Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

"Pathetic Earthlings... Who Can Save You Now?"

File this under the "so bad it's good" category :o)

I remember watching Flash Gordon (the 1980 Mike Hodges film) as a 6 year-old kid and relishing every moment, thinking it was the best damn sci-fi flick I had ever seen, even though it was released 3 years after the initial Star Wars movie, and 12 years after the Kubrick masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, both significantly stronger entries into the sci-fi adventure genre. I hadn't seen either of those latter 2 films at the time. Neither had I seen The Seventh Seal, the late Ingmar Bergman's opus from 1957, which starred a much younger Max Von Sydow who, by the way, plays Ming The Merciless, evil ruler of the planet Mongo, in Flash Gordon, and who utters the line I used as the title for this entry! Going from surrealist, existential drama to laughable costume pulp probably wasn't expected.

Anyway, as a kid, I watched Flash Gordon so many times that I knew every single line of dialogue, and every piece of music from the Queen created soundtrack! I happened to catch the tail-end of it on television recently, which brought back memories. As I watched, I laughed a lot at just how cheesy, schlocky and just flat out BAD the film is/was. It certainly hasn't aged well.

BUT, 28 years later, I can say unabashedly that I still enjoyed the ride, and will probably see it again if it did air, so that I can laugh some more!

I'm suddenly interested in finding more films that would fit nicely under the "so bad it's good" banner. I think I'll make it a regular feature on this blog... and not only in reference to films.

Go Flash, go! HA!

I'm Uwe Boll Bitch!

This is hilarious! If you know nothing about this, it would be best to first read some of the backstory HERE, and then watch the video. Last I checked, the number of petition signatures was up to 141,000+ and climbing rapidly:

Confessions Of A Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha

How exciting is this? MVP (Melvin Van Peebles) has a new flick on the way, titled... drumroll... Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha.

Yes, you read that correctly folks! Just like Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (SSBS) MVP wore just about every hat for this one, writing, producing, directing and starring. And just like SSBS, it's about a man constantly on the move.

I couldn't find much on this, and everything I did find had the same 3 or 4 sentence write-up, sans video, or any images from the film. So, I gather MVP is being secretive with it.

However, I'm glad to say that Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha will have its world premiere during this month's Tribeca Film Festival, right here in New York City. So, you can guarantee that I'll be making every effort to get tickets for any of the 4 scheduled screenings of the film, with the first one occuring on the 27th, still a few weeks away.

Here's the description as listed in the Tribeca program: "Melvin Van Peebles, still our most playfully inventive filmmaker after nearly 50 years, returns with a boisterous adventure that ranges from Harlem to the high seas, following the exploits of an unforgettable character (MVP, natch) who’s always on the move—but keeps ending up back in New York."

Like I said, not much to go on. But given that it's MVP, and with a title like Confessions of a Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha, how could I not be intrigued!!?!?!? I'll be sure to share my thoughts after I see it.

As an aside, I also read that he's currently working on a double album with Madlib (one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed hip hop producers of this century), to be released on the independent label, Stones Throw Records.

Medicine For Melancholy

This looks intriguing... the visual work and tone attract me enough that I'd like to see the whole film.

It played to astounding critical reviews at this years South By Southwest (SXSW) film festival, which took place last month. It's also enjoyed some additional festival play at other notables.

It's not coming to my neck of the woods anytime soon, so I'll just have to wait, and continue to read what those who do see it write about it.

It's called Medicine for Melancholy, the first feature film from African American filmmaker, Barry Jenkins. You can read all about it HERE.

What Is "Lost?" I Don't Know.

Here's one for you fans of the popular TV show Lost. I'm not a fan, but I know a few who are, and they certainly are rabid about it!

"What?" That is the question... one that I've been asking since the show's leap into American households. Based on the video below, it's clear that the cast is just as clueless. Watch the clip and you'll understand :o)

A Movie About Bush? Only If Thandie Newton Plays Condi!

When I first heard about this project, I developed a sudden relentless rash! Why the hell would I want to watch a film about George W Bush? Are you fucking kidding me? Those were my immediate thoughts. But as more and more is revealed about the project, my attitude towards the idea has brightened accordingly. Knowing that Oliver Stone is behind this tickles me a great deal! I'm sure you all are familiar with his body of work, and unabashed leftist leanings. Despite his claims that he has every intention of being truthful and fair in his characterization of Bush and his entourage, I just don't see that happening at all! He'll be as fair and balanced as Fox News claims to be. And this is why I'm tickled and curious as to what the outcome of this $30 Million production will be. Apparently, there's already some controversy surrounding certain "facts" the script claims. Read below and be tickled just as I am. Oh, and by the way, how could I forget to mention that Thandie Newton has been tapped to play Condoleezza Rice!! That should be interesting. Josh Brolin of No Country For Old Men fame will portray President Bush! The plan is to have the film ready for release by this fall's election. Coincidence? I think not!

