Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Review: Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll (2018 Short)

March 20, 2020

Image Copyright: Parousian Pictures

This is going to be an unorthodox review, and I say that with joy — generally speaking I wouldn’t dedicate the first two paragraphs to discussing what the creator of a film means to me personally, but in this moment it seems important. Angel Connell is a filmmaker focused on short films — and when I say filmmaker I mean he writes, directs, produces, and acts in his films. That level of passion commands respect, and speaking honestly Connell was my first big break, reaching out to me in 2011 to review his short film Beneath the Veneer of a Murder when my blog at the time — Picture This! Reviews — had maybe 100 views. The success and legitimacy I felt when I received that DVD screener in the mail is unforgettable. And it led to a wild ride for about a year.

With the exception of a random movie review here or there, I’ve been out of the movie reviews game for around eight years. One of the reasons I stopped reviewing films initially was because Connell had sent me work from a friend of his to review, I accepted it and just couldn’t produce the words for it. I was ashamed of myself, I was young and didn’t realize that letting people down wasn’t the end of the world, but I didn’t even apologize, I just went dark. I say all of that because second chances don’t happen all that often, and this man is extending an olive branch to me during the COVID-19 outbreak after going years without communication. If I mean what I say in my respect and appreciation for Angel Connell, there’s no way I’m not publishing this review. So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll, a short political comedy created by and starring Connell himself.

As the story goes, an indie filmmaker crowdfunding his next movie has a fundraising perk that a lot of people are very interested in stealing by any means necessary: A Donald Trump fetish doll with scary sharp teeth! It’s a simple and silly yet complete story, and I think if I add even one more word about the story itself I’d be giving too much away. We’ve gotta have standards for spoilers on this site!

Angel Connell and his co-star. Photo Credit: Chris Esper

Short films are incredibly tricky to make because you have a very limited amount of time to tell a story, and you have to be able to do a lot with a little. For example, during the intro of Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll, Connell narrates as his character reacts to his own thoughts. In other words, the detailed facial expressions he is able to make to set the film up as a comedy for everyone (as opposed to a partisan few) couldn’t happen if his character was physically talking. It’s an effective way of communicating multiple concepts at one time, which is especially important for short films. These are the sorts of decisions short filmmakers have to make in order to maximize time, and I don’t think there is any time wasted here.

Politically-themed films can be risky to one’s brand, and I’ll say politically Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll is not my thing, but it doesn’t have to be to be in order to be funny. I’m a self-identified socialist, yet I found myself laughing or chuckling most of the way through because Connell put in the work that made it easy to laugh. We’re allowed to have differences of opinion, but we’re also allowed to laugh with each other, especially during bleaker times when it’s easy to judge and blame people. And frankly the political points that Connell does make with this film do deserve discussion, though it’s important to note it is a comedy first.

If you get the chance to support Angel Connell on his journey, spend nine minutes laughing at something you may or may not agree with, just because it’s funny. That’s what we need right now, and that’s what Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll offers. The film is currently making its way through the film festival circuit, and I sincerely wish it the best.

Movie Review: Stripperland (2011)

September 20, 2012

The onslaught of bad movies continues! Although I admit, I brought this one on myself; my line of thinking was: Strippers, zombies, blood, awesome! Zombieland is one of only five movies* which I’ve outright purchased (i.e. not rented) from iTunes. Despite the sexism, I find Doghouse hilarious — and yes, I did get a kick out of Zombie Strippers. So I’d be foolish to assume that Stripperland wouldn’t be a whole lot of B-movie fun, right?

Right?

Guys?

There’s no reason to not be blunt here. Stripperland has no reason to exist. Written by Brad McCray, Tyler Benjamin, Shawn Justice, and Sean Skelding (whom also directed), Stripperland follows four survivors of the zombie apocalypse and their journey to the Oregon coast. The interesting thing about this zombie apocalypse is that the virus which caused it only affects women — and instead of turning into standard-issue zombies, the infected women become flesh eating strippers!

The uninteresting thing about Stripperland, however, is that you’ve already seen this movie scene-by-scene if you’ve watched Zombieland and Doghouse. This just might be the most unoriginal movie since The Hangover Part II or even the remake of The Omen. Between you and I, that isn’t an easy feat.

Honestly, Stripperland is wholesale theft. The aforementioned cast of four survivors is made up of Idaho (Ben Sheppard), Frisco (Jamison Challeen), Virginia (Maren McGuire), and West (Ileana Herrin), and they match the Zombieland characters down to the cowboy’s pastry love and the geek having a rule book. The theft from Doghouse is the whole idea of only women being infected by the virus, and even some character lines. I almost feel that the studio behind Stripperland should face a copyright lawsuit.

