Wednesday, August 9, 2017

DOUBLE REVIEW: 'Girls Trip' / 'Kuso'

We take a gander at two recent-ish flicks helmed by black directors - and they're both easily candidates for the year's most degenerate motion picture. 


By: Jimbo X
JimboXAmerican@gmail.com
@JimboX

I used to be a real big fan of the heavy metal music back in the day. In a lot of ways, I still am, although I don't listen to bands like Death, Cynic and Carcass anywhere near as much as I used to. 

There were a couple of years, though, where ALL I listened to was some variation of death, black or grindcore metal. Cryptopsy, Anal Cunt, Pig Destroyer, Venom, Gorgoroth, Bloodbath - I loved all of it. The weirder, the more offensive and the harder to understand, the better; eventually, I developed such a tolerance of sonic brutality that before long, even the heaviest and fastest shit out there didn't do nothing for me no more. At that point, the only thing I had left was Merzbow's Venereology, and after I got sick of that pretty much the only way to get my fill of audio heaviness was by listening to ACTUAL heavy metal - i.e., the sounds of artillery shells going off and buildings collapsing. And trust me, there's only so many recordings of nuclear test explosions, and really, once you've heard one H-bomb go off, you've pretty much heard 'em all. 

So one day, out of the blue, I just stopped listening to metal music altogether. I think it was around 2009 where I just stopped giving a shit and stopped following the scene. Since then, I think I may have heard maybe ten metal albums, and as a nonscientific estimate, I'm pretty sure I hated the ever-loving shit out of at least eight of them. 

I've tried getting back into the music, but I just can't do it. Maybe it's the fact that I'm in my 30s now and the idea of having some Norwegian pagan screaming at me about elves and devil worship just doesn't have the same appeal it used to. I used to LOVE stuff like Vader and Testament, but if I hear one note of all that crap kids are into today - here's a quick taste, if you're curious - it just makes me want to rip the headphones off my ears and get a damn haircut. 

I can still appreciates the grand lions of the genre for their technical talent, but the final product nowadays leaves a LOT to be desired. Yeah, it's cool that you can play fast and you know how to do blast beats and cookie monster vocals, but so does every other band in the genre. All of you corpse-painted fucks sound exactly the same, and your lyrics are completely interchangeable. And for fuck's sake, would it kill you turds to learn how to sing about shit other than the devil and fantasy/sci-fi bullshit? Yeah, yeah, we get it, you hate Christianity and like to sing about blood and guts - now can you write something a real-life, tax-paying consumer who DOESN'T live in his mommy's basement might actually be able to relate to?

That's one of the reasons why I've gotten on such a synthwave/vaporwave kick as of late. The music feels modern but longing for the past. It feels part of contemporary society but nonetheless alienated from it. It's music for people who feel as if their individuality has been smothered to death by the mass drumbeat of social-media collectivism. It's romantic and wispy yet pessimistic and detached. At the end of the day, it feels a bajillion times more countercultural than modern metal, primarily because the music itself is rooted in an understanding, acknowledgement and logical revulsion of the real world rigors of 21st century life. I love modern synthwave because it's a reaction to the times - and by that same token, I continue to despise contemporary metal for trudging out the same old fantastical bullshit over and over.

So if you're thinking about starting a metal band in this, the year of our lord 2017, here are ten things you ought to keep in mind before glutting the market with yet another E.P. nobody wants nor needs:

001. If nobody can understand what you're saying, nobody will give a fuck what you're saying, no matter how poignant or noble your refrigerator magnet poetry about Dungeons and Dragons may be. 

002. I know we're running low on band names, but try to be a little bit more creative than naming your act after an obscure Lovecraftian monster or something out of The Elder Scrolls

003. It's OK to enunciate. In a market where everybody's trying to sound like Angela's burp-voice from Night of the Demons, actually having a decipherable frontman helps you stand out. 

004. If you're more concerned about what your costumes are going to look like than what your music is going to sound like, hit the self-destruct button now.

005. Whatever your band name is, try to make the logo look like anything besides a bunch of scribbles made by an autistic psycho killer on an Etch-a-Sketch.

006. It's OK to not wear black sometimes, and it's even more OK to NOT wear pancake makeup. 

007. Here's a novel idea: unless it's something you've actually experienced, don't write a fucking song about it. Motherfucker, your day job is at Best Buy - you've never raped and pillaged nothing, you poser. 

