My Best Friend’s Birthday is the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino. Shot in 1984 for $5000, the rough cut was 70 minutes long before a fire at the processing lab destroyed all but 36 minutes of the film. It’s never been officially released.
Co-written with Craig Hamaan and photographed by Roger Avery, My Best Friend’s Birthday stars a motley collection of Tarantino’s video store co-workers and friends from acting class.
The stylistic foundations upon which Quentin built his career -Scorsese, Godard, Cassavetes, blaxpoitation and rock and roll - are evident in this clumsy but fun little flick. And the dialog is unmistakably what was later to become known as Tarantinoesque.
Here’s an excerpt from the 1990 punk melodrama Kiss Napoleon Goodbye directed by Babeth Mondini-VanLoo (who filmed Teenage Jesus & The Jerks in the 1970s) and written by Lydia Lunch. It was filmed by the legendary Mike Kuchar and stars Lunch, Henry Rollins and Don Bajema.
An ex lover drives a wedge between a couple trying to rekindle their love. At the core of this plot is a story that delves in topics like jealously, rage and obsession.
Douglas Sirk gone goth or a No Wave telenovela, I’m guessing everyone had their tongues firmly implanted in their cheeks (and each other’s) during the making of this bizarre potboiler.
You can buy the DVD of Kiss Napoleon Goodbye here.
Another clip from Kiss Napoleon Goodbye after the jump…
It appears as if Amazon reviewers are having a good ol’ time writing reviews for Carrot Top’s 1998 film Chairman of the Board. I’ve never seen Chairman of the Board, but my God are some of these reviews absolutely hilarious.
“I have one word to describe the experience of seeing this movie - floored. Not since “Becket” with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole (chronicling the unsteady friendship between Henry II and the Archbishop of Canterbury in 12th century England)have I been so impressed with performances by two actors. Larry Miller plays the antagonist with such deft nuance a lesser critic would swear he couldn’t act, until the climax arises wherein he chews scenery until his gums bleed. Carrot Top steals scenes and hearts with a continuous stream of hijinks, tomfoolery, and shenanigans that makes us laugh until we realize at the end of the movie that he’s also taught us how to love.”
“This story is just gripping and takes you on an emotional roller coaster you could only simulate if your cat died, followed by intercourse with Pam Anderson, followed by an infomercial on Tony Robbins, topped off with a Pizza Party thrown at your house by Jay Leno. I was so emotionally spent after this film, I called in sick to work for the next 5 days. Do yourself a favor and see this masterpiece.”
Read more reviews of Chairman of the Board after the jump…
James Dean interviewed by actor Gig Young for an episode of the Warner Bros. Presents TV show during the filming of Giant, and just thirteen days before his untimely death at the age of 24 on September 30, 1955. It says all over the web that this is an speeding PSA, but that’s not accurate, although they do discuss the topic. Instead of saying the then popular phrase “The life you save may be your own,” Dean ad-libs the cryptic line, “The life you might save might be mine.”
This segment was never aired for obvious reasons, but was added as an extra feature to the DVD release of Rebel Without A Cause.
Cinefamily, here in Los Angeles, is probably the single best art house cinema in America (or maybe it’s a tie with Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse). When such a hallowed venue decides to deviate from their normal mission of screening novel cinematic fare 365 days a year, in order to show just one single film for an entire week—they never show most movies even twice—this movie is, in all likelihood, fucking amazing.
Combining the gripping, unpredictable tension of a prime Polanski thriller, the perfectly-executed production design of a Wes Anderson contraption and the dangerous freaky-deakiness of a David Lynch nightmare, Dogtooth is easily one of the most unique filmic creations of the last few years, spinning forth from the dark imagination of new Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos. Topping critics’ lists as one of the best films of 2010, Cinefamily is proud to bring a full week-long of one of the coolest films you’ll see in 2011!
