Monday, March 21, 2011

Rescue Me, Ebert, Porky's II.

Rescue Me: There is an episode, in the fourth season that is extremely difficult to watch. I'm not talking Janet (although I will not watch her anymore; that bit with her and the baby sent me over the edge) or any of the booze, cheatings, or beatings. It's titled SEVEN, and during the opening scene before the credits, 62 is called to an apartment fire where a woman and seven children are trapped. It's a little unlike any of the other fire scenes in that it's pretty majorly stylized (music playing the entire time, dialogues muted, a few slow shots, etc.) but despite this, it's almost unbearable. Many of the children are toddlers. Tommy and the new probie go up the ladder; Ken, Franco, and Garrity go inside the building. You know from the very beginning (that song!) that things are not going to go well.

This is the best example (after LOST) of the power of episodic television. It doesn't take long for characters to become real; you know them, you care about them, and most of all, you believe them. The scene in the apartment is terrifying because you're scared for the firefighters (even Garrity, who's a giant DOLT, but was the first one in---I was worried!), you're scared for the people inside, and a part of you is scared for yourself, because you know shit like this really happens. Space heaters, overrun outlets, wiring, all of it, it's real. The floor caves in. The mother throws her children out the window. Tommy nearly falls off the ladder. Seven tiny bodies, covered in blankets on the sidewalk. The looks on each of their faces . . . Jesus. It's heavy.

On a brighter note: I read YOUR MOVIE SUCKS by Roger Ebert this weekend. I really wish I could have found it when I was doing my worst films ever list because it was really useful and actually quite funny. I think my favorite thing about it was his scowl on the front cover, but the writing is very, very good too. I like Ebert a lot because he's a not only a great critic but a great writer; his sarcasm and media references are *hilarious* and extremely smart. Here are some:

"The film is set in a rainy jungle in Panama. I suspect it rains so much as an irritant, to make everything harder to see and hear. Maybe it's intended as atmosphere. Or maybe the sky gods are angry at the film." ---review of Basic.

"Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad, it's unpleasant in a hostile way." ---review of Battlefield Earth


"The film has been directed without grace, vision, or originality, and although you may walk out quoting lines of dialogue, it will not be because you admire them." ---review of Pearl Harbor


I loved this book. I've got two more on deck of his and seriously can't wait. And finally, I don't think I've had more fun reading someone else's review than his on Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood. Obviously, we agreed.

("dead as a #$*&*&@ doornail")
Last of all: Porky's Two, The Next Day, 1983, directed by Bob Clark. 
written by Roger Swaybill, Alan Ormsby, and Bob Clark
starring: Wyatt Knight, Dan Monahan, Khaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons.

"The naughty high schoolers of Angel Beach High now seek revenge on a group of KKK religious fanatics and corrupt politicians who want to shut down their Shakespeare production after they cast a Seminole transfer student in the lead." (IMDB).

This is probably the most ridiculously random and outlandish film that still manages to actually be funny. I think the original Porky's was a little tighter and better written, to be honest, but like I was saying up there about the episodic business, if I like a character, I'd probably watch them in anything, and Tommy, Pee-Wee, Meat, and Ballbreaker are great characters. Not exactly realistic, but interesting and very comical. The situations are ridiculous:

1. "I GOT LAID!" Pee-wee screams out upon waking; he gets to retire his "growth chart."
2. Tray of masturbating frogs.
3. Big Edna, Graveyard Gloria.
4. The Explanation Scene of Wendy's reputation.
5. The Shakespeare/The KKK/The Seminoles/The Righteous Flock/Commissioner Gebhart---these things are interesting, I guess but not as interesting as the characters just being ridiculous, themselves. Like the bit with Ballbreaker in the toilet with the snake ("Give you the snake? Get your own fuckin' snake, GIVE YOU THE SNAKE!") The film is good at shanannigans but a little out of its element with The Klan, politics, and religion. Although the scene in the gym where The Seminoles deliver a little (off-camera) payback to The Klan? That was sweet.


It's not stellar comedy, but as part of the entire package, Porky's, Porky's Two, and Porky's Revenge, it's something every eighties child will probably hold sacred.

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