Monday, September 27, 2010

Sign O' The Times

I managed to squeeze in two movies last week, and it occurs to me they both have an important aspect in common.

The first one was Stripped To Kill 2: Live Girls! Those who know me will tell you that I'd have no problem admitting to renting a movie just to see strippers and violence, but in this case I had a more noble motive. It features my old improv buddy and scream queen Debra Lamb, about the time (1989) that we were onstage at the old Wild Side Theatre. If you get a chance to see it, Debra's the one who eats fire. And can act.

It's not a terrific movie by any definition, but it's packed with eighties goodness. It was a time when a low budget could be overcome with extremely colorful lighting schemes. Most of it takes place at night around a strip club that's entirely lit with neon signs and smoke. You know who made money in Hollywood in the eighties? Smoke machine rental houses. Smart producers bought their own. It's all big hair and bustiers for the girls, the score is synthalicious. It's a mediocre movie made watchable by the passage of time. It has acquired production value by its status as a cultural artifact.

Possibly in that same category is the documentary Catfish. I'd write about it but I just can't. Too much of the narrative is based on not knowing what will happen next. However, I can tell you that there is so much Facebook wrapped up in this thing that it functions as an unofficial sequel to The Social Network. Facebook and texting. Of course, there's a difference in that Catfish is very entertaining, but I think as the years go on and Facebook crumbles, it will serve as a jokey reminder of the crazy way we lived our lives in the first decade of this century. Those kids with their FriendFace and their tweeter! What were they thinking!!

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