On par with Antichrist and Enter The Void for sheer audacity, this hyper-stylized, intoxicating mixture of physical violence and verbal comedy is the story of three teenagers perpetually confined to their parents’ isolated country estate, and kept under strict rule and regimen—an inscrutable scenario suggesting a warped experiment in social conditioning. Terrorized into submission by their father, the children spend their days devising their own games and learning an invented vocabulary (a salt shaker is a “telephone,” an armchair is “the sea”) — until a trusted outsider brought in to satisfy the son’s libidinal urges starts offering forbidden VHS tapes(!) as a key to the outside world.
Fully utilizing every last inch of onscreen space, Lanthimos paints the blackest of portraits here using austere, antiseptic visuals, and elicits total warped commitment from his entire cast, resulting in an indelible immersive experience into a claustrophobic emotional netherworld never before seen. Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009, 35mm, 94 min.
Some of the YouTube comments posted beneath the trailer said things like:
“This movie sucked every peace of joy out of me.This is one of those movie that really have a deep impact. Still I liked it,the message is brought to the viewer in such a way that it crawls deeply in your soul. God I think I will need therapy after this.”
“The movie is totally sick..raped my mood.”
“Christ and I thought my parents were overbearing but these guys their love for thier children hinges on sociopathic.”
“One of the most disgusting films ever. It made my guts turn upside down. I am very confused about what people found in it.
Intrigued yet? The film starts tomorrow at Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California
Jesus being the first Vampire and George W. Bush looking to find the Holy Grail and drink his blood to become immortal (under orders from Hitler) - yeah, that has potential to be pretty wild, especially when you throw in Vlad The Impaler / Dracula, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and the Pope.
‘Wow. So what happens?’
A lot of “shocking things”.
....there’s Christ having sex with himself, the Pope anally raped, female dolls mutilated and tortured, alongside plenty of racism and desperately offensive dialogue. But Zebub blows any sense of taboo-busting with a very long and apologetic introduction in which he explains that none of this should be taken seriously and that no offence is meant, not even to the President (Bush at the time). C’mon Bill, have the courage of your convictions!
‘Jeez…no wonder they used dolls.’
‘And he got paid for this?’
‘I’m in the wrong job.’
‘Is it any good?’
Not really. Here’s David Flint’s review:
Unfortunately, any potential is lost in a mix of really, really shoddy production values and the sort of clumsy shock-value humour you might expect to come out of a fourteen year old metalhead trying to upset his parents.The only good thing here is the cover art (and possibly some of the soundtrack).
‘Okay. Maybe I’ll give it a miss, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the trailer just to be sure.’
A tantalizing teaser for a truly rare (as in I can’t find the complete thing on the innerweb) 1971 doc about husband and wife free-improv duo Paul and Limpe Fuchs (and their two small children) d.b.a Anima Sound. The Fuchs’ toured greater Europa in a most odd fashion: in a caravan pulled by a tractor going 20 kilometers an hour with the purpose of bringing their primitive musical expressionism to remote, uncultured public places. Looks utterly fascinating. Evidently this film did a tour of college film festivals last year. Won’t some kind soul in possession of a copy put the whole thing for us all (OK, a handful of weirdos) to view ?
Abel Ferrara doesn’t get alot of respect these days. New York City’s most uncompromising rebel film maker has made some of the most outrageously pleasurable and transgressive films of the past 4 decades, including streetwise masterpieces The Bad Lieutenant and The King Of New York and grindhouse classics Driller Killer , MS. 45 and Fear City. But in recent years his cinematic output has been greeted with either outright disdain or complete neglect. The Funeral was the last Ferrara film to get a proper theatrical release and that was in 1996. Subsequent films R Xmas, New Rose Hotel and Blackout went straight to DVD or had very limited theatrical releases, mostly in Europe or NYC. Shabby treatment for one of America’s true originals.
But there is good news for Ferrara fans. His 2007 film Go Go Tales is finally getting a theatrical run, albeit a very limited one, as part of New York City’s Anthology Film Archives tribute “Abel Ferrara in the 21st Century.”
