Sep 2, 2019


Although Gaspar Noé would probably never admit it, if there is anything that ties all of his films together thematically, it is how they, quite glaringly, depict the pre-apocalyptic decline of the Occident, especially the auteur’s adopted homeland of France. In fact, I would argue that Noé is probably the most perfect choice to direct an adaptation of Jean Raspail's classic racial dystopian novel The Camp of the Saints (1973)—a surprisingly darkly humorous and even salacious and scatological yet decidedly dejectingly prophetic work that depicts the destruction of Western Civilization via hostile invading third world hordes that are encouraged by ethno-masochistic traitors, nihilists, and ressentiment-ridden miscegenation victims—but we don’t live in a perfect world and thus just have to be satisfied with the auteur’s undeniably debasing yet nonetheless delectable works like his latest frenetically fucked dance-hall-horror feature Climax (2018) starring an ostensibly eclectic cast of mostly melanin-privileged non-actors of various shades (mostly dark!). Indeed, the film virtually (if not possibly unintentionally) depicts a sort of raunchy racial apocalypse of sorts in a sort of degenerate dance microcosm where sex and drugs lead to irrational race-hate, brutal murder, death of a child, and even grisly suicide, among other uniquely unsavory things that one has come to expect from a Noé flick. By no means Noé’s greatest feature (in fact, out of all the director’s previous works, his last feature Love (2015) is probably the only one that is clearly inferior), the just-over-90-minutes-feature has somewhat ironically received the best reviews of the auteur’s careers, as if the terminally ‘woke’ mainstream film critics missed the glaringly subversive racial subtext (or, even worse and not improbably, they enjoyed seeing a black-majority dance troupe commit quite literally savage hate crimes against mostly innocent whites, including a hot pregnant chick at the hands of a barbaric baldheaded black beastess). In short, as the film's title hints, Climax is an allegorical depiction of the French racial climate where all the vices of modern-day frogland—which range from gay pederastic miscegenation to Sapphic promiscuity to (sometimes involuntary) collective drug binges—act as a sort of convergence of social catastrophes that ultimately light the flame of genocidal race hate. Of course, considering this is a Noé flick, this ugly and dejecting material provides for endlessly enthralling and even sometime darkly hilarious material, as if the auteur was attempting to provide indelibly bittersweet therapeutic entertainment with plenty of raw and raunchy razzmatazz for Occidental Armageddon in the form of a quite literal (neo)Danse Macabre on bad psychedelic dope.

Not without good (and quite obvious) reason, ‘dance horror’ is an almost nonexistent sub-genre with only a handful of entries that include works ranging from Fulci’s tastefully tacky Murder-Rock: Dancing Death (1984) aka Slashdance to Peter Del Monte’s undeservedly obscure Etoile (1989) aka Ballet (as well as Aronofsky’s obscenely overrated rip-off Black Swan (2010)) to Tobe Hooper’s somehow watchable dystopian Masters of Horror entry Dance of the Dead (2005) to, of course, Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) and Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake. Of course, the above mentioned films range from insipid mindless trash to phantasmagorical gothic arthouse-horror, yet none of these cinematic works come even close to Climax in terms of seemingly perfectly interweaving dance with narrative and ultra-violence with pathos. A mere five-pages of script stretched out to 97-minutes of perversely pulsating orgasmic audio-visual potency, the film also manages to feel like a virtual filmic dance-of-drug-addled-death, as if the viewer is transported to the the realm of savage sensuality, senseless sadism and spiked sangria that positively pollutes the miserably multicultural blood-sweat-semen-and-urine-drenched dance floor. Additionally, while the film was shot in a mere 15-days, it takes the Rope (1948) route in terms of giving the impression that it was shot in a single night via one-take (apparently, the film was apparently actually inspired by the single-shot German film Victoria (2015) directed by Sebastian Schipper).

As one can be expected from Noé’s first feature to actually receive a mere R-rating, it is also his least explicit and arguably most accessible, though it is certainly not his worst and its rather curious racial politics are arguably more subversive than any of the more graphic scenarios from the auteur's arguable magnum opus Irréversible (2002) like the 10-minute long take rape of Monica Bellucci or the S&M sod getting his skull literally crushed with a fire extinguisher. In that sense, Noé makes fellow New French Extremity auteur Bruno Dumont—a pedantic (yet undeniably talented) intellectual that cannot help but constantly depict contrived ‘white racism’ in his films, as if that is some serious problem in the conspicuously cucked continent of Europa—seem like a timid little bitch boy that, despite his ambitious experimental approach to the cinematic form, strangely subscribes to an insufferably banal and ball-less basic bitch narrative when it comes to race, thereupon unfortunately irreparably tainting his entire oeuvre. Instead, the film has more in common with the first three features of Dumont’s underrated cinéma du corps superior Philippe Grandrieux, especially the beauteously brutal dance-and-synth-heavy La Vie nouvelle (2002) aka A New Life.

Undoubtedly, one of the most refreshing things about Noé is that, despite being an arthouse auteur of sorts, he is an inordinately unpretentious filmmaker that has no qualms about exposing his greatest cinematic influences. In fact, as his various films demonstrate, the auteur loves boasting about his personal cinematic favorites and Climax—an experimental exercise in both cinematic form and excess that only Noé could have conjured—is certainly no different in that regard. Indeed, at the beginning of the film, there is a shot of a vintage TV that is flanked by various vintage VHS tapes, including copies of Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 (1979) aka Zombie, Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends (1975) and Querelle (1982), David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977), Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), Jean Eustache’s The Mother and The Whore (1973), Argento’s Suspiria (1977), Christiane F. (1981), Jan Kounen’s Vibroboy (1994), and Gerald Kargl’s Angst (1983). Noé also apparently intended to include VHS tapes for crucial influences like John Guillermin’s The Towering Inferno (1974)—a film he credits as having an imperative influence on Climax—and Cronenberg’s Shivers (1975), but he unfortunately did not have copies of these cinematic artifacts.

Additionally, the TV is also surrounded by various vintage paperback books, including works ranging from Oscar Wilde’s prison ‘letter’ De Profundis (1905) to Georges Bataille’s classic (anti)erotic novella Story of the Eye (1928) aka L'histoire de l'œil to Carlos Castaneda’s pseudo-anthropological best-seller The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968) to Patty Hearst’s memoir Every Secret Thing (1982). Naturally, the auteur’s collection also includes some film books, including Lotte H. Eisner’s classic text Murnau (1973) and Luis Buñuel’s short but sweet cinematic memoir My Last Sigh (1982), among others. Undoubtedly an eclectic mensch, Noé also displays works by French Enlightenment philosopher Denis Diderot, gay (ex)Surrealist artist Pierre Molinier, French film critic and sometimes filmmaker/Jean Rollin associate Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, Swiss-German writer Fritz Zorn (of the decided downer of an autobiography Mars (1977)), Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin and, sadly, Freud. Personally, I was glad to see Noé’s collection of works by Teutonic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and his all-the-more-cynical virtual spiritual protégé E.M. Cioran. Aside from Nietzsche’s classic Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and the study Nietzsche (1925) by Austrian Jew Stefan Zweig, Noé curiously displays a copy of the literary forgery My Sister and I (1951). Purported to by written in 1889 or early 1890 during Nietzsche’s stay in a nut-house in the Thuringian city of Jena, the largely asinine apocryphal text, which reads like an unhinged parody’s of the philosopher’s writing, probably intrigues the auteur because it alludes to incest and other forms of degeneracy (apparently, David George Plotkin—the son of a rabbi—confessed to ghostwriting the book, which includes a number of obvious factual inaccuracies, including the Teutonic philosopher's unrequited love Lou Andreas-Salomé being described as a “Jewess”).  Undoubtedly, in terms of its various imperative cinematic, literary, and philosophical references, Climax can be seen as Noé's most overtly fan-boyish work which, in this case, is not a bad thing as he at least has respectable taste that does not involve the fetishization of superheroes or cartoon characters.

It is especially fitting that Noé included a copy of Cioran’s The Trouble With Being Born (1973) as the Romanian philosopher once described Paris as an “apocalyptic garage,” which is a pretty good way to describe the setting of Climax (of course, “apocalyptic school turned dance hall” is even more fitting for modern-day France considering the intellectual and racial deterioration of the country). The film is actually set in abandoned school that resembles some sort of snuff film factory in the largely culturally banal year of 1996 (and very loosely based on true events from that time). Opening with a clearly ironical title that reads “A Proudly French Film” juxtaposed with a French flag that covers the entire screen, the film is so innately and undeniably un-French that the so-called racial minorities are the majority and classic frog stereotypes like elegant romance and intellectual sophistication are completely nonexistent. Indeed, on top of only a couple of the character being actual white indigenous frogs, the majority are negroes who ultimately demonstrate many of the same grotesque negative racial stereotypes as their Afro-American counterparts (rather humorously, many of these black characters express the desire to travel to the United States as if compelled by some atavistic collective unconscious yearning). For example, every single interracial attack involves a negro irrationally brutally assaulting and/or stabbing a white, including an incestous black brother that brutally beats a white dancer for virtually no reason and then, in a moment of insane (yet all-too-common) irony, accuses him of “racism” and brands his forehead with a poorly drawn swastika. In short, whether by (possibly subconscious) intent or accident, the film unequivocally reveals the true contemporary racial climate of the Occident where indigenous whites are victimized while so-called minorities absurdly play the victim. Indeed, as belated French right-wing theorist Guillaume Faye noted in his penetratingly incisively theoretical swansong Ethnic Apocalypse (2019), “Out of sheer resentment, frustrated self-victimization, a decidedly vengeful and vindictive mentality and racism too, many of their members abhor France and long to destroy it from within.” Undoubtedly, the abandoned school setting of Climax certainly acts as a microcosm of France, so I don’t think Noé could have missed the grating irony when he opted to open intro to said setting with a large fancy title reading, “A Proudly French Film,” but then again Noé is a drug-addled dude and he might just be depravedly clueless enough to believe such an outstandingly absurd statement. On the other hand, the film also includes a inter-title reading “living is a collective impossibility” after the racial chaos erupts and I doubt that is a coincidence.  In short, the film demonstrates that diversity is a disease that metastasizes like a cancer until is breaks down the organic national body.

