Gimme a beat!
Bulworth has given me permission to make up hip-hip rhymes right off the top of my head knowing that they won't be the worst verses ever written. Before, it was only Homer Simpson and Barney Rubble that one could point out. Now, I have to say that a new milestone has been reached. Never before have I meant it so much when I've said: You gotta give Warren Beatty credit for trying to make a political statement that really "tells it like it is" in the style of Chuck D, Michael Franti, etc.
Beatty's script has various cultural spokespeople discuss the monopoly on democracy held by the profit-driven conglomeration of government, big business, and the media. For people who have never heard Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, any rap artist, leftist politico, Zeitgeist chaser, or figurehead of the 60's, seeing this movie could be eye opening!
Beatty plays a senator who is suddenly and mysteriously overcome by his conscience. I don't know about you, but I love movies that exist in the realm of pure fantasy-like the original Doctor Doolittle with Rex Harrison. Anyway, Senator Bulworth stops eating and sleeping, and as a result turns completely candid about his involvement in the sham that is American politics. Two or more funky black girls decide to help him spread the word that the political machine is glad to screw the African-American population, along with anyone else whose cultural past has left them low on money and power.
Plot twist: in the initial stage of his depression, Bulworth decides to hire a hitman to kill Bulworth himself, after having accepted a $10 million life insurance policy payable to his only daughter as graft for bottling up an equal op. insurance bill in the senate. But as Bulworth's frank approach and unorthodox speaking style gains popularity Bulworth sees that he has a reason to live. Now he has to duck bullets to accept a landslide write-in nomination for presidential candidate. It's nothing like The Reagan Landslide of 1980. It's not much closer to the Jesse Ventura Ascension this last November.
The most astonishing thing is that I found it very hard to pull myself away from it. Mrs. Worsted kept insisting that I clean the bathroom, but I just sat there watching until the very end. By that time, the sun was long down, and it was time for bed. If you'd like to see an aging white comebac-tor with as much soul in his pinky as I have in my entire dinette set star as a rappin' politician in a fantasy U.S., I'd recommend this movie!
Gooden Worsted's Bitable Bytes:
IN CINEMA 2:
Andy Kaufman was a genius. It's too bad he's dead because he should have had the chance to make up for this, The Andy Kaufman Add the Word Special. Maybe an hour was too much to fill. Maybe he and his writers were just having a good time and hadn't really sat down to write a show, as Andy 'fesses up to early in the special.
But you gotta give him credit for trying! Why? Because it was 1980. Saturday Night Live was in its first cast, and we all know what a bunch of whacked-out junky comedians they were. John Belushi, like Kaufman, died too early from party-related complications. Gilda Radner died and was (conincidentally?) married the world's greatest lover, Gene Wilder. Dan Ackroyd should have died long before he opened the House of Blues, and darn it-he's not dead yet! I mean that in the best possible way.
The fact that Kaufman's guest star is Cindy Williams, TV's Shirley, as in "Laverne and" reveals something about the mindset of this special. As a matter of fact, I'd forgotten who Cindy Williams was until she appeared on screen.
The first half-hour is Kaufman's brilliant stand-up routine, the headwaters of the Latka Gravas character from Taxi, ending in an impression that is truly one of the best I've seen-and impression of Elvis Presley. This routine is as classic as Steve Martin's stuff from the same period, and in many ways more original.
Once that segment ended, the special meandered, ambled, rambled, and shambled in a most relaxing way. Nothing terribly upsetting happened. I got a great reminiscence of the times I was a teenager and would stay up late on Friday nights watching HBO, seeing all the dated movies and half-funny specials until my bleary eyes wanted no more.
Howdy Doody came on later. Kaufman mistakenly introduced the puppet as the original Howdy Doody, but really it was the second Howdy Doody, the one that became the mold for the first ancillary marketing campaign in the history of television. Truth be known, a master puppeteer named Frank Paris originated the character, whose first moniker was Elmer. This bumpkin character used the phrase "Howdy Doody" as a greeting, but the vaguely scatological phrase was popular with the kids that it caught on as the character's name. Frank Paris was manipulated into selling the character for a measly $500 prior to the merchandising supernova. He tried to sue NBC, and the legal battle ruined Paris. He settled out of court, and was required to turn over the original Elmer doll, which the producers of the new show tore into pieces and burned before his eyes. Pretty shocking actually, and not one mention was made of this in Bulworth.
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights happily reserved.