008. Does anybody in the band have a beard, a beer belly or a Legend of Zelda tattoo? Kick their asses out, it's time to start from square one.

009. Before you learn how to play fast and heavy, learn how to play, period.

010. And last - but certainly not least - if you're in it for the pussy, all I can say is boy howdy, are you in store for a sore disappointment

So there you have it, kids. Adhere to those ten rules and maybe - just maybe - you might be on the path to creating a modern metal masterpiece instead of just another At the Gates ripoff. Or even better yet, how about this for some career advice: sell your guitar, learn a real skill and do something that's actually productive for a change, you long-haired-having pussy.

No, she's not pantomiming eating a Popsicle, in case you were wondering.

Speaking of things that that'll make most white peoples' heads explode, we've got an Afro-centric double header on tap for this week, starting with the Nubian-themed sex comedy Girls Trip

One of the things I really liked about this movie was that it kept the honky hating to a minimum. Outside of a scene where the prim-and-proper-but-still-keeping-it-real, successful-beyond-words-self-help guru light-skinned lead actress chews out her lily white manager for co-opting the black vernacular, there's practically zero identity politicking going on in the movie, which allows ample opportunities for the cast to do what black women do best; get rip-roaring drunk and threaten to kill one another while trying to quell their insatiable hunger for big black cock. 

Sure, the genders and skin tones may have been swapped out, but this is pretty much the modern equivalent of Porky's or Loose Screws. Half the jokes are about getting drunk or high and the other half are about crude sexual activity and/or excretory functions. And if you're wondering if this stuff might be a bit too high brow for 'ya, rest assured, before this movie is over we get to witness not one but two members of the cast drench a New Orleans crowd in a torrent of hot piss.

The premise is pretty straightforward. We've got Regina Hall playing a version of Oprah you'd actually fuck traveling to Nawlins so she can give the keynote address at Essence's annual "Hooray for Black Women" conference, and she decides to bring her old FAMU buddies with her. One's a struggling clickbait writer played by Queen Latifah, who's apparently on shaky terms with Regina's character form the get-go; Jada Pinkett Smith plays a nurse with two kids and no husband who still lives with her mama who is super timid and gets made fun of by her friends because she doesn't dress like a hoochie; and then there's Tiffany Haddish, who plays a loudmouth, super-aggressive, chronic Chlamydia recipient that hides weed in her butthole and is such a nymphomaniac, she at one point contemplates having sex with a hobo. 

The first 45 minutes are pretty good, but the thing starts to drag considerably once the second act gets going. You see, the people who made it couldn't be content with an hour and a half of dick and urination jokes, they had to wedge in a major subplot about Regina's retired football player husband having an affair on her with an Instagram ho, which gets REALLY convoluted because Queen Latifah is thinking about selling some photos of her friend's hubby cheating on her to TMZ to make rent, but then it gets even MORE convoluted because apparently Regina's known about it for some time but she's afraid to say anything about it because she thinks it might cost her a big contract with K-Mart. 

So naturally, the rest of the movie is about her learning to stand up for herself, so by the time she makes it to the podium at the Super Dome, the big question is will she stick to her handler's script or will she tell her husband to sit his bitch ass down in front of 20,000 professional black women? Not that you'll really care - after the part where the girls learn how to jerk a dude off with a melon and they all get shit-faced on thujone, don Lil' Kim wigs and get into kung-fu battles with a bunch of Grambling State co-eds, your attention span will have long since petered out. 

We've got no dead bodies. No breasts. One exposed penis (and oddly enough, it's a flaccid Caucasian one.) One four-on-four all-girl barroom brawl. Gratuitous Indian co-worker beating. Gratuitous P. Diddy. Gratuitous unhip white manager. Gratuitous sausage hammering. Gratuitous public urination. Broken wine bottle fu. Absinthe fu. Grapefruit hand-job fu. And the thing that more or less is responsible for the movie existing in the first place ... coming to terms with your husband committing adultery fu

Starring Regina Hall as the golden brown domestic goddess who has to keep weighing whether or not her hubby's philandering ways are worth losing a national QVC deal over; Jada Pinkett Smith as the way-too-buttoned down single mom who gets high and tries to give a LCD TV a blow job; Queen Latifah as the cash-strapped blogger who might leak her best friend's embarrassing photos for the TMZ money; and Tiffany Hadish as the posse's uber-slut, who says lines like "I've got drugs in my booty hole" and "If she's getting all that NBA dick, why is she sucking some baseball player?"  

