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Hey, whore, how's the whoring? This week, the honor goes to:

Kevin Thomas, again. Please, LA Times, for your own reputation, can't you fire him and hire a real critic?

Black Knight is "A rip-roaring time-travel comedy!"

Punks is "Terrific entertainment, full of wit and energy."

Heist is "Full of action and suspense."

Life as a House is "A heart-warming, involving experience."  

Donald Barthelme -
Forty Stories

Rosemary's Baby

Galaxie 500 -
On Fire

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©2001 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

Black Knight

Filthy says:
"Someone needs to stop this Lawrence fucker!"

Thanksgiving is a time when Americans pretend to be thankful for shit that we know God damn well we earned or stole on our own. It's also a time when families travel thousands of miles to unite and get along for about two hours, until the alcohol kicks in, and then people no longer hide the anger and hurt that's been festering since last year. They've been thinking about the perfect response for twelve months, they've been planning their attack. And now, with enough booze diluting their blood, they're able to follow through. The bitter personal attacks, mudslinging and hateful diatribes are my favorite part of Thanksgiving because they are the part I'm best at. Well, that and making my special Salty Pumpkin Pie.

Due to my lifetime ban from family gatherings, though, it has been a quiet holiday in the Filthy household. It's been just me, the Mrs. And retard cousin Larry.

LARRY: I can't have Thanksgiving at home.

FILTHY: I know.

LARRY: Mom's new boyfriend is there and he is really rich and she thinks I'll scare him away. She's ashamed of me.

FILTHY: We're not ashamed of you. We love to have you over.

LARRY: Because you can beat me at Nintendo.

FILTHY: Partially, yes. But also because you love the movies.

LARRY: But I still miss my mom.

FILTHY: I can beat her at Nintendo, too.

LARRY: No more pumpkin pie, though.

FILTHY: It's good though, huh?

LARRY: It makes me thirsty, and then throw up.

FILTHY: Are you done now?

LARRY: Nothing comes out anymore. It just hurts.

FILTHY: You want to talk about Black Knight?

LARRY: No, I'd rather throw up.

FILTHY: We have to talk about the movie. Black Knight stars Martin Lawrence as the vain and lazy employee of a shitty medieval theme park that's about to go belly up. He falls into the park's moat and is transported to England in the year 1328.

LARRY: That was old times? I thought he got sent to the bad carnival you took me to where you beat up the juggler and made fun of everyone.

FILTHY: Well, yeah, it looked like that shitty Renaissance Faire, but that's just because the budget was so fucking cheap and nobody involved really gave an ass dimple how it looked. Anyway, once back in old days, Lawrence is mistaken for a French messenger in a kingdom where the rightful queen is in exile. A hot black chick befriends him and talks him into helping to overtake the kingdom. This set up is supposed to lead to all sorts of hilarity. Lawrence is the ultimate fish out of water: a crazy, incredibly stupid, loud and annoying modern man stuck in the middle ages. And, by going back in time, he is supposed to learn not to be so vain and selfish.

LARRY: Remember when he goes "Your daughter's a fre-ee-ak?"

FILTHY: Did you like that?


FILTHY: What did you like?

LARRY: I like how he keeps saying "Oh, shit" when he was in trouble because when I'm in trouble I never have anything funny to say either. So, that was just like real life. Your daughter's a fre-ee-ak.

FILTHY: Know what I liked about this movie?

LARRY: What?

FILTHY: Absolutely nothing. I thought it was the worst, laziest, most painfully unfunny piece of shit I've seen all year. And I've seen a lot of really awful shit.

LARRY: You're a fre-ee-ak.

FILTHY: Will you stop saying that?

LARRY: Okay. Fre-ee-ak.

FILTHY: First, I feel very strongly that comedies should have jokes. There isn't a single God damn gag in the entire movie. It's just Lawrence going "Oh gosh, I'm so fucking stupid! I had no idea people 800 years ago didn't have modern conveniences!" He mugs and hams like he's selling hot dogs in a 7-11 commercial, but there isn't a single fucking joke to hang the mugging on. I don't find his brand of overacting and screeching to be funny, but the poor guy is left trying to conjure jokes out of vapor here. The script is way too interested in its tired old plot to bother helping him out. So, he has to alter his eyebrows or pitch of voice while reading straight lines. A good comic couldn't do it, so why the fuck does Hollywood think a bad hack who specializes in perpetuating the worst racial stereotypes can?

LARRY: But remember when he becomes the Black Knight?

FILTHY: You thought that was funny? That tiny little gag toward the end that goes nowhere?

LARRY: Not funny-haha, but funny-sad like when I laugh because people make fun of me to my face and I don't want them to know how sad I am. I'm a Fre-ee-ak.

