Jul 23, 2014

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills


It might seem unlikely that a stupid American would direct a campy and sometimes racially insensitive remake of the French classic ‘comedy of manners’ The Rules of the Game (1939) aka La Règle du Jeu, but character actor/sometimes-auteur Paul Bartel (Eating Raoul, Death Race 2000) did such a bold and wonderfully cinematically sacrilegious thing for his almost criminally underrated mutation of Renoir's masterpiece, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989). While I have yet to get around to seeing The Rules of the Game, I have seen enough of Renoir's films to know that his anti-boobeoise comedy of manners probably did not feature a dog performing cunnilingus on an ‘Uncle Tom’ negress or an East Asian gangster stating in broken English, “rabbits and Mexicans brains ain’t too big,” to a Mexican servant with an unhealthy gambling addiction. Indeed, like any cultivated celluloid comedy, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills is equal demented doses of the radically raunchy and wonderfully witty, as a superlatively sardonic work of the decidedly darkly comedic sort that makes a major mockery of the now-old school Beverly Hills bourgeoisie. Although I had seen the film before, I recently decided to re-watch Bartel's unsung masterpiece of merry misanthropy (indeed, after watching most of his films, I am convinced that the director absolutely hates everyone) after realizing it was co-penned by Bruce Wagner (who has a small cameo at the beginning), whose 5-hour-long brainchild  Wild Palms (1993) I recently developed a rather strange addiction to. Of course, both Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills and Wild Palms do a rather relentless job reaming the stinking rich rectum of Los Angeles’ uniquely unlovable upper-class. On top of a being a rare cultured American comedy featuring an all-star cast (including Bartel playing his typically effortlessly effete self), the film is also notable in that young star Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered just six weeks after the film was released by a crazed ½ Korean fan who had been stalking her for 3 years (indeed, had she pursued her original aspirations of being a rabbi, she might not be dead today). Indeed, practically specially tailored to be an instant cult classic, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills is arguably Bartel’s most belligerently immoral and subtly sophisticated work to date, hence why it is probably less well known when compared to the director’s previous celluloid effort of excess and eccentricity like Death Race 2000 (1975) and Eating Raoul (1982), as it seems most American filmgoers prefer low-camp over wicked yet refined wit. A fiercely fucked farce that has a number of subplots, but mainly revolves around two males servants—a mestizo addicted to gambling and bisexual hustler that has the words “Your Name” tastelessly tattooed to his assumedly diseased ass—who make a truly low-class wager as to who will be the first to sexually seduce the other’s employer, Bartel’s work is probably the only film that can boast such an eclectically bonkers and stupidly salacious cast of characters, including a goofy fat ghost who died of autoerotic asphyxiation and has come back to haunt his horny wife, a male whore who gambles $5,000 just so he can get into a romantic Chicano’s pants, a gold-digging jigaboo who moonlights S&M porn star, and a divorced housewife who lusts after Mexicans because she has read one too many D.H. Lawrence novels, among countless other human creatures with an unquenchable hunger for humping anyone and everyone despite class differences (indeed, if the film demonstrates anything, it is that there is no such thing as discrimination in the bedroom, so long as one has a craving for the other person), so long as they do it in a super sleazy and secret so as to potentially hurt their loved ones. 

 Rich bitch Clare Lipkin (played by Jacqueline Bisset in a rather against-type role) gets so enraged with her chipmunk-mouthed Mexican maid Rosa (Edith Diaz) for breaking some sort of worthless porcelain knickknack in her home during a big fancy dinner feast that she throws boiling water in the poor over-the-hill Latina’s rather bloated face. On top of that, a pathetically pretentious and ambiguously gay pansy who describes himself as “Beverly Hill’s foremost thinologist” (aka diet doctor) named Dr. Mo Van De Kamp (Paul Bartel) decides to finish the mestizo maid off with an Abercrombie & Fitch brand handgun, so naturally the Hispanic houseboy Juan (played by Robert Beltran, who previously in Eating Raoul) decides to honor his racial sister by throwing a boiling pot of water on his bossy boss Clare, but just before he does, it is revealed it was all a joke in celebration of the young servant’s birthday. Unfortunately for Juan, his life is not exactly that interesting, as it is revealed that everything that he has just experienced was just a dream. On top of that, Juan owes an East Asian gangster named June-Bug (Jerry Tondo), who uses a muscular negro as his muscle, a long unpaid $3,700 gambling debt. Luckily, a bisexual servant named Frank (played by Ray Sharkey, who died of AIDS in 1993 but not before giving it to a couple of his girlfriends) that works for his boss Clare’s friend Lisabeth Hepburn-Saravian (played by lapsed Warhol superstar turned Roger Corman superstar Mary Woronov) makes a $5,000 bet with him regarding who can seduce and sexually savage the other's employer first. Since Juan has no cash, he has agreed to give his anal virginity (and, in turn, his rampant heterosexuality) to Frank if he loses the wager.  Of course, being a Paul Bartel film, it is somewhat easy to guess what happens to Juan's twink-taco.

 Juan’s boss Clare’s husband Sidney (Paul Mazursky) has just died in a freak autoerotic asphyxiation accident and now his pathetic ghost is haunting her. Somewhat melancholy, as well as horny (her husband’s ghost confesses to her that he became sexually disinterested with her after their daughter was born), due to the death of her hubby, Clare has some friend and family members over for the weekend, included her hack playwright brother Peter (Ed Begley Jr.), who has written works with titillating titles like “Little Shylock,” and his new negress wife ‘To-Bel’ (Arnetia Walker), who married the preppie would-be-tortured-artist on a whim after only knowing him for a couple days because she assumes he is ridiculously wealthy (of course, as Dr. Mo Van De Kamp later reveals to her, Peter is on the, “last scraps of niggardly inheritance”). Needless to say, Clare is somewhat disturbed by her brother's rather dark romantic acquisition, though the family dog ‘Bojangles’ takes a special liking to To-Bel and maws at her afro-puff-covered pink-eye as if it is a raw steak. A shameless Uncle Tom that knows how to play pussy white men with her man-eating pussy, To-Bel absurdly states upon being absurdly asked if she has in relatives in Africa, “Isn’t that interesting…but I have no desire to go to Africa. None whatsoever. Israel, yes,” as if she assumes that Hebrews are where the real 'bucks' are. While Juan and Frank plot to get in the pussies of the posh hags, rich bitches Clare and Lisabeth do the same, with the latter stating regarding her unquenchable thirst for prole poles, “were soft, their hard…they work, they eat, they fuck.” Divorced from her bald philandering gynecologist husband Howard (Wallace Shaw), Lisabeth is especially hungry for Hispanic flesh, stating regarding the Mexican servant, “There is something very D.H. Lawrence about Juan…something dark and something Aztec…that one could never know.” 