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee - who, as apparent by his Wikipedia bio, has directed every movie with a predominantly black cast that wasn't a Spike Lee or Tyler Perry production since 1999 - who also co-wrote the movie alongside Will Packer, the same guy that gave us such illustrious, Criterion-worthy outings as Stomp the Yard, Ride Along 2 and Puff, Puff, Pass

I give it two and a half stars out of four. Jimbo says check it out, especially if you plan on leaving halfway through it.

Not since ReGOREgitated Sacrifice has there been a non-scat movie with THIS much per capita piss, vomit and shit. Your kids will LOVE IT!

Well, if all the juvenile sex and scatological humor of Girls Trip was a bit too subdued for you, our week's second feature Kuso ought to be right up your alley. The debut movie from Flying Lotus (the Google tells me he's some DJ from Los Angeles who does a lot of work for Adult Swim, whose slave name is the far less esoteric "Steven Ellison") stirred a commotion at this year's Sundance, where a large potion of the audience decided they just couldn't handle no more and walked on out of the screening. Even now it's being marketed as the grossest movie ever made, but then again, this is the same Hollywood Industrial Complex that told us The Human Centipede was the grossest movie ever made a couple of years back, so I reckon we ought to take the advertising materials with a gargantuan grain of salt. 

That said, Kuso IS a pretty nasty movie, and it wouldn't surprise me one iota if it ends up being 2017's uncontested cinematic gut-bucket barf-o-rama king. It's a movie that tries real hard to be something of a hip-hop Eraserhead or The Happiness of the Katakuris, but at the end of the day it comes off as more of a Japanese bug-eating-scat porno directed by Tim & Eric than a truly outstanding, puke-your-guts-out subversive social commentary masterpiece like Green Elephant or Vase de Noces ... which, depending on your perspective, could either be extremely lofty praise or the absolute worst piece of criticism you can lob at anything.

The movie starts off with an earthquake hitting California and then this black dude with boils on his face interrupts a newscast and starts singing about God living underground. Then a guy sleeping on a turd-stain-covered pillow has his face sucked on by his zombie girlfriend's ashy lips and then she tries to strangle him to death with her braids and then he pees himself and they start kissing with white pus all over their mouths and she sings him a lullaby and he falls asleep. 

Then this claymation guy who almost looks like a Garbage Pail Kid pulls on his nipple ring and scratches his exposed intestines and farts and says "everything is beautiful now" while poking his guts and talking about how his daddy was a real man. Then a guy with a giant pustule on his cheek eats a bowl of unidentifiable green stuff and prays to a shrine of people with mutilated faces, then his mama splatters a cockroach with her bare hand then he walks through the wilderness while gangbangers run a train on his mom. He watches this CGI cooked turkey in the water grow a snout and it makes this one Mac and Me looking guy get an erection and then a bunch of kids shove vanilla ice cream cones in a black kid's face in slow motion. Then the kid keeps farting in a dilapidated shack that I guess is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic classroom and his teacher slobbers on him so he runs out while all the other kids laugh at him and he finds a giant CGI turd pile in the woodlands and it has a giant maggot for a tongue so he feeds it a hunk of mud. 

Then this mutated hag with four teeth talks in subtitles to a baby doll and rubs more white pus all over herself and eats a giant cockroach. Then a disembodied voice tells her "all her answers are in the hole" and she crawls down a dirty labyrinth and falls down a neon tube. Then there's a pastiche of The Match Game with Richard Dawson and company all turned into droopy-eyed STD demons and the contestants are forced to drink spit donated by the local FFA (needless to say, this bit is probably the highlight of the movie.) Then we see a commercial with GEORGE CLINTON pretty much playing himself as a doctor offering services at something called "the coat hanger clinic," and then we watch some more people spew foamy white vomit all over the place.

Then this woman with whitened out Evil Dead eyes smokes weed with these two furry aliens with TV screens built into their chests who sound like your aggregate WorldStarHipHop user and they throw their own feces at her and begin masturbating on her and, worst of all, tell her she looks 40. Then a guy pops out of a commode while she's peeing on a pregnancy test and he recounts raping her a month ago, stating "it was like having sex with a dead dog - so hot."