FILTHY: The fish out of water premise here is stolen straight from Mark Twain's "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." So, don't give the shitslingers-with-Powerbooks Peter Gaulke or Darryl Quarles any credit for creativity. They don't even add anything to the idea except making the guy black. Ha ha. Well, if that isn't the mark of geniuses, but I'll talk about the racism later.

Gaulke and quarles latch onto the story like lampreys and suck it dry. The humor in the obvious fish-out-of-water tale comes from the hero's difficulty in adapting to his new surroundings. But, Lawrence never has any trouble adapting. Whenever he needs to learn something new, he simply does. The only thing the ancient setting gives him is "crrrraaaazzzzyyy" stuff to comment on by squealing "oh, shit."

LARRY: Are you still talking?

FILTHY: I'm not done yet.

LARRY: You should just let it go.

FILTHY: I can't. How can I let people get away with making something so fucking awful when there are thousands of people who actually have a story to tell and can't get anyone in Hollywood to listen? I mean, these filmmakers couldn't do worse for society if they'd watered down the penicillin in a children's hospital. Part of the problem is just how fucking lazy everything is. It's an entire movie constructed of "good enoughs."

Apparently, there are three locations in Ancient England: the tiny cardboard castle, some thatch huts around it and an encampment beside what looks like Big Bear, California. The costumes look like they're straight off the "red-tag" bin at the ARC thrift store. A fellow would be stoned to death by SCA freaks if he tried to pass these modified jean-jackets off as authentic medieval garb at a Renaissance Faire.

The cast is one of the most unpleasant, no-named assemblies of actors since the senior-citizen production for "Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Arvada Playhouse. Most of these washouts struggle with the simple task of barfing up their lines then standing aside as Lawrence takes center stage, drops his pants and tries to shit out a laugh. The characters are uniformly undeveloped, flatter than Denny's pancakes. There's the king, whom the script tells us is evil but never gives us any examples. We know the villain is bad solely because he keeps giving Lawrence dirty looks. We never even see him do anything dishonorable. The heroine must be the heroine because she's black and pretty. Outside of that, I couldn't tell you a damn thing about her. And Lawrence is just a miserable buffoon.

Director Gil Junger honed his skills for turning unfunny situations into an unfunny movie by directing absolutely awful sitcoms such as "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place." He paces this thing with the urgency of a dishwasher repair manual: the hose goes on the before the tightener, then fit the clamp. He doesn't work the material or try to milk it for gags. Instead, he seems to think he's actually telling an interesting story in an extremely linear fashion. The last twenty minutes are a poorly-staged battle that is too violent to be funny, and too sloppy to be interesting. It's like he thinks we're more interested in finding out how this stupid fucking story will end then hearing some jokes. For fuck's sake, Junger, we know how it'll end. You telegraphed that 45 minutes ago.

LARRY: Don't forget the racism.

FILTHY: Right. Thanks, Larry. Fuck those cowards in Hollywood. On the one hand, they are always chiding the little people for not being color-blind. But at the same time, they shoehorn a black chambermaid into the story. Yeah, we should all be color blind, unless we're making a shitty Martin Lawrence comedy. In that case, one of our target demographics is stupid southern white supremacists who will pay good money to watch a black man act as stupid as humanly possible. So, we better be careful not to piss that very valuable demographic off with an interracial love affair. In one of the movie's "comedic" bits, Lawrence scolds the king for assuming that he can dance because he's black. Less than two minutes later he's telling musicians to "kick it like no white boy ever has ever kicked it." The joke is supposed to be how fucking funny it is when Lawrence tells white people how white they are. The joke is not supposed to be the double standard just illustrated; the fuckers who made this didn't even notice that. Fuck Hollywood with spoons for treating blacks and whites differently, and fuck them up the ass with a forklift for thinking it's what we want.

LARRY: Your wife wants us to do dishes.

FILTHY: What? Tell her to hold her horses. It's a four-day weekend for Christ's sake.

LARRY: Are we done?

FILTHY: Yeah, I'm done.

LARRY: Did you remember to tell them it all turns out to be a dream?

FILTHY: Oh, shit. I forgot about that clever twist at the end. Sheer cinematic genius. One Fucking Finger for Black Knight.

LARRY: Three Fingers from me.

FILTHY: Three Fingers?

LARRY: Cause I'm a fre-ee-ak.

FILTHY: You want another slice of salty pumpkin pie?

LARRY: No, no, don't make me.

FILTHY: Okay, fine. Then let's go play Nintendo.

For those looking for the second part of my script--next week you'll get it, so don't ask.

For all of those bugging me for my delicious Salty Pumpkin Pie recipe, here it is:

Pumpkin pie filling:
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

In small bowl, combine salt, sugar, more salt and spices. Beat eggs in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt, maybe two pinches. Stir in pumpkin and evaporated milk, strain out all salt not abosorbed by mix. Pour into a pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 45 minutes or until firm. Have lots of drinking water and beer on hand!

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