 Feeling sorry for a hyper horny young teen in need of temporary sexual release, Juan gives Lisabeth’s sensitive pianist son Willie (starring Barret Oliver of The NeverEnding Story fame) “righteous videotapes” (aka porn videos) and the young lad soon discovers that To-Bel is a porn star while watching a lurid Sapphic S&M blue movie where the ebony hoe cracks a female cracker with a whip. On top of that, it is also soon revealed that Lisabeth’s husband Howard was in a steamy love affair with To-Bel, who wants to take revenge against her bastard of an ex-beau, which she does by boning his much more handsome and more well hung son Willie. Indeed, Willie later brags in front his mother and all the other house guests that, “Aunt To-Bel told me that compared to my dad I was hung like a rhino.” Indeed, Willie must have developed an instant mania for miscegenation, as he also screws fat Mexican maid Rosa. Of course, Willie is not the only one who gets lucky during the wanton weekend in the seemingly banal Beverly Hills suburb, as virtually everybody literally and figuratively screws everyone in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, though Frank, being a homo who pretends he’s half-hetero, opts for drugging Clare instead of actually greasing her weasel, as Juan walks in on his passed out boss in bed with his friend and assumes the worst. While Juan actually manages to seal the salacious deal in terms of buggering hyper horny divorcee Lisabeth, he lies to Frank and pretends to lose the wager, thus absurdly resulting in the loss of his rampant heterosexuality (Frank fucks him from behind like he's a woman). Of course, in what seems to be a mockery of virtually every single Hollywood film ever made, everything works out in the end, with Juan beginning a relationship with old sugarmomma Lisabeth, Clare’s daughter Zandra (Rebecca Schaeffer) hooking up with dirty old man Dr. Mo Van De Kamp, and Clare finally getting over her husband’s ghost, who is left with ghost of the family dog (indeed, the poor doggy, like Sidney, also perished in a freak accident).  In the end, the dead dog has the last word by telling ghost Sidney, “You’re so full of shit.” 

 A film with an intentionally pretentiously long title that sounds like the name of some sort of forgotten European neo-Marxist film from the late-1960s/1970s (actually, Jewish documentarian directed a film in 1977 entitled Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989) ultimately rips both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie a new asshole, which is certainly something any self-respecting person can appreciate. Indeed, while the film is a major mess in terms of narrative structure as a wayward work where the main ‘plot’ falls to the wayside almost immediately, it is also a mischievously mirthful orgy of ludicrous laughs that reminds one that there has indeed been a couple masterful comedies made in Hollywood, though they certainly were not directed by Mel Brooks. Undoubtedly, had director Paul Bartel been Hebraic and not made jokes at the expense of Israel (as he does in the film), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills would probably be revered as one of the greatest celluloid comedies of his era. Indeed, forget Das Kapital, Bartel's filmic farace features more cultivated hate and contempt for the upper-classes than failed bourgeois bum Marx could ever dream of. Assuredly, one of the things that makes the film, like most of Bartel’s work, so brilliant as it is nearly impossible to tell what the director’s political persuasion is, as he spares no one from his deliciously venomous scorn, including meek Mexican maids, virginal teenage piano prodigies, female Uncle Toms, the sort of annoying and spastic yappity little white dogs that old women like to spoil (Bartel actually had the gall to have the dog, Bo-Jangles, killed off), effeminate gynecologists, and various other beings that I typically find myself repelled by in any other form. Like the anti-liberal/anti-counter-culture cinematic works of Paul Morrissey, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills also dares to make sex seem rather ridiculous, as a work that wallows in perversity but is, at best, rather anti-erotic, despite featuring nudity and whatnot (undoubtedly, I must admit that the sight of Mary Woronov's unclad body made for an unsettling experience). Ultimately, one of the main messages of the film is that everyone is a whore, but it is only the working-class who consciously realizes this, as they have to constantly prostitute themselves just to survive and thrive. Of course, the title of the film is quite tongue-in-cheek, as the real struggle that occurs in the film is between two lowly servants from the same class who are competing from poorly age rich bitch gash. While I do not doubt that Renoir’s The Rules of the Game is an unmitigated masterpiece, I have a feeling Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills offers more wicked laughs, as a bodacious black comedy that is darker than Al Jolson in blackface and witter than Oscar Wilde on crack. 