Then the movie cuts back to the mutated cheek guy, who's force fed a bowl of maggots before getting zapped by a disfigured face that pops out of the pulsating turd pod from earlier, then he pukes up about a dozen uncooked chicken nuggets and jabs the turd pod face right in the eye with one of 'em. Then the woman who fell down the neon abyss earlier wakes up in a room with a Ninja Turtles mask on her face and her ankles conjoined to this one women who keeps calling her a "bitch" over a TV sitcom laugh track. Then there's a fake ad for a phone sex line called 1-88-Rat-Fuck, then a guy goes to George Clinton's abortion clinic and punches a tranny window worker because she keeps asking him if he's having penile discharge and then it turns into a blow-up doll and he feeds it five dollars in change and then another guy tells him "the sun cries while eating ice cream, futility reigns" and asks him if he's ever "beat a nigga' with another nigga' - no, I mean literally pick up his best friend and use him as a battering ram." Then he finally sees George Clinton and reveals he has a profound fear of female breasts, so naturally the nurse has a mammoth pair of boil-encrusted mammaries. Anyway, this ultimately culminates with George Clinton dropping trou and a giant roach crawling out of his anus which proceeds to spray the "patient" with a big stream of bright green jism.

Then the toilet rapist from earlier has sex with a giant ball of fat with about 20 titties and three vaginas and then his rapee shows up and does an impromptu rap song after pulling a remote out of her hoo-ha, and then the aforementioned furry aliens yank the unborn fetus out of her stomach, complete with sound bites from Mortal Kombat playing in the background and they all decide to put the dead baby in a bong and smoke it. Then that mutated cheek guy shows up again and smears a dog turd on the pulsating turd pod face's forehead, then an armada of frozen turkeys start flying out of a giant spaceship hovering over downtown L.A., then a guy puts on an elephant mask and his girlfriend makes him play a keyboard, then she reveals she has a giant singing tumor on her neck and it pukes all over the floor, and for our grand finale, her boyfriend fucks it and shoots a massive wad in its mouth

So yeah, it's all good, clean fun for the whole family - especially if your family is into pretentious music video aesthetics and gross-out humor meant to cover up a complete and total lack of anything even remotely resembling competent storytelling. 

We've got four dead bodies. Six breasts. Two inflatable breasts. 300 computer-generated breasts. One identifiable human penis. Five dead cockroaches. One abortion. Gratuitous fart jokes. Gratuitous stop-motion animation insects. Gratuitous white goop. Gratuitous weed smoking. Gratuitous monster penis. Gratuitous vomit. Gratuitous cartoon sound effects. Gratuitous video game references. Gratuitous shitty CGI (which I'm guessing was intentional ... probably.) Fecal matter fu. Ejaculation fu. And, of course, the thing more or less responsible for the movie existing in the first place ... unused Adult Swim bumper fu.

Starring Zach Fox as the guy who goes to an abortion clinic to be cured of his titty-phobia and tells the busty nurse "bitch, I know how to breathe"; Bethany Schmitt as the raping rape victim who wounds up smoking her own fetus; Shane Carpenter as the mutated Mac and Me cheek cancer freak of nature that doesn't utter a single line of dialogue and smears turds all over everything; Tim Heidecker as the rapist who lives in a toilet and has sex with flabby, armless, legless and headless torsos; Hannibal Buress and Donnell Rawlings as the voices of the weed-smoking, inter-dimensional furry costume monsters; and George Clinton as the unlicensed abortion doctor with a phobia-curing cockroach living in his asshole, who utters perhaps the film's greatest sliver of dialogue - "that's the shit, that's the doo doo."

Directed by Steven "Flying Lotus" Ellison, who co-wrote the movie alongside David Firth and Zack Fox, all of whom presumably have their fingers crossed that no one in the audience realizes the plot is one part a ripoff of the video game Bad Day L.A. and one part a ripoff of the graphic novel Black Hole

I give it two stars out of four. It's clear they were trying to create some kinda' transcendent, post-postmodern absurdist satire a'la Sweet Movie and The Holy Mountain, but try as they may, they just couldn't pull it off no matter how much cum and green mucus they sprayed all over the set. Jimbo says check it out, but don't blame me if your girlfriend thinks you're a psycho afterwards.

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