Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ad Mat Massacre 2

I remember having a very strange discussion that got close to a serious argument about this film.
I was nineteen at the time. My first wife, who was somewhat older than me, was upset that I wanted to see Goodbye Cruel World instead of visiting a work colleague of hers.

"I have no interest in seeing that crap!" she said.

"That's fine, I'll see it on my own."

She picked up the newspaper and took a close look at the ad mat. "You can't be serious about wanting to see this."

"I'm dead serious."

"I don't get it. You'd rather see a film about a guy living in a toilet than spend the afternoon with me."

"You're welcome to join me," I smiled.

She looked at the ad mat again. "No, there are a million things I'd rather do than watch that crap."

"That's fine."

Although I loved the arm disappearing into the toilet bowl, I was equally drawn to the copy in the top left corner of the ad. It announced that Chuck Mitchell ('Porky' from Porky's) was bigger (aka fatter aka chubbier aka grosser aka more hideously monstrous) in this film than "ever". Than "ever"??? Fuck, I had to see this!!!

Well, I did see the film at the Showcase Sterling Heights, and, unfortunately, it wasn't about a bloke living in a toilet -- or a mermaid in a manhole, either. It was a pile of crap. The ex- had the film figured way before I did.

I'd also dispute the claim that Chuck Mitchell was "bigger than ever" in Goodbye Cruel World. He most certainly was not. I'll never forgive cinema for that betrayal.

This was just a damn odd movie that I went to see because it existed and I hadn't seen it. I wanted to leave about ten minutes in, but I stayed because I'm under the ridiculous delusion that I'll be awarded a prize one day for watching films like this.

The good old days when films were rated "X" (Bullitt)  and 'AO" (Bonnie and Clyde).

Nice to see the Dunwich alongside Easy Rider, and within the same general frame as the impressive Anthony Quinn-starrer A Dream of Kings. That film has finally been released on DVD by Warner Archives.

I appeared recently in a documentary by filmmaker Michael Smith in which I took his camera on a tour of Melbourne's now extinct cinemas. The Roma, for example, has become a shoe store; the cinema's original structure is still there, though. You used to walk down steep steps to get to the tiny little box office. The steps now lead to shoe displays. The Century, on busy Swanston St., is now a shady nightclub (aren't they all?).

Only the Rivoli Twin and Balwyn cinemas still exist. Both have at least doubled their screen capacity.

I saw Paperhouse at the AMC Century 14 (in Century City) and loved it. It's a prime example of an adult fairytale, and the type of film that audiences rarely support.  Neither do distributors or exhibitors, it seems. The film played at one cinema only. I like Bernard Rose's films.

Jack Abramoff, the subject of the must-see doco Casino Jack and the United States of Money, produced a couple of feature films with his dubiously acquired cash. Joseph (The Prowler, Invasion USA) Zito's Red Scorpion was one of these features. As you can see, Abramoff's name -- and his brother's name -- are all over the credit block.

The production, filmed in South Africa, was a troubled one. It had a helluva hard time getting a US release because of South Africa's apartheid policies at the time.  It was distributed by James (The Exterminator) Glickenhaus's Shapiro-Glickenhaus organization.

Today, Glickenhaus is a Wall St. bigshot, and Abramoff, still in jail, will be released shortly.

Abramoff was also the subject of the excellent Kevin Spacey film Casino Jack.

I couldn't quite acquire a taste for this filmed play directed and written by David Hare.

Some great dialog, though, and a potent performance by director Mike Nichols.

Saw it at the Angelika while working in New York at the time.

Another interesting release from George Harrison's Handmade Films, and another -- like How To Get Ahead in Advertising -- that nobody went to see.

The film, structured as a road trip, focuses on the plight of Native Americans and applies a great deal of humor to its thesis.

I saw it at the AMC Century 14 on a Saturday afternoon and was alone.