-Ty E

Jul 21, 2014

Marie from the Bay of Angels

Undoubtedly, Frogs like making films about sensual underage girls and ugly swarthy dudes with guns (or, as Jean-Luc Godard once famously stated, “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.”), but few French films take this approach more literally and obsessively than Marie from the Bay of Angels (1997) aka Marie Baie des Anges aka Angel Sharks directed by quasi-auteur Manuel Pradal (The Blonde with Bare Breasts, A Crime). A coming-of-age tale for eager ephebophiles and unhinged urchins alike, Pradal's pathologically playful piece of montage-ridden sensual cinema follows a classless teenage crook of the racially dubious sort and his would-be-touching but ultimately senselessly tragic love affair with a 15-year-old prostitute who routinely leads on moronic American sailors so she can steal their money. Filled with partially bare youthful flesh and incessant teen philistine delinquency, Marie from the Bay of Angels is like a frog The Blue Lagoon (1980) meets Larry Clarks Kids (1995) and Bully (2001) as directed by a young filmmaker that wishes he was the next François Truffaut yet got too hung up on Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of montage to tell a coherent story. Still, Pradal’s rather wanton work is an endlessly enthralling celluloid poem of sorts that, although somewhat like one long music video in structure, undoubtedly makes the Mediterranean seem genuinely beauteous, romantic, and even mystifying, even if it is crawling with deadly teenage delinquents that look like they crawled out of some of the most decrepit shacks from the South of France. Described by Stephen Holden of the New York Times as a, “dizzying paganistic ode to Eros,” Marie from the Bay of Angels indeed features pagan pageantry in the form of festive parade, as well as no moral compass, at least not a Christian one, as a low-class libertine work featuring prepubescent boys attempting to buy guns and getting wasting on vodka while crashing bumper cars, obscenely stupid American sailors acting like typical stupid ass Americans as rather repellant individuals lacking individuality that think the world is a gigantic whorehouse and treat native women a such, packs of adolescent frog morons attempting to steal cash and gash from whoever has the misfortune of crossing their rather wickedly wayward path, and a young girl that is just getting to know the power of her pussy but does not use it wisely because she just wants to have fun and gets bored banging old farts. A rather idiosyncratic flick with a somewhat timeless quality about it (indeed, at first I was not sure whether it was set in the present or the 1950s, but I guess that is the point as a work depicting the world in the age of Americanization) set in Promenade des Anglais along the Mediterranean at Nice, France, Pradal’s decidedly decant work is more of a cocktease than a explosive climax, though the film could not end more nihilistically with the death of a child or two and the total moral degeneration of the male antihero, who has a seemingly inbred face that only a white trash streetwalker could love. 

 Orso (played by non-actor Frédéric Malgras, a Russian gypsy, hence his ‘peculiar’ appearance) is not even an adult, but he is already a degenerate piece of untermensch trash who spends his days robbing beauteous bourgeois babes and naïve vacationers in the French Riviera when he is not riding around aimlessly on trains, catching a bumpy ride on his equally criminally-inclined friend's motorbike, or posing like a true moron with his beloved handgun, as if he is some sort of iconic filmic bad ass. Marie (played by ‘contemporary Brigitte Bardot’ Vahina Giocante in her very first film role) is a 15-year-old hooker who is a rather big bitch, especially when it comes to men who want to tear off her panties, but since she is underage, she has no problem luring in philistine American sailors who are just trying to get laid while aborad. Although more or less homeless, Marie’s pussy-peddling allows her the luxury of staying in a lavish suite in a fancy hotel, though a life of sub-high-class existence does not seem to do much to comfort her seemingly sullen soul. When Marie first meets antisocial Orso, she thinks he a major asshole, but after she sees him attempt to rob two large American sailors, who ultimately kick his scrawny little Romani ass, and commits various other petty yet oftentimes dangerous crimes, she becomes rather intrigued by him and begins to reconsider her dead-end life as a Lolita-like gold-digger. Although Marie takes advantage of being routinely wined and dined by pathetically pigheaded American soldiers, who think they are god’s gift to women yet do not even have the skills to impress an ignorant 15-year-old girl, she eventually realizes her heart yearns for the ugly teenage hood. When Marie ends up hitching a ride on a motorbike with Orso and his comrade, and the junior thief begins to feel up and down her thigh and nibbles on her neck, she falls in love and assumedly gets rather wet between the legs. Eventually, Orso and Marie decide to head to a secluded island they declare their love for one another via words and acts. Of course, scheming con Orso is well aware that his lover is a libidinous little whore and uses her as such, even getting her to dance provocatively on a pier to distract an old man and his son so that he can steal the old horndog’s boat. In an act of warped and reckless love, Marie also robs a handgun from one of her pussy patrons and gives it to Orso, who is more than a little bit delighted as he previously failed at attempting to procure a weapon after his blonde prepubescent middleman friend was robbed. Of course, as a born thief and ‘heterosexual Jean Genet’ of sorts (indeed, not only is he a small-time criminal, but his face is no less repugnant than that of the queer toad novelist), Orso cannot help but use his prized new weapon for pernicious purposes and eventually has the bright idea to rob a sweet middle-aged married couple that owns a bar. Of course, things go wrong and a struggle occurs between Orso and the bar owners that results in Marie accidentally receiving a fatal gunshot wound that ultimately brings the pubescent lover's touchingly romantic love affair to a totally avoidable premature end. After taking Marie’s corpse to the scenic villa of a beautiful young woman (Amira Casar) he previously robbed and shooting up all the televisions and surveillance cameras in the home while watching the Monaco Grand Pix race, Orso goes completely berserk and nonsensically kills his blonde prepubescent friend who, rather ironically, was supposed to help him find a gun (of course, had the boy found the gun before Marie did, she might still be alive, thus one can only assume that, in his warped logic, Orso blames his friend for his girlfriend's death). Indeed, in the end, what little hope that existed before has been irrevocably lost, with Marie dead and Orso becoming a coldblooded killer who wasted one of his friends in the most craven and pointless of fashions. 