Okay, this is fucked up! You group all strippers together, and then you group all women together. You’re treating both groups like objects. And since strippers are women too, you’re double-objecting them!

Virginia

Are there arguably entertaining moments? Sure. That quote above is probably one of the better ones. Daniel Baldwin and Linnea Quigley are given cameos — which are great — but their five minutes can’t save this movie by any measure, and their appearance screams of them being low on cash. Otherwise Stripperland is an unfunny, unoriginal, and shockingly misogynistic movie.

I honestly feel horrible for the women who participated in this movie. The basic idea is that women are only good for sex and that the world would be better if they were all strippers. It’s so absurd that I want to believe this movie is satirical, but I didn’t get that sense at all. If satire was indeed the filmmakers’ intents, they are horrible filmmakers. They are indeed horrible filmmakers, however I’d wager that they also aren’t very bright people and that they believe in their message. I hope I’m wrong though, because people like that are toxic to progress and the less there are, the better.

So, is Stripperland worth your time? Do you even have to ask? NO! Zombieland and Doghouse (although also somewhat sexist, which also happens to be on Netflix USA as of this writing [hint hint]) are much funnier, much gorier, much more original, and much more worth your time.

While Stripperland is available on Netflix USA as of this writing, your watching it is highly not advisable. Take my word for it. Heck, even Zombie Strippers, as genuinely bad as it is, is a whole lot of fun, so of you want to see zombies pole dance, you should pick that one up.

*The other four iTunes movie purchases (again, different from rentals) are 10 Things I Hate About You, Jennifer’s Body, Heartless, and Pieces of April.

Review: Stocking Stuffers

February 18, 2012

Last year I reviewed Beneath The Veneer Of A Murder (here), an experimental short film by Angel Connell that tests the audience’s perceptive abilities. This year I have the privilege of reviewing its predecessor, Stocking Stuffers, and here are my thoughts.

As with Beneath The Veneer Of A Murder, Stocking Stuffers opens up resembling a better-then-average porn flick. However unlike Veneer, Stocking Stuffers exploits a certain fetish and, interestingly enough, lingerie ads. With an introduction that defines cheese and a series of faux advertisements, Connell succeeds in expressing the absurdities that he wants to.

The cast is fantastic, with Christy Cashman starring as “The Woman” and Eric Scheiner as “The Man”. The two display chemistry on screen, and that they’re having fun in their respective roles is no secret. Enthusiasm from the cast is one of the most important things a film needs to be entertaining, which is one of the reasons Stocking Stuffers works.

What makes short films tough to review is that there isn’t much content to write about. Stocking Stuffers amounts to roughly one eleventh of the duration of a ninety minute flick; there isn’t a whole lot to go off of. Connell told me a while ago that not many people are open to reviewing shorts, and I’d wager that this is one reason why.

(I want to write more than 250 words, I really do. But I can’t without describing too much.)

Nevertheless, Stocking Stuffers is fun. If you’re lucky enough to run across it, be sure to check it out.

LINKS:
Stocking Stuffers on IMDb
Angel Connell’s Website w/ Contact Info

Short Review: Brain Dead (2007)

July 5, 2011

I don’t even know where to begin. Films are often so bad that they’re amusing, but rarely so bad as to be good. For much of Brain Dead, I strongly considered switching films for its entire duration, because it is that terrible. But this film is so terrible that it shoots the moon, and I was in awe at how entertaining it is. Brain Dead is the textbook example of “so bad it’s good”, and here are my thoughts.

This is no accident. No sir. There is every type of human deprevity and degredation in this room tonight. Atheists, fornicators, murderers–

–Lesbians.

As the story goes, two convicts (Joshua Benton & David Crane) take refuge in an abandoned cabin after escaping police custody. Out of pure coincidence, two hikers (Sarah Grant Brendecke & Michelle Tomlinson) join them… Followed by a reverand (Andy Forrest) & the girl God sent to relieve him of his throbbing (Cristina Tiberia). But that’s not all. As luck would have it, a sludge-like parasite from outer space that zombifies its victims, also manages to find its way to the (now not so) abandoned cabin. And into a girl’s vagina. Hoo boy.

Brain Dead is written terribly, is directed terribly, is acted terribly, and the special effects are done terribly. But with class, almost every woman in this film drops their top at some point, and at the most random of times. This is honestly so terrible that it’s worth a go. And as of this writing, it is available for streaming on Netflix, so if you have an account, give Brain Dead a shot.

Hat tip to writer Dale Gelineau & director Kevin Tenney for creating this glorious trainwreck.

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