It’s daunting how predictable we’ve become when it comes to discourse about race relations and politics. In response to 2014’s “Dear White People” becoming a series, an angry user on Twitter asked “Why is there no “Dear Black People”?” In the very first scenes of the movie, while Samantha White is recording her college radio show “Dear White People,” character Kurt calls in asking “Where is there no “Dear Black People”?” Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” plays with perceptions of events, and ideas of chaos, by toying with our frustration with the normality of racial incidents, and stages a racial war that unfolds within the seemingly monotonous underbelly of Winchester College.
BOOTLEG FILES 586: “Another Nice Mess” (1972 comedy film starring Rich Little).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Even the film’s producers admitted it stank.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
Humorist Leo Rosten once commented, “Satire is focused bitterness.” It is hard to find a more accurate description of satire – and in view of today’s surplus of Alt-Left comedians going out of their way to denigrate the president and his family, the level of bitterness has become hopelessly poisoned.
I think there was even some doubt by Joel Hodgson and company on whether or not fans wanted a reboot of MST3K. Sure, the merchandise sells well, but most reboots of nineties properties have either stunk or just failed to deliver, period. Plus it’s not like the show was around for a short time like “Firefly” or “Freaks and Geeks.” It was on ten years and even earned a movie of its own. Surprisingly enough fans proved that the show is just as special to them as it is to Joel Hodgson and his crew of brilliant creators that gave us the original series. Like all the other fans, “MST3K” has a very special place in my heart and I have such a deep bond with its characters and love for its formula. So naturally I was frightened the reboot would be stale.
Technology has become such a humongous part of our everyday lives it’s now become a tool that we take for granted, and use without caution. It’s embedded in everything we do now, and because of that, we’re prone to broadcasting how stupid and absurd we can be to the outside world. Peter Huang’s short anthology entitled “5 Films About Technology” is a laugh out loud funny and realistic look at how five groups of people all end up committing some kind of ridiculous act with their own technology thanks to stupidity or circumstance.
Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz’s “Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.” is that kind of zany superhero spoof that, with some watering down, probably could have been a Warner Bros. cartoon in the nineties. After having such immense success with Toxie, Troma makes a second grab for cult fame, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle once again. Thankfully, not only is Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. one of Troma’s most iconic and popular characters who stands proudly beside Toxie, but his movie is good to boot. “Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.” is filled with the typical Troma tropes that make it such a blast. The acting is iffy, the violence is gruesome, the humor is off the wall and original, and the pacing is break neck.
I would be lying if I said that “Troma’s War” is one of the best efforts from Troma. While it tries very hard to elicit some kind of political satire and tackle the idea of exploitation movies, it’s kind of a missed effort. Truth be told, “Troma’s War” is more of a chore to sit through than anything. It’s creative and a neat addition to a collection if you love Troma, but overall, it’s a loud, head ache inducing attempt at an action movie that can never quite put a finger on what it wants to be. It’s a disaster movie, a war movie, an action movie, an “Airplane!” style spoof, and then a political satire. It tries to roll all of these genre elements in to one frantic ball, but stumbles left and right with its intentions.
The populace is obsessed with sports that thrive on violence and uniformity. The rich are generally oblivious to the outside world. Sports are corporate funded obsession based around putting its competitors to their limit. Civilization finds the obsession with celebrities more interesting than actual world issues, and the media manipulates the public through culture of competition. That is the stunningly familiar dystopian future presented in “Rollerball,” the future of 2018. Director Norman Jewison’s science fiction action film has a lot to say about the wide gap of social and class structures. As well it presents a grim glimpse at a corporate empire that results in a world much like today, where the media and culture is dominated by a single entity.
Beneath Paul Michael Glaser’s action film where Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on gimmicky athletes and ends every bout with a silly catchphrase, beats a movie that is quick as a whip and horrifyingly prophetic. Based on the Stephen King novel, “The Running Man” is simultaneously a vehicle for Schwarzenegger that also sneaks in a lot of commentary about society that would oddly enough come to completely fruiting by the mid to late aughts. “The Running Man” is based around a very popular and deadly reality show, steeped in a world where people risk their lives for cash and vacations for entertainment, and it’s all run by a mad man running a corporation. You can pretty much point that arrow to any one of the men running the world today.