 Featuring footage of the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix, riot-ridden patriotic soccer games that resemble fascist rallies, and fiercely festive carnivals with people dressed as pagan gods, Marie from the Bay of Angels is certainly like a cinematic vacation to one of the most addictively scenic and strangely romantic spots in the Mediterranean. With its blatantly and not so blatant nods to François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, and Eric Rohmer, among various others, Pradal’s film is also like a lurid love letter to the La Nouvelle Vague, albeit with an exceedingly fast-spaced editing style that the filmmaker (or his editor) seemed to have learned from watching one-too-many American TV commercials. A morally dubious celebration of juvenile delinquency and debauchery, Marie from the Bay of Angels is, not unlike Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish (1983) and the films of Larry Clark, a rare arthouse flick for the sort of teenager that does not dare admit that they like poetic art films, as it probably features enough salaciousness and visceral violence to keep most ADHD-addled adolescents happy. Undoubtedly, one of the more hilarious aspects of the film (and probably the only aspect of the film that acts as comic relief) is its less than flattering depiction of American sailors who, although dress in a classic fashion like the brutal semen demons from Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks (1947) and the sadomasochistic sodomites of Fassbinder’s Querelle (1982), are really just a bunch of arrogant and loudmouthed pansies who can barely scare off a gang of teenage boys and who do not have the balls to assert themselves onto young ladies (indeed, during one scene, a sailor awkwardly and disingenuously tells Maria that he loves her just so he can get in her pants). In one especially humorous scene, one of the sailors arrogantly proclaims, “It’s like purgatory here man…Every single woman is after my body,” while Marie looks bored to death while eating an expensive meal that the Yankee gentleman bought for her. When the American sailors eventually realize that Marie has no interest in them, they kick her out of their lives and treat her like total trash, telling her she “stinks” and whatnot, as if they are afraid of vaginas and need an excuse for not consummating coitus with her. While featuring next to nil nudity (aside from a pair of tits or two from a couple older women), Marie from the Bay of Angels certainly radiates raw youthful eroticism in a rather nicely nuanced fashion that even puts the uncensored ‘kiddy arthouse’ flick Maladolescenza (1977) starring Eva Ionesco to shame in terms of perverse adolescent poetry. For those that were hoping to enjoy Catherine Breillat’s 36 fillette (1988), but found the little lady lead to be a bit homely and the overall film to be plagued by banality and a rather foul feminist subtext, Marie from the Bay of Angels offers a delightfully debasing rollercoaster ride over the soothing surf and turf of the French Riviera that may be somewhat incoherent (the time frame of the film is nearly impossible to discern) and emphasizes style over substance, but it certainly never bores or wallows in pseudo-erotic/pseudo-intellectual pretense like most of the films that are halfheartedly churned out of frogland nowadays. Indeed, unlike The Blue Lagoon, there is an element of delectable danger to Pradal’s film that is quite rare to find in cinema nowadays.  Like a cultivated Kids with an uncommon respect for indigenous kultur and a complete disrespect for the plague that is American intervention, Marie from the Bay of Angels is like a The 400 Blows (1959) for the lost post-national generation that has nothing to believe in or live for, hence the nihilistic non-existences of the true Les Enfants Terribles of Pradal's rather bleak yet bewitching and epodic film.

-Ty E

Jul 20, 2014

Generation War

During the late-1970s, the American television network NBC produced a kitschy sentimentalist 4-part mini-series entitled Holocaust (1978) starring Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep and James Woods that was so popular in West Germany that, as German history Alf Lüdtke wrote in his essay Coming to Terms with the Past': Illusions of Remembering, Ways of Forgetting Nazism in West Germany, no less than 20 million Teutons (or about 50% of the country’s entire population) managed to see it, thereupon initiating a prevailing dialogue among post-Nazi Aryans about German culpability in the Second World War and thus ultimately demonstrating that Germans born after the war were much more susceptible to borderline tasteless propaganda of the hokey Hollywood-manufactured sort. While Holocaust more or less intrigued nearly half the entire German populous, many filmmakers associated with German New Cinema found the mini-series downright offensive, with auteur Edgar Reitz once complaining: “The difference between a scene that rings true and a scene written by commercial scriptwriters, as in HOLOCAUST, is similar to that between ‘experience’ and ‘opinion’. Opinions about events can be circulated separately, manipulated, and pushed across desk, bought and sold. Experiences, on the other hand, are tied to human beings and their faculty of memory, they become false or falsified when living details are replaced in an effort to eliminate subjectivity and uniqueness. There are thousands of stories among our people that are worth being filmed […] Authors all over the world are trying to take possession of their history […] The most serious act of expropriation occurs when people are deprived of their history. With HOLOCAUST, the Americans have taken away our history.” Luckily, Reitz and various other German filmmakers decided to respond by taking back their history by creating some of the greatest masterpieces of German New Cinema in what would be a reasonably successful campaign to counter carelessly contrived mythmaking works like Holocaust. Indeed, Reitz’s Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany (1984), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum (1979), Alexander Kluge’s Die Patriotin (1979) aka The Patriot, and Helma Sanders-Brahms’ Germany Pale Mother (1980), among countless other films, demonstrated that Germans had their own unique perspective regarding the Second World War and that they had much more to say than a couple of Germanophobic Hebraic Hollywood producers who would not dare set one foot in the country of poets and thinkers, as well as blood and soil. Unfortunately, as the somewhat recently released ZDF-produced German mini-series Generation War (2013) aka Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter (translation literally meaning “Our Mothers, Our Fathers”) makes quite clear, ethno-masochism and self-flagellation has only all the more engulfed the Teutonic Volksgeist since the release of Holocaust.

 Carefully marketed as a true and honest depiction of the Second World War from a supposedly ‘everyday German’ perspective of that time period, Generation War has been described by various moronic reviewers as everything from “pro-Nazi” to vehemently anti-Polish, yet it ultimately features much of the same sort of Zionist-produced sensational filmic feces that is routinely excreted out of Hollywood, as a work featuring a middle-aged SS officer deriving almost sexual glee from shooting a prepubescent Jewish girl for no apparent reason (in fact, the same SS man is later shown during the same episode with the kosher blood still on his neck (!), as if it was an honor for German soldiers to walk around with Jewish vital fluids on their body), as well as handsome and archetypically Aryan-looking SS officer giving his mistress a DIY abortion by punching her in the stomach as hard he can. Undoubtedly, what makes the mini-series offensive to Jews and left-wingers is that it clearly distinguishes between suavely dressed sadomasochistic Schutzstaffel psychopaths and the average and regular ‘apolitical’ Germans. A nearly 280-minute, three-part mini-series that tells the ostensibly dejecting story of five young adult friends—two brothers in the Wehrmacht, a novice nurse, an aspiring ‘diva,’ and a Jewish tailor—that meet for one last time in 1941 before going their separate ways and all experiencing a unique, if not similarly harrowing and dehumanizing, odyssey of destruction that spans a 5 year period and concludes with the capitulation of the Third Reich and the would-be-tragic deaths of two of the characters, Generation War essentially portrays the Germans as exceedingly naive  human whores that were unwittingly devoured and defecated out again by a cannibalistic Hitlerite machine with a gas chamber hidden in the back. A partially fantasy-based work where all Jews are portrayed as morally pristine supporters of Germany and a dashing Wehrmacht lieutenant hangs out with his Hebraic homey in public in 1941 as if it was common for Aryans and Jews to chill together and dance with young girls while listening to degenerate jazz music at that point in the war, the mini-series certainly sometimes borders on the absurd, so of course, it features enough sentimentalism to keep the average viewer from using their grey matter. A patently pathetic pity party without any real meaning or purpose where any sort of heroism that German soldiers may have had is completely discredited and where the average SS officer is portrayed as a sinisterly satanic sicko with an unquenchable thirst for the blood of god’s chosen tribe, Generation War is a complete abject mockery of the already relentlessly besmirched and reviled era of Aryans that it depicts and purports to tell truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about.  Of course, the series is really just a slave-morality-ridden fantasy that delights in portraying dishonor, dehumanization, desperation, and derangement, as if those are admirable qualities or something. 