While I did not realize until after watching it for a second time, Climax manages to do the seemingly impossible by being a great film despite not having a single sympathetic or likeable character as if it is set in the real world where most people are not much more than uninteresting meat puppets looking to get fucked by other seemingly uninteresting meat puppets. Indeed, while I would typically like to root for the lone white dude David (Romain Guillermic)—a fairly stereotypical-looking swarthy frog that would be easy to forget in terms of appearance were it not for his curious skinhead-esque wardrobe, which includes a bomber jacket and Dr. Martens boots—I found him to be a fairly sleazy, low-class, and loathsome piece of rotten frog excrement and he almost deserves the nonsensical beating from the colored gentleman. Initially, kraut cunt ‘Psyché’ (Thea Carla Schøtt)—a slightly chubby blonde with a butch dyke hairdo and blank stare that hints at drug-induced psychosis/sociopathy—seems fairly reasonable as she explains how “I don’t want to end up like Christiane F” and doesn’t want to succumb the same incessant acid-dropping that has apparently consumed her Berlin buddies, but by the end of the film it becomes fairly clear that she is a completely crazed carpet-muncher that senselessly unleashed the LSD nightmare on the unwitting members of her violently ‘vibrant’ dance troupe. Indeed, as her compatriots are fighting, killing, being sexually reckless, and committing suicide and other forms of self-harm, Psyché manages to spend the entire night dancing her tiny dead cold heart out, though she does piss on the floor at one point in an arguably symbolic scenario that underscores her value and contributions to French society. On top of assumedly spiking the sangria with LSD, Psyché is a total cunt to her pseudo-blonde mystery meat girlfriend Ivana (Sharleen Temple), who rightly tells her “you’re so fucking fake” as she is a character that is completely devoid of organic personality and her recklessly venomous spiking of the sangria is in complete contradiction to her interview confession that she left Berlin to escape drug debauchery.  Meanwhile, David watches the Sapphic cat fight and rightly remarks to his negro pal ‘Omar’ (Adrien Sissoko), “Dyke stuff never works. They need cock. Both of them together, fuck it.” In the end, Psyché drops LSD into eye while her girlfriend Ivana cheats on her with arguable lead Selva (played by Sofia Boutella, who is the only real actor in the film). Needless to say, this film does not do much to help the cause of lesbianism, or so-called ‘alternative lifestyles’ in general, but that is what one has come to expect from a great post-sanity amoralist like Monsieur Noé.

While Hollywood and the grotesque globohomo elites love portraying negresses as glamorous ‘queens’ and other patent absurdities as arguably most insufferably exemplified in Theodore Melfi's tedious historical revisionist turd Hidden Figures (2016), Climax actually dares to depict a black woman as a brutal beastess of the most primitively evil form via a deathly dark dame named ‘Dom’ (Mounia Nassangar) who reveals certain sadistic self-control issues that involve attempting to kill unborn white babies. Indeed, in what is one of the more shocking scenes of the film, Dom—a baldheaded brute that might as well have a dick (and surely has a monstrously large clit)—brutally assaults a white chick named ‘Lou’ (Souheila Yacoub) in form of a couple kicks to her pregnant stomach. Unwillingly to believe that Lou didn’t drink the spiked sangria because she is pregnant, Dom not only attempts to give her a virtual abortion via kick-to-stomach, but also gets her negro friends to encourage the scared white girl to kill herself in one of the film's more disturbing scenes that is likely to infuriate any sane racially conscious cracker. Unable able to handle the racial hostility from Dom and her pack of predatory LSD-addled darkie dancers, Lou turns a knife on herself after initially attempting to fend off her attackers and eventually concludes the film in a bloody hysterical state crawling out of the building into the snow as if being brutally birthed from the fiery cunt of jungle juice hell into the relative safety of cold lonely white death. Of course, not all the interracial encounters are violent, as a fag negro DJ named ‘Daddy’ (Kiddy Smile)—a large yet goofy and (seemingly) harmless ‘black bear’ type—reveals a sort of depraved tenderness by deflowering a young gay boy of dubious racial ancestry name ‘Riley’ (Lakdhar Dridi) that was hoping to have his boy-pussy popped by straight white boy David. As for all the bizarre racial hostilities, they probably could have mostly been avoided were it not for the superlatively sleazy scheming of disgustingly degenerate white Aryan woman Psyché who would have been better suited for her parents' generation as a member of the Baader–Meinhof Gang. Either way, Climax is a film with a cast of apocalyptically cringey characters that inspire absolute aposematism and really underscore the sad (anti)humanist joke that is so-called multiculturalism. As the film (seemingly unintentionally) demonstrates, H.P. Lovecraft was certainly right when he wrote, “Race prejudice is a gift of nature, intended to preserve in purity the various divisions of mankind which the ages have evolved.”  After all, not a single character in the film would be in the shitty situation they find themselves in were it not for the existence of a Kalergian Europa;or, anti-Imperium par excellence!

Apparently, I am not the only one that noticed the film’s rather savage racial (sub)text, as a dumb twat that writes neo-commie claptrap for Yahoo Movies UK bitched in regard to the film, “Noe has said he wanted to show the regression of human nature, and CLIMAX does that, but in doing so he’s made black people look like the most violent and primitive race, and that’s the hardest thing about this movie to watch. It feels like an ugly step backwards when in recent years we’ve seen a cinematic movement to show the beauty of black culture which has served to ameliorate a faux image forced upon its people.” Of course, as this racially dubious lobotomized little lady fails to realize, all crime stats (not to mention good old-fashioned common sense) demonstrates that the film is completely accurate in terms of depicting the color of crime and race hate on the street level, especially in France where Africans and Arabs mostly excel in extralegal excesses and good visceral ultra-violence, among other things that the French media and culture elite do their darnedest to cover up (in fact, in the French Republic, it is even illegal to perform census in regard to racial and religious background). Surely, it is hard to imagine that average white French woman brutalizing the pregnant belly of a bulbous black beauty, but I digress.

Needless to say, the French have certainly forgotten the hard lessons of the so-called Haitian Revolution (aka ‘colonial Caribbean frog genocide’).  Had Noé gone the Hollywood-esque Bizarro World route and depicted an anti-reality dance floor of the damned where black scientists where preyed on by pretty-faced white boys in the same vein as kosher-certified crap like The Purge franchise, he would no longer be an artist and instead a spiritual eunuch-cum-whore that worships lies over truth like so many Tinseltown hacks. Needless to say, when Noé recently confessed that he hated the unintentionally absurd Afrocentric Marvel abortion Black Panther (2018)—a movie based on a comic book superhero that, not coincidentally, was sired from completely kosher, as opposed to colored, minds—and had to “escape the cinema after 20 Minutes” partly due to it being plagued with R&B music, all the usual suspects accused him of racism, thereupon confirming that Hollywood has finally indoctrinated enough mentally feeble automatons that aesthetic taste is now completely irrelevant and even denying liking big budget celluloid shit can cause you to be seen as a virtual thought criminal among the moronic mainstream.

Not long after first seeing Climax for the first time, I had the grand unexpected pleasure of wallowing in Marcel Carné’s coldly romantic masterpiece Port of Shadows (1938) aka Le quai des brumes. Despite featuring a number of dark elements, including art fag suicide, sexual exploitation, and a decidedly dejecting (yet nonetheless quite fitting) ending where a beautiful fresh young love affair is swiftly annihilated after the male lover is coldly gunned down like a rabid dog in the streets, Carné’s film contains a certain hope and romance that Noé’s nihilistic danse macabre is completely devoid of, thus underscoring the complete and utter spiritual degeneration of France as a whole. Indeed, had a fire broken out and every single character burned alive while screaming in great agony, it would still be impossible to care for the lost souls and miscreants of Climax—a film that is only orgasmic in the same way as a Viagra-driven moneyshot in a cheap contemporary fuck flick is. In short, Noé has his finger on the pulse of frogland, but there seems to be no heartbeat.

Notably, in his penetratingly incisively theoretical swansong Ethnic Apocalypse, Guillaume Faye argues, “Just like a baby viper that breaks its egg shell, the coming racial civil war is only in its humble beginnings […] The responsibility for this ethno-racial civil war, which has already been kindled, will be borne by our political, intellectual and mediatic elites and a statal apparatus that have conjointly been tolerating and enabling this colonizing immigrational flooding for a period of forty years. But remember—he who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.” Far from deserving to reap some sort of whirlwind, Noé, quite unlike any other modern-day French-language filmmaker, has consistently created films that are viscerally symptomatic of an innately sick and increasingly racially anarchic society that act as cinematic canary in a coal mine of sorts for a dystopian future that arguably can be seen as a sort of Haitian Revolution 2.0, albeit Islamic and more morbidly multiculti. I just hope that the auteur, not unlike his family emigrating from their native Argentina to France in 1976, manages to flee frogland before it is too late lest he experience something à la The Camp of the Saints that make the scenarios in Climax seem like good-humored child’s play.  Rather unfortunately, not unlike the characters in Noé's film, it seems there are very few places to run as globalization, reverse colonialism, and anarcho-tyranny has already engulfed most of the West.

In one of his most impossibly poetic aphoristic scribblings, Friedrich Nietzsche—a painfully introverted mad man that was probably too shy and timid to dance—declared in regard to the seemingly otherworldly quality of dance, “What a host of things can be accomplished by the state of intoxication which is called by the name of love, and which is something else besides love!—And yet everybody has his own experience of this matter. The muscular strength of a girl suddenly increases as soon as a man comes into her presence: there are instruments with which this can be measured. In the case of a still closer relationship of the sexes, as, for instance, in dancing and in other amusements which society gatherings entail, this power increases to such an extent as to make real feats of strength possible: at last one no longer trusts either one’s eyes, or one’s watch! Here at all events we must reckon with the fact that dancing itself, like every form of rapid movement, involves a kind of intoxication of the whole nervous, muscular, and visceral system. We must therefore reckon in this case with the collective effects of a double intoxication.—And how clever it is to be a little off your head at times! There are some realities which we cannot admit even to ourselves: especially when we are women and have all sorts of feminine ‘pudeurs.’ . . . Those young creatures dancing over there are obviously beyond all reality: they are dancing only with a host of tangible ideals: what is more, they even see ideals sitting around them, their mothers! . . . An opportunity for quoting FAUST. They look incomparably fairer, do these pretty creatures, when they have lost their head a little; and how well they know it too, they are even more delightful because they know it! Lastly, it is their finery which inspires them: their finery is their third little intoxication. They believe in their dressmaker as in their God: and who would destroy this faith in them? Blessed is this faith! And self-admiration is healthy! Self-admiration can protect one even from cold! Has a beautiful woman, who knew she was well-dressed, ever caught cold? Never yet on this earth! I even supposed a case in which she has scarcely a rag on her.”

