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Movie Review: 2000 NYUFF: Day 7, Part 3: Short Films

Who Needs Hollywood?, directed by Nina Rota, is a documentary about pioneer videomaker John Door who is considered to be the first person to make a feature-length video “movie”. His first film was made back in 1979 with a surveillance camera and a Betamax deck which had been only recently introduced into the marketplace.

John went on to make a few more features, but he was more largely known for a videomakers’ co-op he founded in Los Angeles called EZTV. EZTV held regular video screenings and loaned time and equipment to videographers for free. Unfortunately, John died in 1993 from AIDS. He seemed like a really cool, nice guy.

The final film of “Cheap Is Beautiful” was a cross between John Waters and Ed Wood, and was reminiscent of the underground classic Sins of the Fleshapoids.

Surface 2043, directed by Meg Hanna, is about three ungrateful children (a boy, a girl and a mutant) all vying for their father’s love in the distant future of 2043. Winning his love is important because only one of them can become the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Deliberately badly dubbing the film with outrageous foreign accents was a stroke of pure genius and made Surface all that much more fun. An ambitious flick in all its campy splendor.

I am so friggin’ beat, but I don’t want to give short shrift to any of the films. My hand’s even starting to cramp up. I wonder if I had a laptop that would have made this whole thing so less masochistic. Or would I just end up with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Anyway, I charge along…

My final group of films, “The Look of Wow”, were all vastly entertaining but a bit more subdued than most anything I’ve seen. It was nice to end all this on a quiet note.

Do Not Ruin Your Credit, directed by Paul Kell and Faisal Lutchmedial, was a visually and audibly distorted video of a pair of televangelists talking insanely about money and Jesus like those kind of people do. I thought the sound was distorted a little too much. It might have been more entertaining to have actually understood most of what these lunatics were saying instead of just little snippets.

Muckafurgason: Dreaming on a Cloud, directed by Vernon Chatman, was a hilarious true-life story of three dorky white kids getting a chance to perform on Amateur Night at The Apollo theater. Muckafurgason, the name of the band, act like wiseasses backstage, get ripped apart by host Steve Harvey and ultimately get booed off the stage for their crappy performance. However, I’d go see them live. They were fun.

Lee Hazlewood was a songwriter and record producer who worked with Nancy Sinatra in the ’60s. He also worked on a documentary about him and Nancy backstage at their Las Vegas show back when “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'” was a big hit. Lee Hazlewood in New York, directed by Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky, is a reminiscence about the making of that film. Seemed like Lee had one brief moment in the sun and is still trying to make something out of it. (Watch this underground movie)

A better reminiscence was The Brady Brunch, a short interview with Robbie Rist who played Cousin Oliver on the last six episodes of The Brady Brunch. He seems like a good guy with a great sense of humor about his fame. Now, he plays guitar in a couple punk bands and has an Internet company. What made this film great though was a montage of Cousin Oliver scenes accompanied by Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”. The film was directed by Brendan Conway.

Not only was Duty Nickles a short film, but it was comprised of three short films by Richard Morbid whose name sounds awfully familiar to me but I can’t place it for the life of me. One story had a superball getting life imprisonment, another was about a drunken slut and her bastard son and the final piece was a touching tale of necrophilia narrated by Joey Ramone. Deborah Harry narrated the superball story. Nickles was like a cheap punk version of Creepshow.

Sometimes I really have to admire people’s ambitions whether its Chris Wilcha’s Columbia House tirade, Reed Paget’s journey around the world or a couple of teenagers stalking Bob Dylan.

Obsessed with the groundbreaking documentary about Dylan, Don’t Look Back by DA Pennebaker, film students Randy Bell and Justin Rice visit NYC to hunt Dylan down and visit his old haunts. While they do get to interview Pennebaker and talk to Jesse Dylan, Bob’s son, on the phone they never get to meet their idol. The closest they get is sneaking a 16mm camera into a Dylan concert. Bell and Rice are a tenacious duo, though, and their reflective Look Back, Don’t Look Back was a charming, easygoing flick.

A nice quiet end to my massive movie marathon at the 2000 New York Underground Film Festival.

Go back to 2000 NYUFF: Day 7, Part 2: Short Films


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