 Beginning in Berlin 1941 on the eve of Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Generation War is narrated by a short Lieutenant named Wilhelm Winter (Volker Bruch) of the ‘Windhund Company’ of the Wehrmacht (German army) who has already seen action in both Poland and France and is about to take his equally short brother Friedhelm (played by perennial twink Tom Schilling)—a “bookworm who loves Rimbaud and Jünger” (despite the fact he is a patent pacifist and Ernst Jünger wrote Storm of Steel (1920), which is considered the rival work to pansy Remarque's 1929 anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front)—to wage war on the Eastern Front. Before leaving to destroy the Bolshevik beast in the east, Wilhelm and Friedhelm have a party with their lifelong childhood friends, which include would-be-singer Greta (Katharina Schüttler), novice nurse Charlotte aka Charley (Miriam Stein), and Jewish tailor Viktor Goldstein (Ludwig Trepte). While Charlotte is desperately in love with Wilhelm and he knows it, the soldier does not want to pursue a romantic relationship with her until after the war just in case he dies. A proud race-mixer and lover of degenerate American swing music, Greta is in a relationship with Jew Viktor, who was supposed to inherit his WWI veteran father’s tailor shop, but it was destroyed during the so-called “Night of Broken Glass” (aka Kristallnacht). Ultimately, the five friends’ last night together concludes after a super Aryan Gestapo agent named Sturmbannführer Martin Dorn (Mark Waschke) shows up and states, “I got a report of swing music with Jews.” Ultimately, Hebrew-humper Greta will become Dorn’s whore, as the barmaid uses him so she can weasel her way out of an incitement charge for playing swing music and further her career as a singer.  Indeed, despite developing a ‘Latin’ persona (she adopts the pseudonym ‘Greta Del Torres’), Greta ultimately sings for propaganda purposes on the Eastern Front. 

 Of course, it does not take long for the five friends to have their illusions regarding the 1000-year Reich destroyed. While Wilhelm is at first a highly respected lieutenant that has the complete allegiance of his men, he eventually becomes so completely disillusioned with the war after his entire platoon is eventually exterminated that he becomes a deserter, thus resulting in his arrest by Feldgendarmerie officers and sentence to death for treason, though he is eventually punished with being forced to become a member of a Strafbattalion (Penal Battalion) instead since Germany is losing the war and cannot afford to waste soldiers. Despite being initially an idealistic pacifist who hates the war and is even beaten up for cowardice and cynicism by his comrades, Friedhelm eventually becomes a cold and calculating, if not pathetic, killer, though he is almost killed at one point after being mistaken for a Russian soldier (he temporarily puts on a Red Army uniform to escape from a building that has been taken over by the Soviets). Luckily, Charlotte, who is a nurse on the Eastern Front, manages to save Friedhelm from a seemingly certain death. Believing Wilhelm is dead after being told such by Friedhelm, who could have sworn he saw his brother killed, Charlotte starts screwing the middle-aged head doctor at the field hospital she works at. After discovering that a middle-aged woman that she has hired to volunteer at the hospital, Lilja (Christiane Paul), is actually a Jew, Charlotte feels betrayed and gets the crypto-Judaic arrested. Meanwhile, Greta gets her fiendish fuckbuddy Dorn to create fake identity papers for Viktor so he can escape Germany, but the Gestapo agent betrays her and has her Jewish boyfriend shipped in a cattle car to a concentration camp, though the clever Hebrew manages to escape on the way upon learning that Jews are being slaughtered like lambs and he eventually joins up with some Polish partisans who are even more anti-Semitic than the SS, so he continues to shield his true identity. In the end, Wilhelm manages to survive the war by killing his sadistic Strafbattalion leader and heading back to Germany on foot, Friedhelm becomes an executioner/protégé of a Svengali SD officer named Hiemer (played by Sylvester Groth, who is best known for playing Goebbels in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009)) and later sacrifices himself to save a unit of Volkssturm soldiers that is largely comprised of young Hitler Youth boys, Charlotte is raped by a Soviet savage after her field hospital is overrun by bestial bolsheviks yet she manages to survive after the noble Jewess she once betrayed, Lilja, shows up as a Soviet officer and spares her life, Greta is imprisoned after telling Dorn’s wife about their affair and committing ‘Wehrkraftzersetzung’ (“subversion of the war effort”) and is later executed for her crimes, and Viktor manages to survive both the Nazis and Polish partisans. At the conclusion of Generation War, the three surviving friends—Wilhelm, Charlotte, and Viktor—meet back at the same bar they did in 1941 for a mostly melancholy reunion, with Germany being in complete ruins and Americans GIs occupying ever corner. In a major “fuck you” to the United States and its hypocritical utilization of Nazis after the Second World War (most infamously, during 'Project Paperclip'), it is revealed that SS officer Dorn, who punched his pregnant mistress Greta in the stomach before sentencing her to death, has been hired by American GIs, who are well aware about his infamous past, to work as a bureaucrat for the new ‘democratic’ West German government. 