 Of course, in Climax a dancer crawls in the cold as she bleeds out and a darkie danseur even freezes to death, which is quite fitting as Noé’s nasty little celluloid dance number feels like the sardonically vengeful ghost of Cioran ruthlessly raping his one-time-hero Nietzsche’s inordinately elegant words, though these characters would caught by what might be charitably described as a ‘triple intoxication’ and it is hardly of the relatively wholesome sort Nietzsche alludes to.  Undoubtedly a film with a deceptively simple title that inspires many meanings, Climax—an oftentimes uncomfortably captivating cinematic work that is certainly not the Nietzschean ideal of Dionysian yet Dionysian nonetheless—depicts the last gasp of the Occident in a maniac microcosm where Mother Africa quite literally delivers a blow to a pregnant France (carrying, rather fittingly, a literal bastard) and where there is not white man to provide the white women the appropriate dance ‘intoxication’ (in that sense, the degenerate ghetto dance numbers are quite apt as they allegorically express the aesthetically and culturally debauched state of France as a whole).  After all, as Noé once said himself,  “all history is written in sperm and blood.”  In the end, it will not just be France and its indigenous white population that are swallowed up by the multiculti nightmare, but eventually everyone and everything just like virtually every single character in the film.  Until then, one can only hope that Noé continues to devour drugs and and remember that, “one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

-Ty E

Jul 31, 2019

The Beach Bum

As of late, it has become quite trendy among certain circles to hate the so-called ‘Baby Boom Generation’ (aka people born between 1946 and 1964) and—considering the current super sorry pre-third world state of the United States—rightly so. Sure, subsequent generations like Generation X and Millennials are certainly not much better, but it was ultimately the Boomers—the most spoiled and, in turn, narcissistic and materialistic, generation in all of recorded human history—that was responsible for gleefully disposing of the ostensible ‘everyday fascism’ of traditional values and embracing so-called ‘free love,’ feminism, abortion, xenophilia/multiculturalism, and pretty much every single other social ill that has led to the steady decline of the United States, especially among the nation’s increasingly dwindling white majority.  Needless to say, the stereotypical boomer mentality is innately insufferable but of course Hollywood—the innately anti-Occidental social engineering system that regularly churns out infantile agitprop disguised as mindless entertainment that is responsible for brainwashing these people their entire lives, hence their total devotion to glaringly socially deleterious things ranging from the counterculture movement to greasy fast food—has rarely dared to openly outright mock its greatest supporters, at least until relatively recently in a somewhat unexpected form. Indeed, with his latest feature The Beach Bum (2019), (ex)junky auteur Harmony Korine—a Judaic director that has demonstrated a somewhat strange but not unexpected lifelong disdain for white people in general both in interviews and cinematically—has directed what might be the anti-boomer film par excellence to the point where he even managed to get boomer icon Jimmy Buffett to appear in the film. More than just an assuredly absurdist assault on boomers and their spiritually hollow pseudo-pagan hyper hedonistic tendencies and asinine aesthetic interests, the film also makes a mockery out of various other white American (pseudo)cultural trends since then, including negrophilia, JNCO jeans, lame mainstream rock like Creed, cracker-safe pop rap like Snoop Dogg, soulless extravagant weddings (that soon predictably end in divorce), beach party chic metrosexualism, and the most uniquely uncultivated form(s) of libertinism, among various other ludicrously loathsome things that remind one just how painfully culturally and spiritually retarded the United States really is.

As I regrettably predicted well over a decade ago, Korine seems to have suffered the same auteur curse as Orson Welles in terms of being unable to top his debut film Gummo (1997)—the lapsed junky filmmaker’s indubitable magnum opus—though I would argue that his latest couple more-mainstream-friendly films are certainly an improvement from where his career was headed for a while. Indeed, while his second feature Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) was a worthwhile experiment that highly benefited from an unforgettable acting performance from Werner Herzog, his third feature Mister Lonely (2007)—his first flick in almost a decade of sad dope-addled stagnation—was mostly a contrived bore and fourth Trash Humpers (2009) seemed like a half-hearted kosher con and rip-off of the organically grotesque aberrant-garde camcorder excursions of Hollywood actor turned true lumpenprole auteur Giuseppe Andrews like Trailer Town (2003) and Period Piece (2006). While Korine demonstrated some promise with the occasional interesting short like the jungle bunny fever dream Act Da Fool (2010) and Umshini Wam (2011) starring zany South African wigger rap group Die Antwoord, it was only with Spring Breakers (2012) that Korine refined his new aesthetic and managed to make a relatively mainstream film that knowingly and winkingly (and, some might say, cynically) mocks the mainstream. Undoubtedly, The Beach Bum, which features a somewhat similar nasty neon Florida aesthetic to Spring Breakers, goes even further and takes a humorously hypnotic approach to what can probably best described hyper hokey hyperrealism.  Indeed, featuring sun-soaked hick hobos and preposterously wealthy and equally effete negro dope dealers in their own totally tasteless and tacky vision of heaven, Korine's latest cinematic effort is a surprisingly feel-good-flick that paradoxically manages to inspire a magnificent misanthropy, as if the glistening sunny shots featured throughout the film are a sort of slyly sardonic foreshadowing of the apocalypse.  The film also manages to reinvent the stoner film in the sense that it will probably completely dumbfound the average stoner and completely ruin their much undeserved ‘good vibes.’

Virtually borrowing its ostensibly seductively sleazy melodramatic shell from the hit David Duchovny Showtime TV series Californication (2007-2014) in its degenerate dramedy approach to a hedonistic once-popular struggling writer (or, in this case, pothead ‘poet’) with a similarly fucked family life that includes a reluctant soulmate and a sassy daughter, Korine’s undeniably visually flavorsome flick also winks at (or, probably more accurately, goofily mocks) such classic pothead pictures as Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993) also starring Matthew McConaughey, the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski (1998), and Terry Gilliam’s Hunter S. Thompson adaptation Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). Indeed, just as Korine seemed very much stuck in the late-1990s MTV realm when he directed Spring Breakers (in fact, in interviews, Korine explained that he was at least partly inspired to direct the film due to personally missing this rather retarded rite-of-passage as a kid), The Beach Bum feels very much like the result of the auteur getting the idea for the film after binge-watching classic 1990s pothead flicks while high on weed, LSD, and/or Pabst Blue Ribbon (which, rather fittingly, is featured prominently throughout the film). Ironically (or not so), the film is also just as re-watchable as the most re-watchable of these classic cult stoner films, as if Korine wanted to ensure that the film would also become a timeless THC-tinged classic for the dope fiend filmgoers that it so merrily mocks. Considering that the boomer generation seems hopelessly stuck in the past (as marijuana abuse tends to do that to people), it is only fitting that the titular antihero portrayed by McConaughey is an exceedingly emotionally immature and infantile culture vulture that is like a virtual shit-magnet for virtually every superlatively shitty fashion and cultural trend from the late-1960s to late-1990s. In that sense, it makes perfect sense that the film stars such outmoded Afro-American pop culture figures as Snoop Dogg and Martin Lawrence alongside lame boomer ‘yacht rock’ favorites like Jimmy Buffet and Bertie Higgins. In short, like with his greatest films, Korine reveals with The Beach Bum that he is a sort of Talmudic alchemist by turning radically rancid goy shit into strangely refined kosher comedy gold.  Despite being indubitably Korine's most ludicrously lowbrow cinematic effort to date, there is a certain meta-tacky genius to the processions that really underscores the auteur's particular pathology-ridden ‘genius.’

 As pretty much everything about it, most notably its title and the character’s appearance, demonstrates, the film’s antihero is supposed to be a lovable-piece-of-hyper-hedonistic-hippie-white-trash-shit that is strangely traditionally American due to his somewhat dubious underdog status and shameless lack of cultivation and pretense, but an early scene in the film unequivocally exposes the fact that ‘Moondog’ (Matthew McConaughey)—a deceptively merry man that seems to bask in the idea of living in a modern-day Sodom of sun, surf, and semen—is a much more malevolent and malefic figure than his ‘hippie hobo chic’ persona and ‘perennial party’ lifestyle hints at. Indeed, while at a less than jamming Jimmy Buffet gig where he is a sort of low-key guest of honor, Moondog gets on stage and engages in a little self-described “poetic foreplay” and declares with a sort of sordid sinister smirk and understated foreboding menace, “One day, I will swallow up the world [laughs] And when I do, I hope you all perish violently,” thereupon demonstrating with one easy-to-miss line of dialogue that he is actually a very evil, albeit lazy, man the fetishizes a sort of savage Armageddon and ultimately the extermination of mankind as a whole.  Undoubtedly, what becomes immediately obvious about Moondog is that, despite apparently having a legendary reputation as a poet, his ostensible poetry basically ranges from incoherent gibberish to pornographic swill and he even prides himself on stealing great lines from great poets of the past. For example, Moondog brags to his best friend ‘Lingerie’ aka ‘Rie’ (Snoop Dogg)—a pathetically pot-plagued drug dealer and rapper whose ghetto-flavored arrogance is only transcended by his effete excess—that he once plagiarized D. H. Lawrence for a 7th grade poetry contest and proudly “won that motherfucker.” Despite his relative lack of pretense, Moondog—a sort of severely sun-tanned Shmendrik boomer king—is also not beneath berating his hobo homies for not immediately recognizing the decadent poetry of Charles Baudelaire.  Despite usually being so stoned and/or drunk that he can barely stand properly on both feet (in fact, the character has a peculiar posture and similarly goofy gait in general), Moondog is also not beneath putting up a preposterous tough guy front and stating unintentionally humorous things to wimpy Hebraic lawyers like, “I write poetry you little bitch.”

In short, Moondog is like a modern-day American equivalent to French decadent Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud if Rimbaud kept writing poetry well into middle-age instead of quitting at age 21 and sans the poesy prowess. Of course, even as a young teenager, Rimbaud never wrote anything nearly as retarded as Moondog self-satisfied words, “I was thinking about you. And I got up at about 4:00 a.m., and I had to take a piss, as guys do, and I looked down at my dick…and I had such affection in my heart when I did. Knowing that it had been inside you twice today…made me feel beautiful.” Notably, Rimbaud, who was also heavily influenced by Baudelaire, did seem to live by a personal poetic philosophy at the age of 16 that is quite similar to Moondog's as indicated by his words in a letter to his benefactor Georges Izambard: “I'm now making myself as scummy as I can. Why? I want to be a poet, and I'm working at turning myself into a seer. You won't understand any of this, and I'm almost incapable of explaining it to you. The idea is to reach the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. It involves enormous suffering, but one must be strong and be a born poet. It's really not my fault.”   Of course, while Rimbaud knew when to quit and decided that being a wandering merchant would be a much more preferable trade to scribbling lines before dying at a fairly premature age, Moondog is essentially a whacked-out wastrel living on borrowed time, or so he discovers after being forced to confront the complete and utter unsustainability of his particularly parasitic existence after his sugar momma unexpectedly croaks.

