Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Troma's FATHER'S DAY gets a more-than-it-deserves, midnight-only release


What the fuck hath Hobo With a Shotgun wrought? I'll tell you: a bottom-of-the-barrel piece of cinematic dreck titled FATHER'S DAY put together by a Winnipeg quintet called the Astron 6 (that bit of non-sequitur humor is about as funny as the movie ever gets) and foisted upon us courtesy of Troma Entertainment. Over my reviewing career, I have several times taken the trouble to praise Troma for its canny couplings of good, cheap sex, gore and humor. And I hope I will again someday. For now, I'll just say that the bottom of the barrel has been scraped yet again and is currently being fed, via midnight shows, to dumbed-down audiences across the nation. No wonder Father's Day has a IMBD rating of only 4. I'd call that generous. This movie actually makes its Hobo predecessor look like some kind of masterpiece of rich characterization, dense plotting and clear-eyed restraint.

Going its grind-house predecessors one better, the movie opens as though we are watching a schlocky late-night movie channel on TV, on which Father's Day is about to be shown. Wow-- that's creative. Then the film begins and we are bathed in blood and body parts. The plot unfurls: something about a cannibalistic killer of fathers and anyone else who gets in his way, who is pursued by everyone from a blind priest to his acolyte; another strong, silent type out for revenge; his sister; and a hustler called Twink whose dad has recently been killed.

The biggest problem with the movie is that any appreciation of humor seems to have deserted all concerned. Playing around with genre cliches can only get you so far, and that's about all the movie-makers have up their sleeve. This leaves us to wallow in the sex and the gore, which grows tiresome fast. Along the way we get the now de rigueur, faux trailer -- this time for some grade-Z Star Wars rip-off called Star Raiders, a premise long ago done to death.  While everything we see has been done before and better (but perhaps not more grossly) -- outside-the-body entrails, a little full frontal from some of the guys, bounteous boobs and ass from the gals -- we do finally get a semi-smart scene featuring Lloyd Kaufman (below), the head of Troma, here playing god (literally) and then, in a dual role... But let's not spoil the surprise.

This scene actually provokes a smile or two and should particularly please those of us who cannot abide religion. Father's Day, with a way-too-long running time of 100 minutes (stuff like this usually maxes out around 75 minutes), has already played Texas (in Austin, San Antonio and Katy) and now opens up at midnight movie screenings on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11, in New York (Sunshine Cinema) and Minneapolis (Lagoon Cinema).

Next week (Feb 17 and 18) look for it in Denver (Esquire Theatre) and Brookline, Mass. (Coolidge Corner). Los Angeles (Nuart) and Saskatoon, Canada (Broadway Theater), both get it on Feb. 24 and it arrives in San Diego on Feb 25 (Ken Cinema). March promises bookings in Columbus, DC, Dallas and Oak Cliff (TX), with Seattle the recipient in April.  Betcha all can't wait!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The stuff at the beginning to make it look like its airing on TV is done in order to fit inside a genre, not because the filmmakers think they're the first to do it. And I highly doubt that this movie had anything to do with Hobo. If you've seen their website, these guys have been doing this type of thing for years.

James van Maanen, said...

The movie already fits inside a genre so that opening doesn't make it fit any better or worse.

I went to the guys' web site prior to writing my review, and it looked as if they do some funny stuff. But I'm afraid this movie doesn't rise to that level. It's schlock/shock for the sake of schlock/shock, with the usual routine of trying to push the envelope even farther (when the envelope has already gone up in flames).

The aforesaid, plus the fact that the movie's look and color palette, reminded me a lot of Hobo is why I compared the two films. (Also, I believe that somewhere in the press materials for the movie, Troma's people have done the same thing.)

In any case, I'm not claiming plagiarism, just saying that maybe, as we are often told, "great minds" work in the same direction....

Charlie said...

ahh you're dumb. this movie kicks ass, hilarious.

Anonymous said...

it's also not cool that you're reviewing a bootleg of the movie... the actual running time is 98 minutes... it's only 100 minutes on the rough cut bootleg.

James van Maanen, said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James van Maanen, said...

Hello again, Anon! (Grow some balls and use your real name, OK. I use mine). To answer your accusation, I reviewed the DVD that the Troma company sent me to review, so I doubt that it was a bootleg copy. But, hey, it's Troma, so you never know: That WOULD be funny, sending out bootleg copies of your own film for review! And the running time came from Troma's press release, I think, although if I'm not mistaken, I saw that the time on my DVD player noted 1 hour, 39 min and a few seconds. But let's not quibble: Two minutes more or less would not have changed my (or probably anyone else's) opinion.

James van Maanen, said...

And Charlie -- thanks for commenting. I figured that this particular post would net a lot of dissenters. To each his own, as we used to say.

As to kicking ass, I don't know. I thought the movie Kick Ass sure kicked ass. But then, it had a lot bigger budget. Father's Day? Well, you could say it kicked ankles.

Charlie said...

if you liked Kick Ass, then there's no way that I will ever see eye to eye with you.

EXTREMELY unfair judgement as well, as Father's day cost TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. That is five thousand dollars LESS than Paranormal Activity, a movie that is set entirely in one house with two characters and zero effects.

James van Maanen, said...

Guess we won't see eye-to-eye, Charlie. But hey, I did mention Kick Ass' bigger budget in my comment, so you must know that I was aware of that. Consequently, the comparison is NOT unfair in regards to movies that kick ass because it includes a mention of the difference in budget for the two films. (I also loathed Paranormal Activity; it bored me silly.) Maybe it's a generational thing. Us old folk have less patience, I suppose. Or maybe we have MORE patience than you younger folk -- but demand a little more talent in back of the camera.

Anonymous said...

Fuck, yer dumb man. Paranormal Activity sucks, AND this was made for LESS money!
And YES, Troma WAS sending out bootleg rough cuts. This has been confirmed by Astron-6.
You're offended by the super gore, I get it... too gross for you... the humor must be over your head.

James van Maanen said...

Fuck, I'm dumb? Well, OK, Anonymous, but at least I use my own name here, which is more than I can say for the likes of you. And, yeah, the gore was gross (like that's anything new?), but the "humor" could hardly be said to have gone over anyone's head. More like under their feet.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'd just like to point out that Astron-6 are masters at parody. Now if you were to consider this movie a parody of a classic Troma movie it not only works perfectly, but adds a whole lot that Troma could never have done and kicks it up a few notches.

But if this film isn't to your taste I have no problem with that. PS- I'm not the anon who posted above.

James van Maanen said...

Hi, Other Anon--
Somehow I just knew you were not the Anonymous from further above. Something about your grammar, style, attitude... You get the point. Anyway, Astron-6 may be masters at parody, but Troma's films are ALREADY parodies. So parodying a parody becomes awfully tricky. Know what I mean? It's not just difficult to do, it's is near impossible because it means going farther and farther over the top until you come out underneath it all. So what's the point, really?

Maybe, as you suggest, the film just isn't to my taste. But I have enjoyed a number of Troma's other parodies. So it also may come down to a matter of style, or here, the lack of it.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. And next time I get the op to see an Astron-6 film, I'll take it and hope for the best. Or at least something that's a parody of its own.