spiritual desert quest. He arrives at a town where resources(water) are hoarded by The Powers That Be, who lead the citizens to believe there is a crisis. Rango talks a good game, causing the people to rally around him and the established government to use him as a pawn, to be disposed of when he's no longer useful. At this point I thought this was some kind of metaphor for Obama, albeit with a happier ending than we're all gonna get. My husband and I found this funny & visually entertaining, though we could hear some of the small children in the audience around us getting restless. Not sure who this is really aimed at, but if anyone on here has been reading and agreeing with my reviews of things so far, I recommend it.