 Not unlike many self-described ‘artists’ and ‘poets’ in the United States, Moondog is, above all else, an all-consuming lecherous leech that is only able to maintain his hippie dip-shit poet lifestyle because he is wealthy; or, more specifically, he is very much the piss poor product of misguided generosity and lives off the wealth of his wanton mud shark wifey Minnie (Isla Fisher), who is actually deluded enough to believe that her serial philanderer hubby is a ‘genius’ and ‘great man.’ In other words, the only reason that Moondog is able to posture as a poet instead of a bum and maintain an extravagant lifestyle of unhinged bacchanalian buffoonery is because he lives off his would-be-hot-and-hip whore heiress wife, so naturally the antihero is placed in a somewhat precarious situation when his spouse tragically dies in a car crash and he is forced to fend for himself in what ultimately proves to be his own sort of softcore sativa-driven ‘mein kampf’ and the central (non)plot of the film. Indeed, for the majority of the film, the viewer watches as Moondog wanders around aimlessly and recklessly while he attempts to finish “the next great American novel” so that he can obtain his inheritance, which is frozen in escrow. Wisely (and, ultimately, quite prophetically) fearing that Moondog would “piss away her family fortune,” Minnie put a special clause in her will that her husband would not be able to obtain his inheritance until he cleaned up his life and finished his latest book. As can predicted in an anti-Hollywood film disguised as a Hollywood film that devilishly plays with mainstream genre conventions to the point of practically projectile-vomiting these mostly negligible narrative ingredients onto the viewer's face, Moondog naturally accomplishes this relatively simple task with a certain grotesque burn-out gusto, but not before going on an absurdist odyssey of magnificent idiocy to pothead purgatory that involves arrests, court-ordered drug rehab, escaping from rehab with the help of pyromaniacs, degenerate dolphin tours, and dauntingly dumb drug-smuggling flights with old blind negro pothead pilots, among other moronic missions. Needless to say, Moondog naturally kind of just falls into certain situations as he is a high time preference moron that seems incapable of planning ahead and instead just goes with the flow, especially when he has a steady flow of pot and booze as fuel. In fact, even Moondog’s new book is nothing more than recycled crap from his various drunken readings at seaside dive bars, as he is not the sort of guy that expends too much energy on anything, including his great ‘gift’ of the written word. Rather humorously and in a fashion that makes a grand mockery of the entire positively positive happy endings of hollow Hollywood films, Moondog even manages to secure the coveted Pulitzer for his latest collection of infantile scribbling, but then again Tyehimba Jess also once won one thereupon making the prize seemingly worthless nowadays. 

 There are many less than noble traits that epitomize boomers and the conclusion of The Beach Bum is certainly quite symbolic of the most loathsome of boomerisms. Indeed, after finally securing his inheritance of $50 million, Moondog buys a big boat that he idiotically names “success” and has the rest of the money placed on boat for a huge party involving fireworks, or as he states, “None of that sparkler bullshit that impresses lesbians, pregnant women and babies. No, no, no, let’s-let’s Valhalla this motherfucker.” Needless to say, Moondog, who is no Nordic god, destroys the money by setting it on fire in an allegorical scene that echoes the boomer propensity towards mindless consumerism and wasting money in general whilst refusing to plan for the future (hence why so many boomers are unable to retire and/or do not plan on leaving their children any sort of inheritance despite their relative financial success in life). Like the eponymous bum played by Michel Simon in Jean Renoir’s classic subversive frog comedy Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)—a film that clearly had an imperative influence on The Beach Bum—Moondog merely drifts away on a raft in the end and, to quote the classic frog comedy, the antihero is, “back to his old vagrancy, a free spirit once more.” 

 Admittedly, I lost a lot of respect for Korine after seeing him on a 2010 episode of the show Into the Night with... where he routinely complains about “white people” and even becomes noticeably dejected when Gaspar Noé informs him that he is not of the Hebraic persuasion as the Judaic director had long assumed. Undoubtedly, such sentiments hint that he was merely mocking the hopelessly hapless honkies in his magnum opus Gummo and Trash Humpers was nothing more of a grotesque continuation of such keen kosher supremacist sentiments, as if the aberrant auteur saw elderly Caucasian confederates as the most horrific (subhuman)beings in the entire world. Despite these glaring Hebraic hostilities, Korine has unequivocally demonstrated a sort of playfully savagely sardonic contempt for people of various races and creeds, including his own. Indeed, in the film, Jonah Hill—arguably the most insufferable young kosher comedic actor working today—portrays Moondog’s superlatively sleazy (and covertly kosher) agent ‘Lewis,’ who reveals himself to be the ultimate walking-and-talking Der Stürmer-esque stereotype by bragging with a certain awe-inspiring combination of hubris and chutzpah, “You know what I liked the most about being rich? You can just… be horrible to people, and they just have to take it.” Indeed, lecherous Lewis, who apparently once attempted to molest Moondog’s (then-underaged) daughter, looks and sounds like the mud-dwelling Cajun wigger nephew of Harvey Weinstein in what is probably the sole tolerable performance of Hill's mostly radically repugnant career.

Korine also playfully mocks the stereotypical bourgeois Jewish nuclear family unit in the form of the less than lovable Lipschitz family, who have their own atonal theme song that is proudly sung by their fat and bald doctor patriarch that seems like the sort of physician that would have secret cameras hidden around their practice. Luckily for the lovely Lipschitz family, they have enough money to go on an ostensible ‘dolphin tour’ where they pay witness to the fact that sharks like dark meat after a negro named ‘Captain Wack’ (Martin Lawrence)—a singularly inept (supposed) Vietnam War vet and dolphin tour guide dude that, despite accidentally causing the deaths of a number of his previous costumers, somehow always manages to get his permits reinstated (or so he gleefully brags)—has his foot bit off by a shark in a scenario that provides Moondog great grotesque giggles. Undoubtedly fulfilling various highly negative racial stereotypes, Captain Wack not only feeds his pet parrot cocaine and has had only license revoked numerous times due to the deadly nature of his sub-amateur dolphin tours, but he is also so supremely and surreally stupid—to the point of savagely mocking similar beloved black characters from stereotypical semitic stoner flicks—that he sincerely believes he that loses his foot as a result of dolphin with sharp teeth as opposed to a gam of sharks, but of course no character is more patently pathetic and insipidly idiotic as the titular antihero. 

 While The Beach Bum superficially depicts Moondog as a mostly harmless fun-loving Florida Keys freak whose ludicrously lurid ‘laissez-faire’ approach to life is supposed to be admired, the film gives the viewer enough clues to make it quite clear that the protagonist is nothing if not a putrid piece of shit of the ludicrously lonely and sorry sort and his hyper hedonism is nothing more than a pathological coping mechanism for such innate internal misery. Indeed, at the beginning of the film, Moondog not only frankly admits to his wife that, “I’m a bottom-feeder. I got to go low to get high. You know that,” but he also rather revealingly confesses in a rare candid non-clownish moment of pathetic self-reflection, “I don’t have any friends.” Indeed, while Moondog is almost always depicted with other degenerates and debauchees, these supposed friendships are nothing more than displays of mutual parasitism and exploitation where they merely encourage drug abuse and mindless/loveless sexual savagery. Arguably most revealingly, despite presenting himself as a sort of tie-dye Don Juan that is down to drive his dick into any wet and wild hole, Moondog is a literal emasculated cuckold whose wanton wife carries on a long-term affair with his supposed best friend (also, rather revealingly, Moondog is depicted simply performing lifeless cunnilingus and slavish foot fetish shit on his wife, as if he is simply incapable of asserting himself on her like a real man). Naturally, the same best friend, Lingerie—a dope-dealing gangster with his own personal thug mercenary force—not only talks Moondog into making a total fool of himself by encouraging him to wear drag (notably, it is ultimately for no reason, as the antihero's drag garb is almost indistinguishable from his everyday colorful crap kitsch costume), but he also gets him involved in possibly deadly behavior, including smuggling drugs in a plane flown by an elderly and nearly-blind Rastafarian negro in what seems to be Korine's ironic nod to the Snoop Dogg celluloid turd Soul Plane (2004).  Undoubtedly, virtually all of Moondog's behavior ultimately demonstrates that he has very little concern for human life, especially his own, but of course such is the natural result of the pathetically outmoded “Turn on, tune in, drop out” Weltanschauung that he so slavishly abides by.

 While The Beach Bum can certainly be compared to such prestigious films as Boudu Saved from Drowning and the rare bawdy guido cult flick like Pasolini's protege Sergio Citti's Casotto (1977) aka Beach House, it also manages to be quite comparable to some of the worst celluloid trash in film history, including the somehow-sometimes-entertaining celluloid turd National Lampoon's Last Resort (1993) starring Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. Also, if the eponymous corpse of Weekend at Bernie's (1989) was reanimated as a dope zombie that fed on cheap beer, expensive weed, and piss poor untermensch pussy instead of human brains (which he could surely use), the creature would not be far off from Mr. Moondog as such a soulless scum-sucking sod barely carries any qualities that can admirably be described as human. In short, the sort of Sunshine State surrealism of The Beach Bum makes for an insanely ironical aesthetic when one considers the sheer and utter blackness that is indelibly marinated into Moondog’s sad little forsaken heart, subtly splenetic psyche, and cobwebbed abyss-like soul. Of course, one should not expect anything less from a film where slapstick humor is derived from the senseless abuse of elderly women and the brutal beating and robbery of paraplegic boomers by JNCO-sporting-and-Creed-loving evangelical pyromaniacs.

When Moondog literally burns his entire fortune at the end of the film, it almost seems like a moment of great allegorical purity as if to symbolize the complete and utter incineration of the plastic post-hippie pseudo-culture that pretty much epitomizes every single generation since the boomers, though that would be too generous of an interpretation, especially considering that the protagonist—like so many (self)destructive white trash types—survives the ordeal. Instead, Moondog’s coastal cash holocaust more symbolizes the all-consuming and all-destructive force that is demonic boomer plague than any sort of ‘Baptism by Fire.’  Undoubtedly, the cultural, aesthetic, and racial retardation of this plague is probably best highlighted in a scene where Jimmy Buffett and Snoop Dogg sing a song together in what is arguably the most accursed and cringe-worthy duet in all of human history. In that sense, Korine has certainly further refined his aberrant anti-aesthetic since Spring Breakers, as no one could dream up such dauntingly disgusting audio-visual vile with a sound mind, thus confirming the auteur’s place as America’s greatest and most artistically ruthless Judaic troll. Indeed, Korine does for his tribe what Sam Hyde and Million Dollar Extreme do for good goys and gals in terms of his anarchistic use of anti-humor, including the implementation of lovably grotesque racial caricatures that rape and ravish the soul with a twisted smile. 