J. Hoberman’s ripe description of Go Go Tales in the current issue of the Village Voice has me frothing at the mouth:
A highly personal movie, Go Go Tales finds Ferrara in a frenzied yet pensive mode. Virtually the entire movie is set within the tawdry NYC confines of Ray Ruby’s Paradise, an institution that equally suggests an off–Wall Street titty bar and the magic theater from Steppenwolf (and was constructed for the movie in Rome’s Cinecittà studios). Paradise’s nonstop sweat-perfumed hubbub is immediately established with a blast of Archie Bell & the Drells to herald the contortions of a hula-hooping stripper. The beat goes on for some 90 minutes of choreographed pole-writhing, lap-dancing, and flamboyant backstage catastrophes—notably a tanning-bed fire—interspersed with the machinations of club proprietor and compulsive gambler Ray Ruby (up-for-anything Willem Dafoe) as he dodges his numerous creditors and schemes to game the Lotto.
Shtick runs rampant. Sylvia Miles’s foul-mouthed harridan landlady installs herself at the bar and channels Joan Rivers, shrieking about the Bed Bath & Beyond she’s going to bring in to replace the Paradise at $18,000 per month with a 99-year lease. Midway through, Asia Argento—the Queen of I-Don’t-Give-a-Shit—coolly erupts into the proceedings for a show-stopping number that involves the exchange of bodily fluids with her pet Rottweiler. Not to be outdone, Dafoe (so deadpan in his hamming as to function as a one-man Wooster Group) follows up with a ludicrously sensitive lounge song, delivered amid a phalanx of writhing strippers.”
And Anita Pallenberg is in the film!
I’m hoping that Go Go Tales gets a run beyond Manhattan, but I doubt it. In the meantime, Ferrara fanatics (and Asia Argento devotees) can pick up an import DVD here.
This clip from Go Go Tales should get your juices flowing.
This should have been something: When Sparks met Jacques Tati in 1974, to discuss Ron and Russell Mael’s’ starring roles in the French comedy legend’s next feature Confusion. N’est-ce pas incroyable, non? As the brothers explain over at the fabulous Graphik Designs website:
Russell Mael: “We were discussing with a guy from Island Records in Europe fun things to do that weren’t involved with being in a rock band and how to just kind of expand the whole thing… JacquesTati’s name was brought up and we just kind of laughed it off. Anyway, he approached Jacques Tati and somehow got him to come meet us. Jacques Tati didn’t know anything about Sparks because he was 67 years old and doesn’t listen to rock music.”
Ron Mael: “We were to be in Tati’s film Confusion, a story of two American TV studio employees brought to a rural French TV company to help them out with some American technical expertise and input into how TV really is done. Unfortunately due to Tati’s declining health and ultimate death, the film didn’t get met.”
Confusion was to be a “visionary project” in which Tati offered a critique of the encroaching globalization of the world through advertising and television. It was planned as a follow-up to his masterpiece Playtime that dealt with the damaging alienation caused by modern corporate life. Tati had even decided on a shock opening to his new feature. In the first reel, his famous comic alter-ego, Monsieur Hulot would be killed off, in a mix-up with a real and prop gun.
The film had Hulot working in a rural TV station and his death leads to the arrival of two young American TV execs (Ron and Russell), who have plans to modernize the TV station.
What should have been one of the greatest pop-comedy films ever made, sadly never happened after Tati went bankrupt and his declining health put the project on hold. However, Sparks did write a song for the film, Confusion, which appeared on their Big Beat album. Instead of starring roles, the brothers made a cameo appearance in the 1977 blockbuster Rollercoaster. Plans to film Confusion lingered on for a few years, until Tati’s death in 1982 brought the project to a close.
Bonus clips of Sparks, plus their demo ‘Landlady, Landlady, Turn-up the Heat’ after the jump…