The circus has pulled up stakes and rolled out of town.
I have just returned from dropping Official FTM Songsmith Erich Asperschlager at the airport for his trip home from F This Movie Fest. I’m writing this on Monday, and I think that all of who participated this past weekend are feeling the effects of 1) the sadness that it’s all over for another year, mixed with 2) the exhaustion one feels after spending 14+ hours in a dark basement without even a big sack of harvested mushrooms to show for the effort. This year’s fest was a big success: we collectively logged more than 9,000 tweets, with movie lovers joining us from all over the globe. We trended nationwide until the Bernie Sanders rally started in Chicago.
In an effort to get back to normal (whatever that is) and do something productive today, here are some random thoughts in the wake of the Fest.
The Breakfast Club—and his Clarence Beeks is no exception. He is grim, rude, aggressive, and violent. At one point he tells Al Franken’s clueless baggage handler, “Back off! I'll rip out your eyes and piss on your brain.” Strong words for 1983. Gleeson was a great villain, but somehow, his comeuppance in Trading Places seems a little severe. On a New Year’s Eve party train headed for New York, Beeks is knocked cold, bound inside of a gorilla costume (Shades of Midsommar here) and placed in the locked cage of a very horny male gorilla. Gee! So, in the world of 1980s American Film Comedy Justice, Beeks deserved to be repeatedly anally raped by an adult male gorilla. The tag to this scene, when the cage is shown being loaded on a boat to Africa, only increases the hilarity of this character’s fate as we see Beeks one more time, looking… well, like someone who has had his keister assaulted relentlessly by a full-grown silverback.
(Note to self: HERE WE GO!)
I have read that when it is time for good friends Steve Martin and Martin Short to have their routine colonoscopies, they try to ameliorate the awkwardness and unpleasantness of the prep by making it into a kind of party. They invite their colonoscopy friends over for a night of poker, drink all that prep liquid instead of beer and cocktails, stay up all night, play cards, laugh, shit, drink more solution, laugh, play cards, shit, shit, shit, and shit. In the morning, they all go to the doctors together and have the procedure. Fun!
• In The Jerk, Martin’s character has a dog named “Shithead.” He dates a rough carnival daredevil played by Catlin Adams; in one explosive scene, a jealous Adams asks Martin if he has “forgotten about her ass,” which has his name tattooed on it.
• Planes, Trains, and Automobiles contains the famous scene where, after being forced to share a bed, Martin asks John Candy where his other hand is. Candy responds, “Between two pillows,” to which Martin explodes, “Those aren’t PILLOWS.”
I think that I am on to something here.
The single most uncomfortable movie-viewing experience I ever had was watching a VHS tape of Deliverance with two friends in a college dorm room. Everything was proceeding normally (if a little sleepily—I think we started the movie at 2 am) until the Suburban Dad Weekend Rafting Club is besieged by sociopathic hillbillies, who rape poor Ned Beatty in a scene that is famous in cinema history for its disturbing explicitness and Beatty’s total lack of vanity. This is a serious and difficult scene to watch under ideal conditions, and it certainly wasn’t any easier to take when my friend Riley (who hailed from Carbondale, which to me in 1982 was THE DEEP SOUTH) began to hoot and laugh like he was watching the funniest comedy ever made.
“Hee Hee Hee Haw Haw Haw Hee Hee Hee,” he exploded loudly.
Dear readers, if there is a lesson to be learned here, this is it: I was exhausted in the wake of F This Movie Fest, but I rallied. I wrote a column of the requisite length to compel Patrick Bromley to hand over my maintenance bag of heroin for the week. How on earth did I do it?
Why, this is the column I pulled out of my ass.