 Undoubtedly, it is hard for me to imagine any intelligent person watching Korine’s film and not coming to the logical conclusion that the success of Snoop Dogg—both the real ‘man’ and his clearly quite autobiographical character ‘Lingerie’—symbolizes the height of clown world absurdity and mass cultural retardation in that that someone so decidedly dope-addled, dimwitted and delinquent could be so rich and famous to the point of being an ostensibly wholesome household name, which is one of the things The Beach Bum (seemingly unintentionally) really underscores in its hyper hokey hyperrealist hysteria. Of course, whereas Snoop Dogg epitomizes every negative stereotype of the ‘successful’ American negro as a self-centered snake that has gotten wealthy off promoting various forms of degeneracy to his own people (not to mention that various white philistines that love him), Moondog—a racially deracinated doper that is ruthlessly cuckolded by his beloved wife and supposed best friend—is a sort of anti-Faustian man as a proudly aimless anti-mensch that represents that antithesis of every great quality of white European men of the past. In short, Moondog is a spiritually castrated pile of dog shit that has even eclipsed Nietzsche’s last man in terms of abject worthlessness and passivity. While Moondog seems to be mindlessly striving for a completely intangible state of immaculate Ataraxia, he really just enjoys basking in the nefariously necrotic asshole of Sunshine Sodom, especially since it requires the least bit of physical and mental exertion to embrace such a licentious loser life. An excremental expression of the moronic mongrelized Hollywood joke of American (anti)alchemy, Moondog is human manure preposterously elevated to the level of a sort of great literary aristocracy that lives a hedonistic lifestyle worthy of ten debauched kings; or, in short, Korine's most ambitious joke yet.  Unfortunately, it is still no Gummo—joke or no joke.

 While it is well known that Korine is an (ex)junky, his pothead status seemed slightly more dubious, at least until he released Spring Breakers and especially The Beach Bum, the latter of which could have only been misbegottenly conceived by a full-fledged ganja glutton. Notably, out of all the Hebrews that I have ever personally known, every single one of them was a full-fledged pothead, including accountants, social workers, robotic students, and self-loathing anti-Zionists far-left wankers (notably, one chosenite I briefly befriended, whose father was apparently a bigwig at the Smithsonian Institution, claimed his entire family smoked, including an elderly uncle that was some sort of ‘weed scientist’ that hooked up all his other family members with high-grade pharmaceutical dope). Of course, the pathetic proliferation of cannabis-crusted kosher comedies reveal that there is a sort collective reefer madness among the tribe and Jewish film scholar Nathan Abrams has highlighted this less than flattering fact in his book The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema (2011). For example, when discussing Hebraic hack Judd Apatow’s miscegenation abortion Knocked Up (2007), Abrams notes, “Rogen plays another schlubby (Yiddish: clumsy, stupid or unattractive) Jewish stoner, Ben Stone […] Unemployed, his Jewish and homosocial daily life is characterized by routine drinking and smoking weed […] Apatow is unapologetic about Stone’s stoner qualities, lovingly detailed in the opening sequence. Indeed, the film celebrates Stone, as he, somewhat surprisingly but entirely in keeping with cinematic tradition, sleeps with an attractive blonde, professional shiksa.” In short, the United States has become such a glaringly semitic stoner dystopia and kosher cultural wasteland that hydro-laced Judeocentric fantasies, especially of the considerably insufferable Apatovian ‘Jew Tang Clan’ variety, are even the norm for the dumb (and probably stoned) white goy majority. Thankfully, Korine manages to at least transcend the sorry cinema of bong breath banality by taking it to such a sickeningly surreally silly extreme that one can only hysterically laugh at—as opposed to with—the rasta rabble and space cowboy untermenschen it depicts, though apparently that was not really the auteur’s true intent. 

 Apparently suffering from his own idiosyncratic onset of Trump Derangement Syndrome is what largely influenced Korine to make The Beach Bum, or as the filmmaker told IndieWire while seemingly possessed by the retrograde spirit of his kinsman Bob Dylan, “I started to feel like the times were changing, things were darker, everything was feeling more intense. I thought, maybe it’s time to laugh. I figured I’d just go for it and make my version of a comedy.” In short, the film is, like virtually all stoner comedies, a piece of inelegant excess-ridden escapism, albeit with an obvious meta-autistic Korine-ian touch. Of course, as everything from his debut acting role as the date-rape-drug-dealing club kid ‘Fidget’ in Larry Clark’s Kids (1995) to his various vaudevillian appearances on Late Show with David Letterman to his experimental ‘novel’ A Crack Up at the Race Riots (1998) to 2000 black-metal-inspired art exhibition The Sigil of the Cloven Hoof Marks Thy Path demonstrate, Korine is and has always been the ‘badken.’ A Yiddish word for “a professional fun-maker, jester, entertainer, verbose Jewish jokester and showman,” ‘badken’ certainly better describes Korine than auteur at this point in his career and the titular antihero of The Beach Bum indubitably acts as a sort of sociopathic boomer gentile equivalent to it. As to how Korine went from directing films featuring gay black dwarfs and Burzum to washed-up mainstream black comedians and Jimmy Buffet, one is certainly more than a little tempted to speculate that it was one-too-many bong hits. After all, weeds has especially deleterious effects in terms of lowering one’s standards and causing one to tolerate, well, crap, which explains how Korine has gone from citing great auteurs like John Cassavetes and Werner Herzog to insipidly stupid and soulless shit like the moronically merry multiculti marijuana movies of swarthy dip-shit duo Cheech & Chong as cinematic influences (indeed, Korine has referenced the films of the colored Cannabisseur partners as an imperative influence on The Beach Bum). 

 Notably, in a 1999 interview with Sean O’Hagan, Korine expressed rather high hopes in terms of his future place among the greats of cinema history, or as he explained in regard to his natural evolution as a cineaste, “I’d see a Fassbinder film, then go and get a book about him out of the library, and find out that he was into melodrama and Douglas Sirk. Then I’d go and seek out all of Sirk’s work. That’s how I figured out there was a continuum in cinema and directing that, hopefully, I’m part of today.” Unfortunately, it has been over two decades since Korine directed his masterful debut Gummo and none of his subsequent works are even in the same universe in terms of unbridled idiosyncratic majesty, unhinged unforgettably, and grotesque comedic gold. After finally kicking Cocteau’s kick, getting married, and becoming a father, Korine seems to have been finally tamed and The Beach Bum is the unequivocal proof that he is now a sort of ‘spiritual boomer’ as opposed to the perennial enfant terrible most of his fans hoped he would forever be. Still, The Beach Bum provides enough raunchy retarded fun to make for an aesthetically autistic double feature with The Big Lebowski (1998). From Gregg Araki’s embarrassingly stale stoner girl odyssey Smiley Face (2007) to the positively putrid anti-white multiculturalist agitpop of the heeb-helmed Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) to the beta boy buffoonery of Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), the stoner comedy is arguably the most insufferable and aesthetically worthless subgenre of all–time so for there to be a film like A Beach Bum that is actually highly re-watchable is almost a miracle of sorts. Also, Matthew McConaughey deserves credit for a singular acting performance that is like a modern-day Charlie Chaplin on LSD after being raped by a pack of crack-ridden rasta negroes.

As to why one should loathe stoners and everything they represent, I think Teutonic philosopher Oswald Spengler said it best when he wrote, “The common man wants nothing of life but health, longevity, amusement, comfort—‘happiness.’ He who does not despise this should turn his eyes from world history, for it contains nothing of the sort. The best that history has created is great suffering.”  In short, nothing good comes out of mindless happiness, especially of the artificial drug-induced sort.  Of course, Moondog—a man that cannot even muster a tear when his great love dies probably because he is too inebriated and is no longer in touch with normal human feelings—is a shitty poet because he does not know what it means to suffer.  Likewise, Korine's artistic stagnation seems to also be the result of his lack of suffering as the auteur seems to now be at his most stable and least self-destructive as a result of becoming a drug-free family man.  Luckily, Korine does not seem to be pot-free, which has resulted in two of the ‘greatest’ pothead flicks of all-time.  Indeed, it is kind of good to know that, as the fiery climax of The Beach Bum demonstrates, there are a couple films one can watch and laugh at while the world is in flames.  After all, while Hollywood and its films are harbingers-cum-symptoms of clown world, Korine's films at least bask in clown world and remind one that one is not insane to recognize that the modern world is simply insane and that there is no harm in sharing the occasional laugh from it.  In fact, it can certainly be argued that the fact that Korine's films even exist are a sure sign of end times and, even more than sad Slavs like Tarkovsky and Żuławski, they represent an apocalyptic aesthetic.  Judging by Korine's latest film, the world seems to end with nervous laughter as opposed to a whimper.  As for boomers, it is quite unfortunate that most of them will probably not live long enough to see the apocalypse that their nasty combination of narcissism, materialism, hedonism, and cosmopolitanism helped to ignite and accelerate.  On the bright side, thankfully John Lennon was assassinated long ago before he could perform an updated version of “Imagine” with Snoop Dogg.  In short, when Ludwig Klages decried the ascent of, “the post-historical mankind of the merely pseudo-living larva,” he still never could have foreseen a creature as wretchedly rakish and ruthlessly reprobate as the titular antihero of The Beach Bum.

-Ty E

Jul 1, 2019

The Day of the Locust

While on a recent much-needed and long-awaited vacation where I did very little of anything aside from watching a shitload of films, I found myself almost ritualistically devouring an eclectic plethora of (mostly great) ranging from Jan Troell’s epic diptych The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972) to John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust (1975). While these particular films might seem like a curious combo as they share very little in common in both the aesthetic and thematic sense, they really highlighted for me what I both love and hate about the United States; or, the real organic settler Euro-America that created this nation and the phony Hebraic Hollywood anti-America that colonized the minds of its creators. While Troell’s singularly epic diptych—two masterful films that Terrence Malick seems to have spent his entire career attempting to model his own cinematic works after—provides an exceedingly earthly and sometimes realist yet nonetheless transcendental depiction of the great struggle involved with enterprising Europeans becoming (true) Americans after courageously abandoning their homelands and pretty much everything else they knew, Schlesinger’s film provides, in many ways, the complete opposite experience as an oftentimes gorgeously grotesque and absurdist portrait of the phony culture-distorting America where phony shallow cinematic dreams are dubiously conjured and hopelessly forsaken people and their oftentimes devastatingly deluded dreams go to die a particularly pathetic death. Not surprisingly, the films also had considerably different receptions among critics, which is why I feel the need to defend the much maligned Schlesinger feature, which I would argue is the ‘British’ auteur’s true magnum opus and greatest and most ambitious artistic achievement, especially considering its current questionable reputation compared to much inferior and, in turn, absurdly overrated films (e.g. MASH (1970), Harold and Maude (1970)) from the same so-called ‘New Hollywood’ era.  Indeed, the film is a strange reminder that, on very rare occasion, Hollywood was curiously involved in the production of subversive cinematic art that metaphysically eviscerates everything that Tinseltown represents.