From The Hollywood Reporter:

President George W. Bush is a foul-mouthed, reformed drunk obsessed with baseball, Saddam Hussein and a conflicted relationship with his dad. Or at least that's how he's portrayed in the script for Oliver Stone's upcoming feature "W."

But how accurate is that depiction?

As the film preps for its April 21 start date, The Hollywood Reporter sent a copy of the screenplay to four Bush biographers for their comments. The draft is dated Oct. 17, 2007, and has recently been circulated to talent, though a person close to the film said the script has since gone through at least two drafts.

Naturally, what a director does with a script is how a movie is ultimately judged, but because this screenplay depicts a sitting president and the run-up to the war in Iraq, its authenticity is becoming a hotly debated subject -- not to mention the fact that any historical material Stone has touched has become controversial.

Reactions to the script from the biographers were mixed.

They said specific scenes are largely based in fact but noted that the screenplay contains inaccurate and over-the-top caricatures of Bush and his inner circle.

"It leaves you with the impression that the White House is run as a fraternity house with no reverence for hierarchy, the office itself or for the implications of policy," said Robert Draper, author of "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush." "Everybody calling everybody else nicknames and chatting about whether to go to war as if they were chatting about how to bet on a football game really misses the mark of how many White Houses, including this one, are run."

Jacob Weisberg ("The Bush Tragedy") was skeptical about Stone's claim that he wants to make "a fair, true portrait" of Bush. "His saying he is going to be fair to Bush is like Donald Trump saying he is going to be modest," Weisberg quipped.

"W," which is set to begin filming in Shreveport, La., with Bill Block's QED financing a budget of about $30 million, stars Josh Brolin and James Cromwell as Bush 43 and 41, respectively. The film is being closely watched in entertainment and political circles, in part because Stone has said his goal is to release it while Bush is still in office and possibly in time for the November election.

In the script -- then titled "Bush" -- the president's policy judgments are often manipulated by his White House staff, a depiction several of the biographers said did not ring true.

"The problem here is it goes to this notion of Bush as being the passive receiver of policy and the White House being run by (Dick) Cheney, (Donald) Rumsfeld, (Karl) Rove and others," Draper said. "Bush's adversaries have been ill-served by this belief that Bush is an observer to his own presidency. This notion that his schedule is driven by what's on ESPN is ludicrous."

Read the rest HERE

The SCUM Manifesto

I'd previously heard about the S.C.U.M. Manifesto some years ago, in passing, but never bothered to look it up and read it... until now! I don't even remember how I got reintroduced to it and its creator, Valerie Solanas. I know it happened over this past weekend, likely as I was researching something else. The web is a minefield of links, daring you to click on them, to find out what exists on the other side. And how could I not follow a link with an acronym like S.C.U.M., AKA, Society for Cutting Up Men!

For those not familiar with the story, Valerie Solanas shot and almost killed Andy Warhol in the late 60s. Her reasons? "He had too much control over my life," she said at the time. She formed S.C.U.M. in the same year, which was followed by the creation of the manifesto, essentially a separatist feminist attack on patriarchy. Much like Marcus Garvey and other black nationalists called for a separate black state, Solanas, S.C.U.M. and the manifesto, championed the creation of a separate female society. The more I read, the more fascinated I was by Solanas and the many bold statements made within the manifesto, especially when the era in which it was created is considered! I've read assorted works from the bibliography of bell hooks, but nothing quite compares to some of what I read in the manifesto!!

In reading the entire manifesto over the weekend, I can honestly say that there are pieces of it that I, as a man, cannot debate nor deny entirely. There are some truths within, and as we all probably know, the truth can be a hard pill to swallow, especially when stated bluntly and reflects negatively on the "swallower." There are also some rather inflammatory, venomous statements within the manifesto that discredit the author, although maybe not entirely; but they certainly make one question her state of mind.

If you haven't read the S.C.U.M Manifesto, you can do so HERE. It's quite long, but I think worth the read. Apparently, it's been an influential piece of work, with other feminist writers quoting from it, films made about it, musicians referencing it, etc... I'm still pondering all that I read, and will likely read it again, and return with a more in-depth personal analysis at a later date.

It's said that Solanas later tried to distance herself from the group and the literature; although I wish she maintained her commitment to both, and what they stood for! Own it! Claim it! Don't backtrack! Especially if what you said or wrote is really what you believe... although I accept that people evolve over time.

