Friday, August 31, 2007
I got a $12 haircut yesterday and it looks like $10. That's the last time I go bargain hunting for a haircut at a barber shop from a mute, brute dame in a muscle shirt. Hey, Barber Lady, you know how I told you I would call you when I needed to set up my next appointment? Well guess what: I lied.
Posted by Todd at 1:22 PM
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The boys over at Better Chatter are dedicating this week to pay tribute to the high art and crude humor created by Blaxploitation cinema. On Tuesday, Josh took it upon himself to bring the picture Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son-in-Law back into my awareness. This movie, without a doubt, is one of the crowning achievements of the American film industry. Petey Wheatstraw had it all: poorly choreographed kung fu action, devils in red jogging suits, a deliciously funky soundtrack, easily misconstrued social commentary, rows of buxom ebony bombshells waiting in assembly line formation for the pleasure of the infallible and portly Rudy Ray Moore, and above all else, watermelon gags. This is the plow and field of an American teenager's fertile imagination.
For a small taste here's the opening segment, from Petey's miraculous birth to his coming of age as a disciplined kung fu avenger. Careful viewers will note that this segment features one watermelon for every three minutes of action. It all makes very little sense from the outset, but the thrill is undeniable:
And here we have a clip from the following scene. Now you may notice that this scene appears to have absolutley nothing to do with the preceding nine minutes of the film, but these apparent incongruencies are only further evidence of Dolemite's directorial joie de vivre. And yes, these are exactly the sort of ass and titty jokes that the juvenile mind thrives on. Mr. Moore, you were far too ahead of your time:
And, why the hell not, a fight scene with demons. The look on Rudy's face as they enter is priceless:
I would be selling this film short if I said that it was only its "kitsch" value that gave Petey Wheatstraw its appeal, as if it was merely some gimmicky cultural artefact that I could appreciate from my suburban perspective. No, dear friends, the enjoyment I received from this movie was very real. Pure, unadulterated enjoyment. The kind of enjoyment you can only get from watching a mustachioed man in green Fruit of the Looms kicking some demon ass because said demons were interrupting his private moments with a scantily clad lover. Sure, there are elements working against this film, it was created outside the Hollywood mainstream without the benefit of experienced studio hands or the budget for acting lessons, but it's precisely because of the way it overcomes these limitations with its spontaneity, gusto, and creativity that makes this a classic. You might even say that Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son-in-Law is a triumph of the American dream. Or not, whatever. Your call.
But I could really go for a slice of watermelon right about now.
Posted by Todd at 3:24 PM
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I went to a house party this weekend. Weird, I know. But hold onto your saddle, Tonto, because it gets weirder. For instance:
1. Dress code - the hosts of this party insisted that the gentlemen in attendance don white apparel. Now, not being a Panamanian diplomat by profession, I am severely limited in my options in white garb. Looking through my still unpacked wardrobe, I found that my options basically consisted of ratty white undershirts, which might work if I had a physique like Brando, or a white button-downed collar shirt, which, when "dressed down" with some casual jeans and sneakers, gives one the unmistakable air of a Jerry Seinfeld clone or a frat boy during rush season. Knowing me, it's no secret that I fell under the former category. Women, in case you were wondering, were expected to wear navy.
2. Age - at only 25, I was easily one of the oldest guests in attendance. It occurred to me that when I lived in Cincinnati, most everyone I would acquaint myself with were either in their late 20s or early 30s, and I felt comfortable in that age range. I shared similar interests with this demographic: early '90s Brit rock, not staying out too late on weeknights, managing pre-tax contributions to your 401(k), vague concerns over the health of one's prostate, Sam Waterston, local news, etc. The crowd at this party was almost exclusively fresh out of college, filled with nubile ideals of changing the world and fully-stocked liquor cabinets. "I remember when I was that age," I remember thinking. Then I thought, "Man, I am not old enough to be starting my thoughts like that."
3. Music - Sublime. Really? Still? C'mon, you're just kidding, right? No, you're not? Sorry, I'm just an asshole. Here I am just harping on the one negative in a sea of Kanye. But to be fair, I missed most of the music as I spent a large part of the night outside near the beer pong table.
Final thoughts: it wasn't half bad. Nice people, nice place. Yeah, I might do it again.
As long as it's on a weekend.
Posted by Todd at 12:16 PM