 Based on the 1939 novel of the same name by NYC-bred Ashkenazi writer Nathanael West—a Hollywood insider of sorts that worked as a screenwriter on films like John Farrow's Five Came Back (1939) starring Chester Morris and Lucille Ball—The Day of the Locust is a largely plot-less and deceptively dream-like (anti)odyssey of oftentimes aberrant and even grotesque spectacle that dares to ruthlessly demolish the conspicuously counterfeit kosher Hollywood version of the so-called ‘American Dream.’ In that sense, it is hard to imagine that David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001) would exist without Schlesinger’s sort of ‘Tinseltown Gothic,’ which oftentimes feels like the brooding baroque cinematic equivalent to Kenneth Anger’s gossip classic Hollywood Babylon (1959), albeit focusing on the everyday misfortunes of Hollywood’s failed nobodies instead of the tragic ends of opium-addled superstars and coveted closet-queens. Indeed, featuring strange references from films ranging from Robert J. Flaherty’s classic silent (pseudo)anthropological doc Nanook of the North (1922) to Josef von Sternberg’s classic Marlene Dietrich vehicle Blonde Venus (1932) and a somewhat fitting cameo from Hebraic horror huckster William Castle as a dictatorial studio director that literally directs his crew into disaster, The Day of the Locust is an ideally idiosyncratic piece of cinephilia for cinephiles that hate Hollywood or, at least, the phony hokey Hollywood that acts as a mask for the festering moral rot and decay that is barely hidden beneath. Of course, the best films about Hollywood tend to touch on this subject, including works ranging from classics like Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) to more obscure (and underrated) works like John Byrum’s X-rated Golden Age era celluloid grotesquerie Inserts (1975) to the Coen Brothers cult classic Barton Fink (1991), but The Day of the Locust arguably transcends all of these films in terms of sheer unending eccentricity, mirthful misanthropy, and slow-burning necrotic spirit. 

 While Schlesinger—a gay British Jew that is surely best remembered today for his Academy Award-winning gay-for-pay counterculture nightmare Midnight Cowboy (1969)—can hardly be described as ‘right wing’ or ‘conservative’ in any sort of sense, he was fairly aesthetically apolitical as demonstrated by his controversial collaborations with Nazi composer Herbert von Karajan and surprisingly vocal appreciation for Leni Riefenstahl’s films, including Triumph of the Will (1935). Undoubtedly, many of the auteur’s films can certainly be described as ‘red-pilled’ by today's decidedly degenerate standards, which probably has more to do with Schlesinger's subversive spirit as an artist than any sort of serious political allegiances. Indeed, Darling (1965) starring Julie Christie demonstrates the great perils of being a soulless careerist whore and how a misguided lust for fame and fortune can quickly turn a beauteous young debutante into a lonely and unlovable monster that treats an abortion like a hair-cut.  In Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Christie reprises the young dumb (yet delectable) know-it-all-bitch routine and portrays a so-called ‘independent women’ that thrives on hypocrisy and narcissism, makes all the wrong decisions, deceitfully uses men to run her farm and ultimately engages in petty behavior that leads to the destruction of the lives of two of three suitors that want to marry her (and, rather fittingly, she is ultimately stuck with a boorish man that she liked least of the three). In Marathon Man (1976), the Hebraic hero is arguably less likeable than the evil elderly Nazi doctor trying to kill him.  Also, Schlesinger's most famous film Midnight Cowboy can hardly be described as featuring a positive portrayal of poofters or Warholian art fags and the filmmaker himself even once described it as being “viewed as somewhat antigay.” In Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), a middle-aged gay Jewish doctor and bitchy shiksa spinster seem to thinking have an affair with the same young (and seemingly sociopathic) quasi-hustler acts as an apt substitution for marriage and children, thereupon underscoring the biting soullessness of their sad lives.

While Schlesinger spent much of the later part of his career directing largely forgettable hack work, including the shockingly banal supernatural horror flick The Believers (1987) and the yawn-driven yuppie pseudo-psychological thriller Pacific Heights (1990), it is clear from his greatest films that he was no petty propagandist and that he had the rare ability to embrace the ugliness of humanity without succumbing to any sort of shallow sermonizing, as if the auteur was a mere passive observer among his own idiosyncratic cinematic creations. In The Day of the Locust, Schlesinger exposes the viewer to an eclectic collection of eccentrics, lecherous losers, (self)destructive drunks, lost souls, and odiously opportunistic whores, yet one never gets the feeling that Schlesinger has any unkind feelings towards these mostly forsaken individuals. At the same time, it is probably the only film where one almost feels a deep sense of therapeutic joy when kid is stomped to death in a scenario that ultimately unleashes a sort of Hollywoodland holocaust.  Needlessly to say, this is no feel-good-film, yet it somehow maintain an unexpected degree of rapture and unconventional humanistic intrigue, which are undoubtedly some of Schlesinger's greatest attributes as a filmmaker.

 Notably, Schlesinger’s mischling journalist nephew Ian Buruma once described The Day of the Locust as, “Perhaps John’s darkest picture—made at the happiest time of his life—it failed to win a major award.”  In other words, aside from being his most artistically ambitious film, it is also his most absurdly neglected and misunderstood.  As Schlesinger remarked to Buruma himself, “MIDNIGHT COWBOY, SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, and THE DAY OF THE LOCUST were all made cheek by jowl. This was probably the moment I felt most liberated, when I felt I could make films on these sort of subjects. Perhaps I’ve never reached that point since.” Beyond its subversive subject matter, the film was also a long marinating passion project that Schlesinger would have to wait many years to make until he acquired the commercial and critical success that came with Midnight Cowboy and even then he faced many roadblocks from the studio and producers, which makes perfect sense considering the film depicts Hollywood as a schlocky Sodom run by virtual slave-driving sociopaths and overflowing with alcohol-addled whores that will do virtually anything just to get even the least prestigious of barely-paid positions on a seedy studio lot. In short, Schlesinger savagely yet exceedingly elegantly demolishes the legendary (plastic) glamour and shallow intrigue of unholywood while at the same time sardonically assaulting the very same sickening system that the film was made within. Indeed, even Robert Evans—the legendary (and then-relatively-young) Hollywood film producer and studio executive that completely revitalized the studio system during the American New Wave era with classic works like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Godfather (1972), and Chinatown (1974)—was completely against the film, or as Schlesinger explained himself, “Robert Evans—who ran Paramount—absolutely hated the idea of THE DAY OF THE LOCUST and said so forcibly and did anything that he could to prevent the film being made […] Essentially Bob Evans is a Hollywood man […] I think he just didn’t like what the film stood for. People in the industry didn’t like the story; they didn’t like the rather downbeat, critical attitude of West’s novel. Evans also didn’t think it was commercial, which, of course, it wasn’t.” Luckily, Schlesinger had the kosher clout to have his way and create what is arguably the biggest and most epic ‘anti-Hollywood Hollywood’ film ever and the auteur was even such a nice guy that he subsequently collaborated with Evans on the surprisingly subversive ‘Jewish thriller’ Marathon Man despite the studio executive's poor treatment of his dream film. 

While he virtually disappears for a good portion of the film, ostensibly straight-laced WASP Tod Hackett (William Atherton)—an ivy league boy that looks like he was descended from America’s most thoroughbred Anglo-Saxon stock—is certainly the lead protagonist of the film and he soon discovers after moving into a tiny apartment with a literal ‘hole in the wall’ at a crusty complex called San Bernardino Arms in Hollywood that the town is completely morally bankrupt at all levels, as it takes a certain razor sharp unscrupulousness to not only merely compete, but especially to get ahead. Luckily for him, Hackett—a man whose name hints that he is a ‘dead hack’ of sorts—immediately becomes hopelessly infatuated with an exceedingly empty cocktease of the platinum peroside blonde philistine sort named Faye Greener (Karen Black) after encountering her living at the same apartment complex with her father and he soon finds it easy to assimilate to the amorality of his rather pathetic excess-ridden environment. Aside from being willing to do virtually anything to get into Faye’s panties, which seems to be protected by an invisible chastity belt, Hackett also discovers that he must lose his soul if he wants to establish a successful career as a pre-production artist at Paramount Studios where a hyper-cynical booze-and-porn-loving screenwriter named Claude Estee (Richard A. Dysart) takes him under his wing as a sort of protégé of mindless hedonistic perversity that entails dumb debauched parties involving primitive S&M blue movies and alcohol-driven cock fights, among other things. In a scenario that seems to have been taken from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Hackett begins working on a large Otto Dix-esque painting on his earthquake-worn wall that not only unmasks the true demonic essence of Hollywood as if the protagonist has special They Live-like glasses, but also foreshadows an apocalyptic scenario at the very end of the film.  Indeed, while Hackett comes to Hollywood to perform frivolous hack work for insipid popcorn pictures, the malignant spiritual moribundity, innate immorality, and all-encompassing soullessness begins impact that artist deeply and his art soon begins to resemble something that might be created by the bastard son of Edvard Munch and Leonor Fini.

 Despite the fact that Faye is a fiercely fake and frigid bitch that impulsively says stupid shit like, “I hate people with thin lips. People with thin lips are mean. That’s true. I read that Somewhere,” and refuses to give up even the most minuscule crumb of poontang because she is strategically saving her clearly over-appraised virginity for the ideal rich and handsome man that she absurdly thinks she has the potential to marry despite not being much more than a poor man's lobotomized Marilyn Monroe, Hackett accepts being friend-zoned because he is so hopelessly horny for her ice-cold-cunt that he is willing to wait for a day that ultimately never cums. While Faye makes it known to everyone that he thinks she is hot shit, her fairly banal blonde Barbie doll good looks are the sole thing she has going for her, as she is literally the bastard brood of a whore that abandoned her for a “magician bastard” and a washed-up dipsomaniacal ex-vaudeville performer turned failed snake oil (or ‘Miracle Solvent’) salesman named Harry Greener (Burgess Meredith). In a sane world, Faye would gladly accept Hackett as her male suitor as he is almost in every way her superior, including arguably looks, but she is deluded by big dreams of Hollywood stardom due to getting minor roles as extras in c-grade movies and—as she confesses to the protagonist—he surely is not her type.

