My Take by Jim Carl - January 25, 2012
MY TAKE is a blog about my funny life experiences that happened to involve movies, and how I found myself in charge of programming films for a living. I’ll discuss how certain movies came to be responsible for my bad attitude, memories, associations, personal beliefs, and plain stupidity. Yes, I fully intend to trash films considered sacred in certain circles, and will probably offer a poor explanation for doing so. I also intend to squander praise on movies considered awful by most everyone, even if it makes me sound ridiculous, because I have a funny memory to share about them. Again, I’m not writing reviews. All I mean to do here is tell some good stories, and perhaps a clever lie or two. No one has ever accused me of suffering a shortage of ways to make a fool of myself, and because blogging is one I haven’t tried, at least this is one most of my friends haven’t yet seen.
THE FIENDISH PLOT OF DR. FU MANCHU (1979)
I have a sense of humor. An odd one, therapists would surely tell me. How else can I describe the absurd delight I experience when watching this, Peter Sellers' final film, and the one that's almost universally agreed-upon to be among his worst? From the opening image of Sellers' at the pipe organ to the out-of-left-field musical number that ends the film ("Fu Music!"), I cannot recall another comedy that brings me more joy. No, not even Airplane! This is a terrible movie, and yet, it holds an eerie fascination for me.
The brilliance of Fiendish Plot is not apparent. It forces you to search for that brilliance. I have certain friends who believe they're smarter than me; poor, deluded souls. They probably are, but I get great pleasure in telling them otherwise. They sometimes test my patience by asking me to watch movies they know will make me feel stupid. Not because the movies themselves are that smart, but because they indeed know that I am that shallow, and they want to prove they have taste; something I've never been accused of having. They force me to watch movies like Mullholland Drive or The Tree of Life, for example. (Note: Please do not contact me with your explanation about what happened in those films. I do not care. IMDB has millions of other people you can pester. Start searching. My mind, alas, has reached the limit of its ability to appreciate ennui.) In turn, I recommend they watch Fiendish Plot, and we later compare notes as to who feels dumbest. (Read: Superior.) This is how revenge works. Old as the Bible, I'm told. I have no idea why. Most never make it past Helen Mirren's rendition of "Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow." Everyone’s brain eventually reaches a level at which it can no longer process stupidity. There's good reason why Fiendish Plot has never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray. This is the first--and only---film for which I would eagerly shell $100 to purchase a 3-Disc Criterion Collection Collector's Boxed Set.
Do you have a favorite terrible movie---a movie so bad that you can’t defend it---that you absolutely love? Tell me about it.