 Undoubtedly, you know a film is plagued by self-loathing and self-pity, meekness and weakness, and spiritual castration when an American film like Sam Peckinpah’s Cross of Iron (1977), which is firmly anti-Nazi, manages to do a much better job at least portraying some Germans as stoic war heroes with titanic testicular fortitude. Indeed, Generation War seems like a pathetic plea created by a group of culturally cuckolded krauts who want to join the cult of victimhood like so many so-called minorities have. Seen by no less than 7 million German households when it premiered in 2013, this sub-middlebrow mini-series has now guaranteed that a whole new generation of Germans will go on looking at their grandparents and great-grandparents (why they absurdly decided to name the series “Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter” aka “Our Mothers, Our Fathers” is a complete mystery to me) as moronic cowards and opportunists who were easily duped into going to hell and back by a rather unimpressive dude with a Charlie Chaplin mustache. Undoubtedly, one of the worst lies associated with the mini-series is that it ostensibly does something revolutionary by depicting WWII from a reasonably objective perspective, yet this was already done many decades ago and in a much more intelligent and artistically merited fashion by auteur filmmakers associated with German New Cinema like Fassbinder, Syberberg, Reitz, and even a feminist like Sanders-Brahms and a Marxist like Kluge. What makes Generation War even more repellant than it already is, is that it feebly attempts to associate itself with the grand legacy of German history, as is especially apparent in a scene where a portrait of German expressionist master auteur F.W. Murnau appears briefly. Of course, the mini-series is really the putrid pansy production of self-loathing krauts that were bred on a steady diet of Hollywood swill growing up and have watched too many episodes of Band of Brothers (2001). Of course, the series also panders to Jews, with its token Jewish character Viktor and unflattering depiction of Polack partisans as bigger Heeb-haters than the Nazis themselves being quite blatant examples of this. 

 A ‘major event’ mini-series that is more or less as aesthetically and historically worthless as ABC’s Holocaust, Generation War is just more proof that the Germans will always be consumed with guilt and will never get over the Second World War, at least not anytime during this century. For anyone who wants to see a truly epic and truly Teutonic film that takes a sincere approach to German twentieth century history and the troubled relationships between different generations of Germans, you can probably do no better than Edgar Reitz’s mega-neo-Heimat movie Heimat, which begins with a shot of a boulder with the words “Made in Germany” engraved on it for good reason. Generation War, on the other hand, might as well begin with an inter-title reading, “Made in kraut cuckoldland where the spirit of Spielberg trumped Syberberg and where guilt is as good as gold.” Indeed, like a German Gone with the Wind where Scarlett O'Hara opts for suicide instead of bravely fighting on, Generation War depicts the physical and spiritual annihilation of an entire people, yet begs for shallow pity and contempt in the end instead of demanding the German people fight on, which is a sentiment that no one can truly respect, not even the perennially defeated Polacks in Poland or the dying Khoisan in South Africa. 

-Ty E

Jul 19, 2014

Wild Palms

 With the somewhat surprising, albeit rather brief, success of David Lynch’s cult serial drama Twin Peaks (1990-1991), a number of good, bad, and just plain ugly TV shows popped up during the early 1990s attempting to emulate the quirkiness, wild idiosyncrasies, and rampantly heterosexual campiness of the labyrinthine murder mystery, including the long-running Hebraic humored CBS series Northern Exposure (1990-1995), as well as the satirical horror-themed children’s show Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992). Unquestionably, one of the more inventive, esoteric, pleasantly peculiar, and somewhat shockingly underrated and unknown of these pseudo-Lynchian series is the five-hour dystopian mini-series Wild Palms (1993) which, somewhat undeservedly, has been referred to as 'Twin Palms' by certain reviewers ever since its rather anti-climatic release over two decades ago. Until rather recently, I had no idea the show ever existed and had it not been for my girlfriend’s obsession with a certain Danish musician named Loke Rahbek, who is probably best known for his work with the ‘synthpop’ group Lust For Youth and who recently released an album entitled The Wild Palms in tribute to the show for his solo project Croatian Amor, I would probably never have discovered it, let alone dedicated my time to it, as a miniseries starring James Belushi and Kim Cattrall and executive produced by Hollywood com-symp conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone is not something that I would typically find appetizing. Instead of paying cold hard cash for his latest album, Rahbek requires that his fans send a totally nude ‘selfie’ of themselves, with the seemingly debauched Dane’s patently preposterous reasoning being, “When you share your work with someone, it can be like showing your own skin – you are stripping naked,” but I digress, and should mention that Belushi had no idea what Wild Palms was about during the shooting of the work despite being the star and Stone had very little, if any, role in the creative aspects of the show (though, he does appear in a small cameo role as himself).  In fact, the mini-series was deemed so confusing by the executives at ABC that they opted to release a companion book entitled The Wild Palms Reader featuring background information and various tidbits/trivia about the characters, including a timeline, with decidedly deranged British tranny musician Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) of all people even contributing writings to the book.

 Admittedly, Wild Palms is a conspicuously convoluted major mess of ideas and recycled pastiche aesthetics that attempts to do too much in too little time, yet it is a strangely charming and compulsively curious convoluted mess that is rather critical of the same spiritually putrid place and people that it is about. A sort of ‘sunny cyber-neo-noir’ set in the now-no-longer-future year of 2007, Wild Palms is based on the comic strip of the same name by novelist/screenwriter Bruce Wagner (who penned the highly underrated 1989 satirical black comedy Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills directed by Paul Bartel), who once somewhat aptly described his insanely idiosyncratic brainchild as, “a sort of surreal diary […] a tone poem,” that deals with the still highly relevant themes like cyberspace (in fact, William Gibson, the sci-fi novelist who coined the word “cyberspace” in his 1982 novelette Burning Chrome, has a brief yet humorous cameo in the series), globalization, virtual reality, media manipulation, political and spiritual conspiracies, technocratic authoritarianism, trendy and powerful crackpot pseudo-religions/cults (i.e. scientology), and somewhat cryptically and unbelievably, the Jewish domination of not just Hollywood, but the media and politics in general. Indeed, as a work where the main L. Ron Hubbard-esque villain brags about his Jewish background and with virtually every other character featured in the series being ambiguously (they have traditionally Judaic surnames) or unambiguously Jewish (among other things, the character named Chickie Levitt played by ½ Jew Brad Dourif prays for the Jewish Kaddish), Wild Palms dares to expose the truth regarding the American postmodern plutocracy, albeit in an exceedingly esoteric way. Featuring a score by Japanese New Age composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, John Maybury's Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon) and countless references to film (i.e. Rebel Without a Cause, Alphaville, Seconds, Marathon Man, etc.) and literature (i.e. W. B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Sun Tzu, Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, Nathanael West, Ray Bradbury), Wild Palms is a work that is just too hermetically cultivated, fast paced, spastically edited, and morally ambiguous to have ever appealed to even a marginal  fraction of the general populous. The mystery-and-intrigue-ridden tale of an ostensibly happily married patent lawyer and family man who finds himself entangled in a series of mazes-inside-mazes and dreams-within-dreams after coming back into contact with an old lover and being hired by an evil TV corporation owned by a raving mad megalomaniac sci-fi writer turned religious leader turned presidential candidate of Jewish/Japanese extraction, Wild Palms is a work that only begins to make sense the more it progresses as a ludicrously labyrinthine piece of celluloid eccentricity that certainly pays off for those that dare to completely engulf themselves in neo-noirsh madness. Depicting a semi-surreal ‘occult war’ between a group of so-called ‘good guys’ called ‘The Friends’ (I would describe them as being ‘agathokakological’) and their supposedly ‘evil’ enemies ‘The Fathers,’ the mini-series demonstrates that the battle for world domination is no longer secluded to the physical realm, but virtual reality as well. 

