Movie Review: 2001 NYUFF: Day 1: Hey, Happy!
I’ve seen about 4 “NYC CORRECTION” buses rumbling down Manhattan avenues today. They’re school buses painted blue & white with metal gratings obscuring the windows. One just thundered down 2nd Ave while I sit outside the Anthology Film Archives. If I hadn’t already known the 2001 New York Underground Film Festival was tonight, I would by the amount of jackoffs with cell phones and cigarettes out here with me. It’s worse than being in a bar, which is where I should have gone since I’m 50 minutes early for the opening night film.
I tried to drag out my tofu-hijiki sandwich & home fries at Dojos for dinner but guess I ate too fast. Should have gone to Sanctuary for dinner. Shoulda coulda woulda mo-fo. It may be March 7th, but my butt is freezing sitting on this brick Anthology stoop. If I remember correctly, they made us wait outside last year, so I’m guessing I should keep my spot and not go in even though it’s butt ass freezing tonight.
I remember the last night of last years fest. It was sad. As though leaving the Anthology was like moving out of a beloved apartment. Little did I know at the time that since then I would adopt the Anthology almost like a second home. Well, I’m done amusing myself here. I’ll find some other way of amusing myself for the next 35 minutes.
I don’t want to spend the next week comparing everything to last year’s festival, but I gots to say this year had a better opening night, which included 2 of the most uncomfortable queer films I’ve ever sat through.
The first flick, a short, set a great tone for the festival kickin’ it off with a pulverizing disco soundtrack for Jeffrey’s Hollywood Screen Trick by Todd Downing. The film itself was made entirely using Billy© & Carlos© dolls.
If you haven’t seen Billy© dolls, they’re action figures of guys dressed in Village People-esque outfits and are made specifically for gay men. Carlos© is Ken© to Billy’s© Barbie©. Jeffrey’s takes place in a gay disco with the dolls groovin’ to the beat and Jeffrey, a non-masculine queer, falls for Carlos, who happens to be hung like a horse and is nude except for a jockstrap.
After a series of misadventures, Jeffrey convinces Carlos to go back to his place to screw. But problems arise when Carlos, who is an anatomically correct action figure, goes to enter Jeffrey, who is as flat and solid as a Ken© doll. That’s when Carlos breaks out the drill to carve Jeffrey an ass.
Next up was the opening night feature, Hey, Happy!, the title named after one of the main characters, Happy, a borderline retard who brushes his teeth with toxic waste, gets high on gasoline fumes and gets advice from aliens who talk to him through a large radio strapped across his chest. The aliens tell Happy he should sleep with the male cashier, Sabu, of an outdoor porn store. Sabu has set a goal to have sex with 2,000 men before the world ends. He’s made it through 1,999 and intends to make Happy his final conquest.
This might all sound like a conventional love story (yeah, right), but the film takes place in a near-apocalyptic Winnipeg that is on the verge of an impending massive flood. Assuming most people in the audience didn’t know where Winnipeg is (I sure don’t – beyond being in Canada that is), before the film, the director, Noam Gonick, told us that Winnipeg is the “Asshole of the Americas”, smack dab in the middle of the U.S.’s neighbor to the north.
Preventing the consummation of Sabu and Happy’s lust for one another is a vicious queen named Spanky who has the word “BITCH” tattooed across his belly. Spanky is an evil hairdresser whose only happiness comes from making others miserable. So when Sabu refuses to be Spanky’s “ass candy”, the evil hairdresser seduces the pliable Happy.
Hey, Happy! has tons of guys making out, loads of naked men, a horrifying anal rape scene and, unfortunately, a very unconvincing blow job. I say unfortunately because it’s an integral part of the plot kind of blow job and I felt it was a let down the way it was shot. Not sure how else to explain that.
Otherwise, I found Hey, Happy! a very satisfying and uncomfortable flick which has an awesome soundtrack, too. Lots of great rave/club music. It was a perfect pairing sticking this with Jeffrey’s.
Watch the Hey, Happy! movie trailer: