High- and low-brow cultural goings-on in the Second City, brought to you by a roving microtechnoanthropologist

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

This is fiber optic cable, which is the future. This is culture, which is delicious.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Suck the Dog Dick of Anubis, You Asswipe

If Bubba Ho-Tep ain't culture, I don't wanna be cultured

On Saturday, M and I chased Bubba Ho-Tep around town and finally caught up to it at the Three Penny Cinema. We're not really sure why, but it started out in a multi-week engagement at the Landmark, moved for a single-week (if that) engagement about 3/4 of a mile away to the Biograph, and onward to another engagement across the street at Three Penny. Amazingly, I'd never been to this theatre, which is one of the numerous art houses in Chicago that's been teetering on the brink of extinction for some time now. Inside, it's quite like the late, lamented Village Theatre's real art house incarnation, not the current shell of itself that shows mainstream crap comedies at midnight. Oh, how I long for the endless nights of John Woo movies (save Bullet in the Head; call me a Pollyanna, I had no idea that the title character could play such a prominent and relentlessly depressing role). I digress. Heap big surprise there.

I have hopes that the current incarnation has a fighting chance. They certainly have their finger on the pulse of the neighborhood (serious college/yuppie town) and have secured not only a beer and wine license, but somehow finagled permission to sell home-grown cocktails, including mojitos, margaritas, sangria, and more as well. If I had been less chilled by the frigid midwest (winter began in earnest this weekend), I'd have had to try the mojitos, but alas, I had to pass.

The movie was certainly worth the price of admission. Bruce Campbell is a genius and a natural to play Elvis, young or old. Ossie Davis was nearly as brilliant, and even the supporting cast did the conceit proud. The story itself is so near brilliant that it's all the more disappointing when the film veers off into gross-out humor. The actors are utterly committed and carry it off anyway, but it's the not-so-fine line between Coen Brothers and Farrelly Brothers (no offense to any Farrelly Brothers fans here; don't mind me as I back away slowly, making the sign of the cross at you; IT BURNS!).

This is potentially a stupid observation to make as I have no idea when Lansdale first published the short story on which the film is based, but the Coen Brothers analogy springs naturally to mind. The frequent earnest, monotone narration in lieu of a lot of dialogue is reminiscent of both Raising Arizona and The Man Who Wasn't There, both in content and in terms of narrative device. And while I'll take Bruce Campbell over Nicholas Cage any day of the week, everything pales in comparison to gems like, "[Her] insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase." Still, there are worse people to imitate, and it's both a sweet film and an independent project well worth supporting.

Plus it inspired my tasteless subject line.

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