Divided into five episodes (with the pilot being about 90 minutes and the rest of the episodes being about 45 minutes), Wild Palms begins with the seemingly clueless protagonist Harry Wyckoff (as played by an admittedly clueless James Belushi) having a midnight nightmare about seeing a random rhinoceros—a symbolic reference to Greek-Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco’s 1959 play Rhinoceros, which is an allegorical play about the transformation of the inhabitants of a small French town into rhinos that criticizes the rise of conformist/collectivist movements like communism, fascism, and National Socialism—in his empty backyard swimming pool. After staring at the rhino, Harry says to himself, “So this is how it begins” and wakes up to what is ultimately the beginning of a real-life nightmare set in 2007 Los Angeles. Harry is more or less happy with his intolerably whiny yet reasonably supportive wife named Grace (Dana Delany) who owns a chic clothing boutique and two young children named Coty (Ben Savage) and Deirdre (Monica Mikala), but after being approached by his sullen yet statuesque femme fatale ex-girlfriend Paige Katz (played by a black-haired and almost beautiful Kim Cattrall) about helping her to locate her long lost son, who was purportedly kidnapped many years ago, he will ultimately lose some of his loved ones and discovers that others are not really who he thought they were. Paige puts Harry into contact with media mogul/religious leader/aspiring president Tony Kreutzer (played by Robert Loggia who, quite notably, later appeared as a similarly crazed character in David Lynch’s 1997 film Lost Highway) who, aside from being the owner of the lawyer’s rival company Wild Palms Group and the warped bastard son of a murdered Jewish tailor and a woman of Japanese extraction who perished in an American concentration camp (Kreutzer makes reference to the FDR-approved Executive Order 9066, which cleared the way for Japs being rounded up and sent to so-called 'relocation camps'), is a powerful senator, the leader of ‘The Fathers’, and the exceedingly egomaniacal figurehead/godhead/high priest of the so-called Church of Synthiotics (which is modeled after Scientology and practices the technique of “Synthiotics” as opposed to the “Dianetics” technique of second-rate sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard’s pseudo-church). Unbeknownst to Harry, his mega-bitch stepmother Josie Ito (Angie Dickinson) is Tony’s sister, as well as one of the ‘Old Generals’ of the Fathers, whose ex-husband is Friends leader Eli Levitt (David Warner) and whose arch nemesis is an semi-ambiguously gay artist named Tully Woiwode (Nick Mancuso) who, on top of being described as the “Schnabel of the West Coast” and “The Merchant of Venice,” is also another top leader of the Friends. 

 While Harry’s daughter Deirdre is a mute, his son Coty is an evil little asshole with a sinister face that only a psychopathic Israeli settler could love and when the lethally loony lad becomes the star of a the ‘first holographic TV show’, Church Windows, he begins to plot for world domination, as the ‘Synthiotic heir’ of  his real biological padre Tony Kreutzer’s empire. Indeed, as Wild Palms reveals as it progresses, Coty is not really Harry’s son, but they are both closely related via Mr. Kreutzer, though it is not revealed until the end of the series how. Indeed, many decades ago, the Fathers started a pernicious program where they kidnap the progeny of their enemies and put them in Father foster homes so as to destroy their villains families and make them their spiritual slaves, with Harry’s femme fatale lover Paige being the product of such of an experiment as the daughter of a Friends journalist that was maliciously murdered by the killer Kreutzer crew. Unbeknownst to Harry, his black best friend Tommy Lazlo (Ernie Hudson) is a member of the Friends, the buttbuddy of artist Tully Woiwode (indeed, art fag Tully has a thing for dark meat), and assumed kidnapper of Paige’s lost son, among countless other deceits that have gone completely over the head of the rather naive patents lawyer.  After Tommy is arrested for the kidnapping of Paige's son, he is forced by the prison guards to take a highly addictive neo-psychedelic man-made drug called 'mimezine', which is used to enhance the experience of watching holographic television. While Harry begins to become rich and famous after agreeing to work for Tony Kreutzer, his wife Grace, who suspects Coty is not her real son and knows her hubby is carrying on an affair with his old lover Paige, begins to lose her mind and even attempts to commit suicide. On top of that, Harry learns that Coty is not really his son, but the progeny of Mr. Kreutzer and Paige. Ultimately, Coty moves in with with his real father Kreutzer and, despite being a prepubescent child, becomes the most ruthless leader of the Church of Synthiotics and develops a fetish for goofy white yuppie ship captain uniforms. It is also revealed that Harry’s mother-in-law Josie is really Mr. Kreutzer’s sister. While a majorly murderous and radically ridiculous bitch, Josie has a weakness for Friends leader Eli Levitt, who is the father of Harry’s wife Grace and genius cripple Chickie Levitt (Brad Dourif). Chickie was crippled and left for dead by the Fathers twenty years ago, but he went on to become the “Einstein of Virtual Reality” and the hardwire architect of the GO chip, which Kreutzer wants to get a hold of because it will enable him to become a “living hologram” and ultimately obtain seemingly infinite power. 

