I recently gave a copy of Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls to a friend as a gift and simply said, “They don’t make films like this anymore.” I think that people get the impression or at least assume that all films by the late great Meyer are going to be skin flicks and for the most part, they are. But there’s a stamp on each film that not only tells the audience that they’re watching a Russ Meyer film (the large breasts are a dead give away), but more importantly, they’re watching the work of a true American auteur.
All this month on TCM, they’re running a month long special on American filmmakers who fought hard to make films their way and the struggles that they went through. Of course, the programming only focuses in on the usual suspects of Edgy American filmmakers: Orson Welles, Cassavetes, Kubrick and Samuel Fuller; amongst others. Granted the men mentioned have crafted a significant and extremely important body of work, but Russ Meyer becomes in that same pantheon of filmmakers. Meyers was a filmmaker, living on the fringes, making films, primarily about women with large breasts, but these films were a reflection of our culture at the time and employed a certain degree of style and cool.
Which brings us to Meyer’s greatest accomplishment, Beyond the Valley of The Dolls, a film as I mentioned earlier, we’ll never see the likes of again. Made at the start of the 1970s when the big studios were still looking to not only capture that counter culture/youth dollar, but also make something of a profit. 20th Century Fox sees that Russ Meyer can make a movie pretty cheaply, rather quickly and most importantly, make a quick profit and hired him to make a sequel of sorts to the late 60s camp classic Valley of the Dolls. Meyer teamed with then fledging film critic, Roger Ebert to write the screenplay for what would become Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. BVD is well, for my money, all that you could want out of a film. Beautiful cinematography, MTV style cuts (Yeah, Bruckhemier didn’t invent that shit), amazing production design and a story that pretty goes everywhere it wants to and some other places that you’re surprised that it went.
The film focuses on an all girl rock group who get swept in the swingin’ L.A. scene and well, each member of The Carrie Nations comes through some melodrama involving drugs, lesbianism, abortions, adultery, and as I’ve already stated, everything that you could want from a movie. Yet, I feel as if I’ve short changed the film a bit because I failed the absolutely best part of the film other than Cynthia Myers’ boobs, is that Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a musical. The film’s opening song, “Find It,” is a sonic equivalent of an old school Mike Tyson knock out punch. A band like Wolfmother wishes on their best day they could create a song that amazing and catchy.
So why haven’t you watched this film yet? The DVD is amazing; the treatment the film receives, you would’ve thought it was an Oscar winner like Brokeback Mountain or something.
This is pretty much the reason why a) France lost the World Cup and secondly, it’s why most Americans don’t like the French. They assume that they’re a bunch of quick to surrender, smelly rude people who love cheese and Jerry Lewis and not a bunch of people who consistently make interesting art and now, they’re going to throw into the mix: a bunch of cheating soccer hooligans. I just don’t understand why he had the head butt the dude. Five minutes left in over time and perhaps, Zidane could’ve won the game for France and he would’ve gone out like a true champ. But now, he’s left everybody with a bitter taste in his or her mouth by pulling a Ron Artest move. Also, watching the game on Sunday morning, I found a way to make soccer interesting, bet on it. After all of these years of listening to Artie Lange talk about betting on sports, I would’ve learned something and I did, it makes sports better.
For those who are bored or easily duped like myself; The MTV show, “Why Can’t I Be You?” featuring America’s number 1 threat to our national security, Nick Zano is a improv show in the vein of “Yo Momma” and not a show where Oxnard’s Lindsay Lohan really wants to be like the girl with the pirate bum flap from Hot Topic and with facial pores that don’t breathe (the girl went to sleep with make up on). I’m shock and upset, but you know, if it’s getting struggling actors some SAG credits, then right on. Although, the show being fake still isn’t stopping creepy people from looking for their my space accounts. I’m developing a drinking game for this show. Take a shot or Pound a beer every time, Nick Zano creeps you out or take a shot and pound a beer every time a girl says “like” in their conversations. You’d be drunk in five minutes.
I’m unsure what was the better part of watching Strangers With Candy: The Movie; seeing the movie itself or walking out of the theater and hearing a Ludacris concert going on across the street. Yet it gets better, he was doing “Move Bitch,” which is probably my favorite song by Ludacris. So I was standing in the movie theater parking lot, rapping right along with Ludacris who was just across the street. I tried to drive by and hear more of the concert, but I just drove too fast to hear anything. As for the movie, it’s pretty funny. I wasn’t a super fan of the TV show, but I’m assuming that it’s a lot of repeat jokes from the show.
Speaking of Ludacris, I heard his T.I. diss song, “War With God,” the other day. I wasn’t impressed. The thing about Ludacris is that he’s the southern version of Snoop. Luda has transcended hip hop and entered that same weird zone that Snoop is currently occupied in. Yeah, they both can rap still, but you know, who cares about what either one of them has to say unless they’re rapping about drinking and getting high? Taking on T.I. isn’t going to change anybody’s view of Ludacris. Besides, hasn’t he heard “Talking to You” yet? I bowled my best game after I listened to that song for like half hour straight.
I’m an individual who hasn’t seen the new Pirates movie and most likely will not.