Aside from planning to marry a rich dude that has the capacity bloat both her ego and bank account, Faye seems to take after her estranged whore mother in terms of being naturally sexually attracted to low-status savages as demonstrated by the fact she eventually self-destructively fucks a superlatively swarthy Mexican cockfighter that lives in a garage. When Hackett declares his love to her not long after meeting her, Faye—the Hollywood hypergamic harpy par excellence—rather bluntly reveals her self-satisfied shallowness and stereotypical feminine propensity towards self-deception by responding, “Don’t make me hurt you. You’re very kind and clever, but I could only let a really rich man love me. I could only love someone criminally handsome. Please try to understand.”  As a sort of Dr. Jekyll/ Ms. Hyde grotesque caricature of the virgin-whore archetype(s) as clearly irreparably despoiled by a lifetime of Hollywood propaganda starring hunky heartthrobs like Cary Grant, Faye epitomizes virtually everything that is insufferable about modern womankind, which is quite fitting since Hollywood—a narcotizing delusion factory that produces romantic twaddle that tricks stupid chicks into fantasizing magical imaginary men and luxurious lifestyles that they will never be able to obtain—is largely responsible for women having such preposterously high expectations despite very rarely having anything to bring to the table aside from the purely physical. To Hackett’s credit, he is treated relatively kindly by Faye, especially compared to a poor sapless sap named Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland) that eventually find himself caught in her web of contrived femininity and counterfeit glamour. 

 While Faye seems to genuinely appreciate Hackett’s friendship, even after he attempts to rape her while screaming that she is a “bitch” after she rejects his rather aggressive sexual advances, she only displays visceral hatred and resentment towards poor hapless homeboy Homer. Indeed, after being forced to sell her virginity to some old fart to pay for her father's funeral when he unexpectedly dies, Faye eventually sets up a ‘business relationship’ with Homer that seems to be totally sexless and simply involves the heroine living in his house as a sort of less than subservient pseudo-wife that refuses to even make him dinner (in fact, mirthful masochist Homer ultimately becomes the servant). Naturally, Faye almost immediately begins rather flagrantly cuckolding Homer, as she not only has her fake cowboy friend and his Mexican pal move into his home, but she also even fucks the latter. Clearly disgusted by Homer’s weakness and incapacity to ‘assert’ himself with a woman, Faye seems to derive sadistic glee from psychologically torturing the poor cowardly cuck, so naturally it is only a matter of time before he completely snaps.  Unfortunately for him and his not-all-that-innocent victim, Homer, like many people that completely crack-up, loses his shit at the wrong place and wrong time in what ultimately proves to be a sort of burst of apocalyptic fury.

Needless to say, it is only fitting that Homer is a devout Jesus freak of sorts, as it underlines the capacity of Hollywood to erode anyone’s soul, not matter how deeply religious and/or terminally sexually repressed. Of course, as someone that goes to a phony spiritually vacant proto-megachurch with an electric crucifix with the words “Give To Jesus” written across it that more resembles a vaudeville show than a serious house of worship, Homer—an extremely fearful and nervous autist of sorts that seems to be perennially internally wounded as a result of a lengthy childhood illness—is not exactly the most mentally sharp of men despite having a little bit of wealth and a nice house due to his accountant background. As someone that clearly cannot support herself, Faye only reluctantly decides to shack up with Homer after her father dies and she is left without a home, though, to her credit, she does demonstrate an unexpected degree of selfless sacrifice when she sells her much-prized virginal puss to pay for her papa’s funeral. Indeed, instead of becoming a big Hollywood starlet, Faye is forced to settle for being what she has clearly always secretly suspected she was—a cheap unlovable whore. As for Hackett, Faye’s moral deterioration does not deter his desire to defile her and he even preposterously rationalizes her cash-for-gash deflowering by stating to a drunken ambiguously Hebraic midget, “She waited till the old guy was dead. I’ll give her that much.”  Rather pathetically, even after Faye loses his virginity, Hackett still fails to seal the carnal deal.

 Considering that Faye predictably dedicates her life to increasingly ruthlessly mocking and emasculating him after moving into his home, it is only a matter of time before Homer—a terribly nervous Nellie that has absolutely nil outlet for his seemingly perpetual internal misery and misfortune—completely explodes, which ultimately acts as a catalyst to the film’s savagely surreal climax that quite fittingly takes place at a big movie premiere. Notably, the ending is somewhat foreshadowed in an unforgettable scene that would probably give John Landis—a morally dubious director that is certainly no stranger to catastrophic movie set mishaps—cold chills where a huge Battle of Waterloo battlefield set directed by William Castle completely collapses during filming and injures tons of actors and extras portraying soldiers. Despite being a fairly cold and stoic man that rarely expresses emotion aside from when less than suavely attempting to fuck Faye, Hackett, who created sketches that acted as virtual blueprints for the set pieces, is somewhat shocked by the senseless tragedy, which he immediately realizes is the direct result of both the studio’s negligence and shameless apathy towards human life. When Hackett attempts to warn the studio head about how the accident was easily avoidable and the direct result of senseless negligence, he is treated to a haircut and shoeshine from a jolly old negro and is later told by his screenwriter friend Claude that it “wouldn’t have made a difference” if people had actually died (while apathetic toward human life, Claude does get a thrill from drunken cock fights with Hebraic midgets and Mexicans). Naturally, the event inspires Hackett’s apocalyptic mural collage/painting, which literally comes to life at the film’s conclusion, at least in the protagonist’s mind. 

 At the a world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Buccaneer (1938) at Grauman's Chinese Theater is where the Hollywood dream turns into a fiery phantasmagoric holocaust. Indeed, when a creepy proto-tranny child named ‘Adore Loomis’ (Jackie Earle Haley)—a platinum blond(e) kid pervert that plays the peeping tom when his mother isn’t whoring ‘him’ out for small roles movies—dares to tease Homer one-too-many-times in between obnoxiously singing “Jeepers Creepers” and hitting him in the head with a rock, among other forms of childish degradation, he ultimately finds himself resigned to the strangely fitting undignified fate of being stomped to death. Already totally distraught because Faye has left him, the insufferable child’s taunts ultimately cause Homer to completely explode to the point where he does not even bother to notice that he stomps the kid to death in front of seemingly thousands of people, thereupon sparking a full-scale riot where he is seemingly ripped apart by an angry lynch mob while a rather rotund studio announcer unwittingly brags about the excitement of the crowd in a totally twisted scenario that really underscores the curious combination of insipidly stupid spectacle and emotion retardation that personifies Hollywood. In the end, the entire area is burned down, including pine trees, while Hackett loses his mind as he finally acknowledges the virtual hell that he has been condemned to. In the end, Faye goes by Hackett’s apartment and sadly discovers that he has wisely vacated the premises, though his rose-in-the-wall remains.  In short, this Hollywood film hardly has a happy Hollywood ending, though it is certainly bittersweet that Hackett wisely hightails it out of Hollyweird hell.  As to the status of Hackett's sanity, one can only speculate.

 Rather unsurprisingly considering its decidedly dark and respectably audience-alienating subject matter, The Day of the Locust—a big budget film that only grossed about $2,300,000, which was about a third of its cost—was one of the biggest flops of 1975 and it seems that Hollywood, including the studio that produced it, was not exactly sad about this fact. For example, as Schlesinger explained to Buruma in regard to how the film was received among friends and associates when it was first screened, “Afterward, in a rather smart Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, we found Polanski and Jack Nicholson, and a lot of people who were in CHINATOWN, sitting at the next table. They looked very embarrassed. Eventually someone came over and said, ‘I want to congratulate you,’ but they were obviously very embarrassed by their reaction—or lack of it—and so was I. I think the film generally wasn’t being received terribly well.” Apparently other people, including respected Hollywood filmmakers, were more vocal about their disdain for the film, or as Schlesinger’s official biographer William J. Mann explained in Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger (2004), “Hollywood was, quite frankly, appalled; many took the film as a personal affront. John was told that at a screening at a movie executive’s home in Bel Air, the exec’s wife stood up halfway through and apologized to her guests for making them sit through such an outrage. Even some who seemingly shared John’s spirit of challenge found the film too hard on the industry. Sidney Lumet, director of SERPICO and DOG DAY AFTERNOON, was bashing LOCUST all around town, reportedly asking, ‘How can Schlesinger shit where he eats?’ Word got back to John, who was furious, prompting a four-page hand-written apology from Lumet.”  Indeed, it seems that even fellow semitic subversive auteurs found Schlesinger's film to be an unforgivable assault on the studio system they seemingly pretended to rebel against, which is exactly why The Day of the Locust is ultimately considerably more transgressive than the filmmaker's much more widely beloved Midnight Cowboy.

Of course, as a patently preternatural arthouse affair on Hollywood steroids that concludes with the protagonist’s and, in turn America and the entire world’s, (Hollywood) dreams going up in smoke in a violently surreal and hypnotically haunting Hollywood holocaust that can be seen as both a cold ruthless execution and deservedly cynical eulogy for Tinseltown—as if Schlesinger had some sort of (subconscious) belief that the studios had committed certain ungodly crimes and they would eventually be ruthlessly punished for said crimes in a big brutal kismetic fashion—the film was naturally doomed to offend the majority of people. In that sense, it is rather fitting that this apocalyptic conclusion is sparked by the brutal murder of an obscenely obnoxious sort of proto-tranny child, as it hints at the seemingly perennial rumors of (sexual) abuse in Hollywood as noted by people Corey Feldman as well as the aberrant sexualization and androgynization of children in Hollywood films (somewhat fittingly, the kid was portrayed by Jackie Earle Haley, who would go on to portray child killer/molester Freddy Krueger in the abortive A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) remake). It is also fitting that it is a largely innocent and seemingly virginal Christian man—the sort of individual that Hollywood regularly targets for abuse—ushers in this apocalypse.  In that regard, I would not be surprised if certain Hollywood producers and studio heads interpreted the film as some sort of prophetic threat where these very powerful individuals were forced to consider for the very first time in their entire lives that their degenerate movie miscreations might provoke a backlash of biblical proportions, hence the fitting setting of a Cecil B. DeMille—a filmmaker of Hebraic extraction that oftentimes took a curiously homoerotic approach to his religious epics—movie premiere.