 When Harry slowly but surely begins to realize his boss Tony Kreutzer, who eventually marries Paige, is an exceedingly evil prick who plans to be the uncontested Führer of both reality and virtual reality, he begins to commit himself to working with the Friends—the so-called “shock troops of reality”—so the fiendish Fathers decide to kidnap his wife Grace and daughter Deirdre. Ultimately, Josie murder’s her own daughter (and Harry’s wife) Grace and Harry is framed for the crime via digitally manipulated footage of his wife’s death via strangulation. Meanwhile, Harry learns that a seemingly homeless twink-in-training named Peter (Aaron Michael Metchik), who has tattoos all over his chest and is a junior member of the Friends, is his real son (he and Coty were switched at birth). After ‘officially’ joining the Friends, Harry breaks into Kreutzer’s TV station and broadcasts footage of Josie strangling Grace to death. Meanwhile, neo-hippie revolutionaries begin waging guerilla warfare against the Fathers and their corporate entities.  Most of the Friends, as well as various other social rejects, live in an urban trash-filled underground realm called 'Wilderzone' that Tully Woiwode reigns over  While Friends leader Eli Levitt is executed after he is betrayed by ‘blind artist’ Woiwode (Josie blinds him by gouging his eyes and he eventually returns the favor) and the Fathers release more doctored videos of the Friends committing imaginary crimes, the revolution against Mr. Kreutzer and his empire of cyber-evil is already well underway. Indeed, although virtually every major member of the Friends is murdered and Mr. Kreutzer eventually manages to obtain the “Go chip,” the ‘good guys’ more or less triumph in the end. Before Mr. Kreutzer dissolves into nothingness after having the Go chip, which had been altered by members of the Friends, implanted in his body, he reveals that he is the Darth Vader of L.A. by telling Harry that he is his biological father, thus making Josie his aunt, Coty his ½ brother, deceased wife Grace his cousin(!), and Paige his mother-in-law. With his once seemingly indomitable father and most of his followers dead, micro-megalomaniac Coty finds his pseudo-spiritual technocratic empire in literal and figurative flames. Indeed, even the wild palm trees get scorched.  Assumedly, Harry, Paige, Peter, and Deirdre live happily ever after.

 A sort of purposefully aesthetically and dramatically plastic cyber-noir epic steeped in ancient Japanese mysticism, pathological postmodern aesthetic pastiche, Hollywood history, and western literary allusions contained within an intentionally superficial-looking dystopian L.A. of the near-future where reality is blurred in a fashion that falls in somewhere between the “rabbit holes” of Lewis Carroll, the radical reality-distorting quasi-erotic virtual realm of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983), the post-industrial/post-cultural/post-national sci-fi of Blade Runner (1982) and the novels of Philip K. Dick (especially his work The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), which also features a world where virtual reality TV is enhanced by a sort of cyber-psychedelic drug), Wild Palms certainly makes for a fairly consistently wild, whimsical, and wayward cinematic world to get lost in for five hours or so, even if it sometimes seems like it was edited in a nonsensical fashion not all that different from William S. Burroughs “cut-up” technique. Undoubtedly, one of the most provocative and shocking aspects of the miniseries is that the villains, The Fathers, and their rivals, The Friends, are portrayed as almost exclusively Judaic, thus making it a rare mainstream Hollywood production that deals with reality as opposed to an insulting fantasy realm featuring imaginary blue-eyed WASP devils preying on poor morally immaculate minorities (though, negro Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson is portrayed as a Christ-like martyr of sorts who gets hooked on a sort of blue cyber-crack that he is forced to take against his will). Also, I don't know about everyone else, but it was quite a therapeutic experience to see the Hebraic pube-headed dork of Boy Meets World (1993-2000) and Little Monsters (1989), Ben Savage, being portrayed as, well, a little monster that is ultimately more unsettling in his sinisterness than Ralph Fiennes’ absurdly over-the-top portrayal of Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List (1993). 

 With reasonably decent directing by the likes of Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Zero Dark Thirty), Keith Gordon (The Chocolate War, Mother Night), Peter Hewitt (Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?) and Phil Joanou (State of Grace, Heaven's Prisoners) and featuring an almost impenetrable tangled web of metaphysical, cyber, and political conspiracies that have at least some basis in reality/virtual reality, Wild Palms is certainly the most intricate and original project that Oliver Stone has ever gotten involved with, but of course, he had next to nil creative involvement with the mini-series. A work of meta-TV where a character remarks, “Nobody watches movies anymore…only TV,” while watching Rebel Without a Cause (1955) in a completely empty movie theater, the mini-series was made at a time when television was in a sort of Golden Age of creativity, but of course, nowadays the entertainment world more resembles the anti-reality realm of soulless pseudo-sentimentality as broadcasted by Wild Palms villain Tony Kreutzer’s aesthetically and spiritually malevolent media empire. An absurdly neglected show that is most certainly past ripe for a cult following, the mini-series arguably comes closer than any other American film or TV series in terms of depicting the eclectic evil and racial/spiritual character of Los Angeles. Also, as my girlfriend has noted, the show has some of the coolest character names in the history of television. After all, who does not love repeatedly hearing a name like “Tully Woiwode” repeated over and over again by kosher conspirators and their equally kosher enemies?! As a show where the main villain compares eternity to a cyst, Wild Palms is a rare piece of mainstream celluloid cancer that, whether intentional or not, eats away at the main malignant tumor that is Hollywood. Featuring a suicidal Japanese-American Star Trek fan who hilariously claims that his “grandpa liberated Dachau” and a Nordic-like stand-up comedian shouting, “Sieg Heil! Sieg Hologram! Sieg Mimecom!” in rebellion against an ultra-evil Jewish media mogul/messiah, Wild Palms also makes for a pleasantly preposterous mockery of the postmodern pandemonium that is American society, especially the totally fictional yet largely believed America that has been dreamed up by the culture-distorters of Tinseltown.  In terms of predicting the future just as all decent science fiction works do to some degree, the mini-series concludes with the mad messianic antagonist Tony Kreutzer, who is also mixed race (even if his archetypical Guido gangster appearance says otherwise), running for president in 2008, which is, incidentally, the same year that mulatto cultural marxist messiah Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency.  With that being said, one could argue that Wild Palms makes the future seems a little bit less dystopian than it actually turned out to be.  After all, despite being set in the late-2000s, the mini-series does not feature a single crotch-grabbing mestizo, meth-addled wigger, exceedingly effete Indian computer programmer, or blonde-wig-adorned 6-foot-tall tranny.

-Ty E