Friday, January 20, 2006

Double Feature: A History of Violence & The Aristocrats

I'm something of a movie snob. Not neccesarily in my tastes, but in the whole movie "experience". I like going to the theatre, sinking into a chair that I only wish they'd put on an airplane with a vat of bubbly cavity-juice in one hand and a bucket of lightly popcorned salt in the other. (But no butter. My first job was at a movie theatre, and one of the tasks was to clean the butter machine at the end of the night. I think it was made from the same substance as the Water-Monster in The Abyss. So, thankyouno.)

But I've begun to enjoy the "dinner theatre" movie experience. First, it's cheaper. Second "a glass'a'beer". Third, the long lost art of the double feature. Such as the twin bill of A History of Violence and The Aristocrats. A weirder double, I cannot imagine. Maybe consecutive showings of "A Room With a View" and "Natural Born Killers?"

Anyway, AHOV. Meh. The first third of the movie sets a nice tone of menace in a small town, but from there, I think it goes of the rails and into my Charles Smith memorial "Million dollar move, ten cent finish" Hall of Non-Fame for movies which have interesting premises and/or set-ups and then fail to deliver. Other entries include Wolf, From Dusk til Dawn, and taken as a trilogy, The Matrix trilogy. Alternatively, there are the pieces of three different films, none of which go together especially well, though the final third gives you an idea of what it would have been like had Jet Li played Aragorn. And there's a very aggressive sex scene for no real reason.

The being said, The Aristocrats was stupendous. 3 minutes in, I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to drink the aforementioned glass of beer because I was laughing so hard. And this is a movie where arguably the biggest laughs are produced by Bob Saget, (which if you watch Entourage is not a total shock) and Gilbert Gottfried. If you don't know, the premise of the movie is the oral (I use the word advisedly) history of one particular joke. And it's a crap joke, but the humor is in the way the various comedians fill the space between the setup and the punchline. Of course, I must warn that if you are sensitive to profanity, your mileage may most assuredly vary, as Tarantino would be ashamed of the language in the film. The tagline captures the essence pretty well: "No Nudity. No Violence. Unspeakable Obscenity."

1 comment:

XWL said...

For a film shot on crappy videocams, The Aristocrats (don't ever confuse this with The Aristocats) benefits from communal viewing in a darkened theatre.

It really heightens the 'squirm' factor that helps all ribald comedy, and hearing people laugh or stifle laughter is always energizing.

This film enjoyed a long theatrical run on the westside, and it even had a midnight screening yestereve at a local arthouse.