 As reflected in its uniquely unflattering portrayal of Hollywood and its history, there is good reason that studio heads and filmmakers loathed the film, as it has a certain scathing covert contra kosher spirit. For example, before succumbing to Hollywood-inflicted alcoholism, Harry Greener semi-cryptically alludes to the Judaic control of Hollywood by stating while making certain vaudevillian shylock-like gestures, “you ain’t got a chance in hell if you ain’t one of them. You know what I mean? And they got it all locked up. To hell with them.”  Of course, the character's sentiments are not random, as famous figures even used to express such concerns, even card-carrying communists like novelist Theodore Dreiser. As Neal Gabler explained in An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (1988), “Even within Hollywood itself there was mumbling about Jewish control. For some it was the handiest rationale for thwarted dreams. Theodore Dreiser had been lured out to Hollywood in the thirties to oversee the film production of his monumental novel AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, but he had battled hammer and tongs with Paramount over what he felt was the ‘traducing’ of his masterpiece, and now he had departed, trying to raise money for a new project on tobacco monopolist James Buchanan Duke. When that failed, Dreiser blamed the Jews. He wrote a Swiftian satire suggesting that Jews be rounded up and packed off to Kansas where they could do no more harm. To a friend he wrote, ‘The movies are solidly Jewish. They've dug in, demploy only Jews with American names. . . . The dollar sign is the guide—mentally & physically. That American should be led—the mass—by thei direction is beyond all believing. In addition, they are arrogant, insolent and contemptuous.’” Apparently, such counter-kosher sentiments were not simply isolated to gentiles as Louis B. Mayer was apparently quite fond of throwing around antisemitic slurs as alluded to by the character based on him played by Michael Lerner in Barton Fink and Jewish New York film executive Herbert Somborn even immediately plotted to get Gloria Swanson ”out of the hands of these Eastern European Jews” after marrying her. Knowing all of this, it is surely fitting that excerpts from The Day of the Locust appear in the documentary Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998), which is a sort of superficial adaptation of Gabler's book.  After all, not unlike Gabler's book, Schlesinger's film is one of the few honest examples of the hermetic Hebraic history of Hollywood.

Needless to say, it is hardly a subtle nod to the character of the typical semitic studio director when Hebraic hack William Castle portrays a ‘fascistic’ filmmaker that screams at the crew and ultimately directs them into literal tragedy. It is also notable that said tragedy is set during the Battle of Waterloo, which is a historical event that is noted for creating a good portion of the Rothschild Banking Dynasty’s wealth. In fact, the Nazi propaganda film Die Rothschilds (1940) aka The Rothschilds' Shares in Waterloo directed by Erich Waschneck depicts this scenario and there’s a good chance that Schlesinger was aware of this fact as it is known that he was at least familiar with some Nazi cinema.  Even more incriminating, the pre-Code Hollywood film The House of Rothschild (1934)—a vehemently pro-Jewish production that, although quite successful as the biggest hit of the year for Twentieth Century Picture and a work that was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, is curiously completely unavailable today—concludes with Nathan Rothschild becoming the richest man in the world as a result of the Battle of Waterloo and even gleefully bragging, “Europe hides its head in shame because it borrows from the Jews.” On a more unintentional yet nonetheless still subtextual level, the film even exploited the work of old Israelites that very quite possibly worked in Golden Age Hollywood, or as Mann explained in regard to a scene involving Harry Greener, “Even less orderly was the faith-healing sequence. Several hundred extras were bused in to act as Geraldine Page’s faithful followers. ‘Old-age pensions,’ John reported, ‘many of whom had come from Jewish old people’s homes and who were confronted by three neon crosses saying, ‘Give to Jesus.’ Up on stage, the choir mistress was trying to rouse the extras by urging them to pray to the Savior. Some in the crowd didn’t understand they were to be in a movie and were terribly offended; some stormed back to the bus, complaining loudly. ‘Looking back on it,’ John said, ‘it was really very funny.’” Undoubtedly, the fact that Schlesinger personally felt that the semitic scenario was hilarious only adds to the absurdist hilarity of this scene in subsequent viewings. 

 I don’t know what motivated me to endure such frivolously schmaltzy, shallow, and just downright soulless celluloid bromide, but I recently watched George Stevens’ classic RKO musical Swing Time (1936) and it reminded me how much Golden Age Hollywood polluted the world with outstandingly artistically bankrupt kitsch crap that really has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, as if the major studios were largely run by a sociopathic race of hedonistic space aliens that had nil clue as to how to express organic human emotions and merely substituted them with the great aesthetic sin of brashly bombastic spectacle. Of course, this is just one of the many reasons I treasure a film like The Day of the Locust that, not like Robert Altman’s The Player (1992), takes an oftentimes darkly humorous approach to forcing Hollywood to drown in its own grandiloquent depravity and almost otherworldly hypocrisy while exposing its excremental excesses and ludicrous lies. In fact, I think it might be fitting punishment for the more corrupt studio heads to being subjected watching the film on a loop for eternity while being forced to shine Robert Bresson’s shoes, clean P.P. Pasolini’s toilet, and wash Carl Th. Dreyer’s underwear.  Surely, it is a sort of poetic form of cinematic kismet that Teutonic master auteur F.W. Murnau died tragically in Hollywood after having his films like 4 Devils (1928) and City Girl (1930) tampered with by the studios and then temporarily escaping to the South Pacific for his swansong Tabu (1931).  While Schlesinger would live a number of years longer than Murnau, his experience with Hollywood was not all that different as virtually all of his later films were tampered with or mere soulless hack work after the flop of The Day of the Locust. Indeed, as Mann rightly noted, “THE DAY OF THE LOCUST was the last of John Schlesinger’s ‘great’ films. It was the last time he would so completely immerse himself in an attempt to create something monumental, in which he and a group of brilliant, trusted collaborators truly sought to find an original, artistic interpretation of the material they were putting on the screen.”

 While Schlesinger's previous film Sunday Bloody Sunday was also a flop, it at least received very positive reviews from most of the right respected critics whereas The Day of the Locust was attacked by most critics, including many of those sympathetic to the auteur's previous films. One of the few people that seemed to both appreciate and understand the film was Judith Crist, who paid it a great compliment when she described it as a, “Consideration of the American dream by way of the factory town that dispensed it . . . To call it the finest film of the past several years is to belittle it. It stands beyond comparison.”  Crist's words are no mere puffery because, in terms of sheer scope and ambition as well as epic eccentricity, Schlesinger's arguable magnum opus is like The Wizard of Oz (1939) of sardonic (anti)Hollywood Golden Age period pieces as a (sometimes) subtle satire of the strikingly idiosyncratic sort that also packs pathos and even manages to be genuinely horrifying than the best horror flicks (undoubtedly, the conclusion of the film somewhat echoes the more phantasmagorical scenes of Herk harvey's classic Carnival of Souls (1962)).  Of course, this is no surprise as anything resembling cinematic art that comes out of Hollywood tends to defy genre and audience expectation, though The Day of the Locust goes beyond this as a largely plot-less portrait of preternatural misery and misanthropy where virtually every single character is forsaken and ‘happiness’—or, at least, any sort of long-term happiness—is exposed as, at best, a terribly naive ideal and, at worst, a shallow fantasy sold to suckers by innately manipulative Hollywood culture distorters, hence the lack of love for such a film.  In short, the film gives a way the garbage game of Hebraic Hollywood and does with a sort of understated acidic aesthetic style of one thousand dope-addled failed screen divas courteously of the great cinematographer Conrad L. Hall (In Cold Blue, Fat City).  In terms of its sort of plot-less promenade approach where the viewer randomly encounters an eclectic collection of characters like an ant at an ant hill and rather misanthropic spirit and mostly unflattering depictions of sex and sexuality, the film is certainly comparable to Georgian auteur Otar Iosseliani's classic Les Favoris de la lune (1984) aka Favorites of the Moon of all films.

I recently watched David Robert Mitchell's darkly comedic neo-noir Under the Silver Lake (2018) and, while I did not find it as enjoyable or immaculate as the auteur's previous film It Follows (2014), I could not help but wallow in the fairly singular cinematic experience it provides due to its sometimes surreal approach to depicting Los Angeles as a virtual hellhole disguised as heaven where the rich and famous voluntarily prematurely end in their lives in a tomb of hedonism due to an absurd (pseudo)religious belief that their souls will magically ‘ascend’ like ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.  Indeed, whether it be the brutal S&M sods of Fred Halsted's classic experimental homo hardcore flick LA Plays Itself (1972), the sinister quasi-vampiric Hollywood Hills brother-sister duo that drain swingers of their precious sanguine fluids in The Black Room (1982) co-directed by Elly Kenner and Norman Thaddeus Vane, or the slow-burning post-Lynchian lunacy of the Coen brothers' cryptically contra kosher Barton Fink (1991), I love films that absolutely annihilate the Hollywood dream and present Tinseltown as a nefarious nightmare that the Devil himself would be proud to call home.  After all, how else can one think of a patently phony place involved in greatly profiting from a global social engineering project that involves regularly defecates out putrid cinematic products that teach women promiscuity and abortions are a form of liberation, portray perverts and aberrosexuals as lovable bourgeois types, and have even gone as far as attempting to pass off Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as highly desirable sex symbols, among other distinctly despicable things.

While she was mostly a dumb twat that undoubtedly inspired countless young women to ruin their lives, Marilyn Monroe was probably onto something when she said, “Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”  Of course, considering Monroe's degenerate background, I would wager that The Day of the Locust is more reliable in terms of ultimately demonstrating that one only has to simply live in Hollywood to lose one's soul and that the studios need not sacrifice fifty cents to ensnare the average person.  After all, most people are willing to shell out their own hard-earned cash to have Hollywood colonize their minds with anti-human trash that pollutes their psyche and defiles their soul.  Somehow, I think this will eventually contribute to something more horrifying holocaustic than the ending of Schlesinger's film, but then again I stopped going to movies theater to see blockbuster schlock about a decade ago because I much prefer the life-affirming misery and misanthropy of Fassbinder and Bergman to the sugarcoated celluloid cyanide of Spielberg and Singer.  Speaking of Spielberg, we can at least partly credit him and his early blockbusters like Jaws (1975) for helping to kill the artistic auteur cinema of the so-called New Hollywood era that The Day of the Locust belongs to.  While Spielberg probably wields more international influence than the average Western European prime minister, films like Under the Silver Lake and shows like Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace (2016) ultimately demonstrate that the true Faustian spirit is still not completely conquered.

-Ty E