Here are some excerpts from the Manifesto:

"Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex."

"Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction. The male is a biological accident: the y(male) chromosome is an incomplete x(female) chromosome, that is, has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples."

"A true community consists of individuals - not mere species members, not couples - respecting each other's individuality and privacy, at the same time interacting with each other mentally and emotionally - free spirits in free relation to each other and co-operating with each other to achieve common ends. Traditionalists say the basic unit of "society" is the family; "hippies" say the tribe; no-one says the individual."

"Sex is not part of a relationship: on the contrary, it is a solitary experience, non-creative, a gross waste of time. The female can easily -- far more easily than she may think -- condition away her sex drive, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthy relationships and activities; but the male, who seems to dig women sexually and who seeks out constantly to arouse them, stimulates the highly sexed female to frenzies of lust, throwing her into a sex bag from which few women ever escape. The lecherous male excited the lustful female; he has to -- when the female transcends her body, rises above animalism, the male, whose ego consists of his cock, will disappear."

"All diseases are curable, and the aging process and death are due to disease; it is possible, therefore, never to age and to live forever. In fact the problems of aging and death could be solved within a few years, if an all-out, massive scientific assault were made upon the problem. This, however, will not occur with the male establishment"

"After the elimination of money there will be no further need to kill men; they will be stripped of the only power they have over psychologically independent females. They will be able to impose themselves only on the doormats, who like to be imposed on. The rest of the women will be busy solving the few remaining unsolved problems before planning their agenda for eternity and Utopia -- completely revamping educational programs so that millions of women can be trained within a few months for high level intellectual work that now requires years of training (this can be done very easily once our educational goal is to educate and not perpetuate an academic and intellectual elite); solving the problems of disease and old age and death and completely redesigning our cities and living quarters. Many women will for a while continue to think they dig men, but as they become accustomed to female society and as they become absorbed in their projects, they will eventually come to see the utter uselessness and banality of the male."

"The conflict, therefore, is not between females and males, but between SCUM -- dominant, secure, self-confident, nasty, violent, selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling, arrogant females, who consider themselves fit to rule the universe, who have free-wheeled to the limits of this `society' and are ready to wheel on to something far beyond what it has to offer -- and nice, passive, accepting `cultivated', polite, dignified, subdued, dependent, scared, mindless, insecure, approval-seeking Daddy's Girls, who can't cope with the unknown, who want to hang back with the apes, who feel secure only with Big Daddy standing by, with a big strong man to lean on and with a fat, hairy face in the White House, who are too cowardly to face up to the hideous reality of what a man is, what Daddy is, who have cast their lot with the swine, who have adapted themselves to animalism, feel superficially comfortable with it and know no other way of `life', who have reduced their minds, thoughts and sights to the male level, who, lacking sense, imagination and wit can have value only in a male `society', who can have a place in the sun, or, rather, in the slime, only as soothers, ego boosters, relaxers and breeders, who are dismissed as inconsequent by other females, who project their deficiencies, their maleness, onto all females and see the female as worm."

Dear Will Ferrell...

Dear Will Ferrell,

You're nowhere near as funny as you seem to think you are.

Your overgrown frat boy shtick has long worn out its welcome.

Sticking your hands underneath your armpits and making offensive sounds was mildly humorous in the 7th grade.

Enough with the short shorts and tight shirts showing us your pasty, hairy parts.

Leave the funky hairstyles alone.

Jerry Lewis put the physical slapstick humor bit to bed a long time ago, even though Jim Carrey did his best to assume the throne.

Your "cowbell" skit on SNL in 2000 is probably the funniest thing you've ever done - although Christopher Walken's presence certainly helped tremendously!

Go away Will Ferrell!! You don't have to disappear entirely, but do yourself a favor and take some years off... rethink your career strategy.

You took a somewhat surprising, albeit welcomed turn with Stranger Than Fiction in 2006, but then quickly made us forget with the unfortunate trifecta of Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, and Semi-Pro, in succession.

I say all this out of concern for you and your future... really!!

You seem like a likable guy, although we've never met.

And I'm sure you're simply trying to earn a decent living like the rest of us. I'm ok with that as well.

However, I thought the exact same things about Jim Carrey several years ago, during his Ace Ventura/The Mask period.

Once a guaranteed box office draw, he unfortunately can't claim that title anymore.

So, learn from Jim, I implore you; or in a few years, possibly less, you'll become THAT guy who made THAT movie; or even worse, THAT guy from SNL; and you'll be relegated to starring in commercials that only air on Saturday mornings on the cartoon channel.

In closing, I do hope that you're saving a significant portion of your million dollar (or more) paychecks... you know... just incase :o)

Your friend in spirit,