Sunday, September 5, 2010

DVD Review: “F.A.R.T.: The Movie”

Text © Robert Barry Francos/FFanzeen
Images from the Internet

F.A.R.T.: The Movie
Directed by Ray Etheridge
Sub Rosa Cinema, 1991
91 Minutes, USD $9.95

Officially, this flick is called F.A.R.T.: The Movie, but it is never explained exactly why it is an acronym, or what it stands for, which is somewhat where the trouble starts off.

This shot on video movie is definitely a one note – or toot – song, and this is about the level of the humor, folks, get used to it.

In a nutshell, the main character is Russell, played by character actor Joel Weiss*, who has many credits as a character actor over the years, including a couple still in production. Russell is obsessed with messy and gassy foods (chili, pizza, beer, etc.), watching television, and letting the intestines do the talking, to the dismay of all those around him, from elevators to the street. It is especially around his wife, Heather, portrayed by Shannandoah Sorin (great name), who unfortunately has only this film as her resume.

Though Russell loves her, she does not love his explosive sphincter. And after the joke becomes apparent, well she can’t stand everything he likes. She shouts one of the funniest lines in anger, “Even the cat moved out!” Why does she stay? Well, it’s not stated, but they live in a fuckin’ amazing house that is huuuuge. He could be in one end blasting away, and she could be elsewhere in the house, quite a distance away. Oh, and everything in the house is white, with no hash marks anywhere. Hmmmm.

This was filmed in California, but both Russell and Heather have strong unexplained New York accents, while they chew up scenery left and right. But everyone in this flick does. They must all be graduates of the John Lithgow school of sit-com acting.

The film is actually two-in-one. On the mainstage, Russell falls asleep in front of the TV and everything he watches is related to gaseous material, but more on that later. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Heather is attending a New Year’s Eve party, and she stands around getting drunk and listening to other people tell stories and jokes in small vignettes, similar to films like Can I Do It Until I Need Glasses?, though in this case it’s just verbal, rather than acted out. Here is an example:
Man: Want to play doctor?
Woman: Sure, you operate and I’ll sue.

Most of these are unfunny, but there is an occasional smile.

Back to Russell, he watches a variety of different shows on a crappy little television. Though aren’t they rich enough to have real televisions in each room, if he’s that obsessed? I mean, they have a Richter scale in the house to measure his output. While observing these shows, he is eating and eating and eating disgusting foods, and yet by the time this was over, all I wanted was a meatball parmigana hero from Lenny’s Pizza Parlor in Brooklyn.

Here are some of the examples of humor that this leans toward – or actually falls into:

There is a commercial for Acetal Center, where testimony is given by Lucy Bowel (i.e., loose bowel) of Defecatia, MD, and C. Howie Farts, of Whistlebritches, PA. Other names along the way include Harry Butz (i.e., hairy butts) and Phil Shorts.

One segment is a series of three stand-up comics, one trying to imitate Richard Lewis, I believe, right down to the hair, but sans the humor.

In a game show segment, “The Bong Show,” the “actors” who participate are named Stewy Sales, Morgan Morgan, and Charles Wilson Riley. Yikes. Riley is played by veteran actor Conrad Brooks, who was in the Ed Wood classics Plan Nine from Outer Space and Glen or Glenda.

During a sermon, a minister yells, “It says ‘Honor thy father,’ not ‘honor thy farter!’” Playing the religious figure is Robert Axelrod, who has done English translation voices in major (and many minor) anime films, such as Akira and Ghost in the Machine.

Another familiar face is Kim Delgato, who does an Andy Rooney style commentary about, well, you know. You’d recognize his face for sure, as he has appeared in many television dramas over the years, though always as a guest actor rather than a regular.

It took nine – yep – writers to get this done, and yet they still manage to steal the George Carlin line about bad breath that could “knock a buzzard off a shit wagon.” Really? The humor level seems to be geared towards that of a tween boy, or perhaps a stoner high schooler or junior college, but anyone that age will not really get any of the references, so it’s kind of a questionable point. At least with other purposely cringe-worthy films like The Worm Eaters, one does not need to be up on past culture to get the h-ewwww-mor.

The best way I can sum all this up is to ask the following question: Oh, Mel Brooks, what hath thou wrought with thy bean-eating scene?!

* I grew up with a kid named Joel Weiss, who lived on Bay Parkway and 85 St in Bensonhurst during the ‘60s and ‘70s… anyone know whatever happened to him?

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