Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mighty Good

The good thing about getting in on something late--like, say, a television program long after the final show has aired--is you get to borrow the DVD box-set and watch every single episode right away! No weekly wait for the next show, no months (or in the case of, say, The Sopranos, YEEEEEARS) between seasons. But then... it's over. Over forever. A weekend swollen with joy is deflated like a woman in stilettos stomping all around your bouncy castle. It is an outrage. 

I was recently introduced to The Mighty Boosh, a British comedy show that is really unlike anything else. I was excited when Mark brought it home, because I thought Matt Berry was in it, then I lost interest when I thought Matt Berry wasn't in it, and then discovered that Matt Berry is, in fact, in it! Whew! But what I found was Matt Berry is only a teeny tiny part of what makes this show so amazing. The two main blokes behind The Boosh, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, are SO funny their hilarity cannot be contained by their characters Vince Noir and Howard TJ Moon. No, it busts out all over the place as they appear as a menagerie* of minor characters, from a pink, octopus-like shaman to the Crack Fox, who lives in garbage and has syringes for fingers. I can't think of another show outside of sketch comedy that allows its actors to reappear in minor roles. It works brilliantly and demonstrates their talent without seeming too cocky. 

The thing is, I can't quite figure out who is watching it. It's been described as a cult favorite, it's won awards in the UK and they've gone on tours in Europe and in the US. It seems very well-known in England, what with the accolades and Fielding appearing in the tabloids and whatnot, but it's the US I can't figure out. If they can support a tour over here, and there's enough of a market for a box set release, they must be popular. So, why haven't I heard of it until now? Have I not been paying attention? Why, if people here are familiar with The Mighty Boosh, are they not forcing it upon every single person they meet? Don't you want to share the laughter? The brilliance? Don't you want to crimp with your friends? WELL, DON'T YOU? 

If you are not already a fan, get your hands on the DVDs. I get at least one big laugh out of every episode, usually a lot more. And once you've gorged yourself on all three seasons, and you're crying big, glittery tears because you want more but you can't have anymore, take heart! There is a movie in the works! And, to keep you from getting the shakes until then, you can download the original radio show on iTunes! 

*This is a good joke because they are zoo keepers. 

(Note: I realize I skimped on actual plot information and the like, but I just want you to be surprised by everything!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Well, it's Halloween time, and maybe you are looking for something scary to watch, something you haven't seen on AMC 6 thousand times with the bloody bits cut out and the foul words dubbed with phrases that sound similar but don't make any sense. Yes, we all love Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street  and Leprechaun 4: Lep In Space. But how about something new? Something a little more cerebral? A slow burn that is more disturbing than Warwick Davis popping out of that spaceman's wiener? 

"The Vanishing," George Sluzer. 1988.

Obviously, I'm recommending an European film. (I'm going to pretend it was never remade into a flick starring Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock with an idiotic American happy ending tacked on.) I don't think I'm spoiling anything by telling you Sluzer's movie is not nice. Rex and Saskia are in love, even though Rex is kind of a dick. They're on holiday in the countryside and stop at a gas station for a pee and a snack. Rex waits in the car for Saskia to come back. And he waits and he waits and he waits. But she doesn't come back. She's gone. 

What makes this film so interesting is the time it spends with the bad guy. It's never a question of "Who did it?"--we see the abductor early on. We watch his failed attempts to lure other young women into his car, watch him calculate how long his drugged victim will stay unconscious, watch him dote on his young daughters. This isn't the sort of pornographic, peering over the shoulder of a maniac as he fillets school girls and burns animals sort of examination of a killer. It is quiet and methodical, just like our bad guy, Mr. Lemorne. 

So you know something terrible happened to Saskia. Rex does, too. But what? Rex's obsession with finding out the truth eventually leads to a meeting with Mr. Lemorne, who promises to reveal Saskia's fate... But only by enacting it on Rex himself. 

This is a movie that sticks with you, folks. I felt weird and frightened and upset for about a week after watching it. Every time I tried to fall asleep, I would think "Holy shit. What would I do? Maybe I should stop being nice to strangers. Maybe I should carry a switchblade." 

Anyway, rent it if you want to feel that desperate tightening in your chest that won't go away for at least three days. That's all we ask for from movies, yes? 

As I haven't written a review in a very long time and I am tired, I am going to end with this picture, which is what comes up when you search for images of the film's Dutch title, "Spoorloos." 

Goodnight, and don't talk to strangers!