Apparently, it was a passion project for George Harrison, and it's well worth tracking down.


  1. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 18, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    I used to love the old AA certificate, i used to go to see AA films specifically to see those 2 beautiful angular A`s" on the screen just before the film started, do you remember: this film has been passed AA (or Double A as i used to coolly call it). Quite often it was the best part of my night at the cinema, in fact sometimes i would go just to see the 2 A`s on the screen at the beginning and then walk out (literally i`m not kiddin`) because i knew the best was over. I even had this fantasy about marrying the AA certicate because i loved it so much.

  2. Paperhouse! I loved that film! We showed it to very small audiences at the art house in Michigan where I worked in the '80s. I had forgotten all about this little dream of a movie- I just added it to my Amazon list.

  3. WRT GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD, I recently procured a copy on eBay for like a dollar because of a review in DESTROY ALL MOVIES (the guide to punks on film). I couldn't even get through the fucking thing, although I really wanted to love it solely based on the cover art. Ah well. Kudos to your ex for figuring this out years ago :)

    Excellent and awesome post, as usual.

  4. Jenn -- a shame I didn't mention this before you ordered the tape. Then again, you probably had to see it for yourself. I would have done the same thing. Stubborn!

    I love the DESTROY ALL MOVIES book. I was surprised to find my film MARAUDERS reviewed -- and quite favorably. I found out about the book because someone alerted me to the review. They cover so many great movies. I just read the DUDES review. Love that film.

  5. jbh -- marrying it? Not buggering it?

  6. Anonymous -- An art house in Michigan? Would that have been the Maple? I liked the Maple very much and visited there often. PAPERHOUSE is not currently available on DVD in the US. It is available on Region 2 (UK) and 4 (Australia). Was released in US on VHS, though, so there might be some still floating around. It is a fabulous film.

  7. Yes, it was the Maple. And no worries about the Paperhouse DVD- I have a multi region. (Bien sur!)

  8. Anon -- Oh, you have a multi-region? Good for Europe, Australia, Scandinavia and neighbors, yes?

  9. Yes! Good for all those places. We hacked a player to play other regions.

  10. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 19, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    No, its strange, i think my obsession with the AA certificate must`ve revolved exclusively around love, not lust. Its odd that i never had the same feelings about the 15 certificate that replaced it in `81.

  11. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    I know Jenn is in her early 30`s now but shes still a right gorgeous little darlin`, she must`ve been an incredible little stunner when she was 18.

  12. That arm fluxhing itself down the shitter would've suckered me in as well. Shame that it blew you still probably chose the lesser evil.

  13. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 20, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Phantom, heres a scary thought, when Julia Breck guest starred in that episode of "On The Buses" in 1970 she was 29 years old and already a full 11 years past the absolute pinnacle and peak of her physical attractiveness and desirability, thats bloody scary. If i could`ve buggered her and tit-fucked her in 1959 when she was 18 i think it would have been like winning 10 lotterys on the same day.

  14. jervaise brooke hamsterJanuary 20, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    In CineFantastique Kyle Counts unbelievably gave Return Of The Jedi and Robocop the one dot (mediocre) rating so what the hell does he know.

  15. Lovely stuff Phantom, as usual. Thank you. 'Pow Wow Highway' sounds amazing. Gary Farmer; yes. You were alone? A sad indictment...oh hell; if people don't want to see these gems, can't force them. And yet they swarm in their droves to see the latest Ashton Kutcher abortion. It beggars belief. Thank you, though, for keeping the dreams alive...

  16. d -- I believe I chose the lesser evil.


    jbh -- Yes, lotteries can be underrated.


    Mandingo -- POWWOW was a revelation, Farmer's work exemplary. Very much alone in that tiny theater. Not an Ashton Kutcher fan in site. No sign of his dad, Bruce Willis, either (that quip borrowed from Ricky Jervais).

  17. Check out, The Fast Runner, if you haven't already.