Saturday, August 29, 2020

Two re-releases from Roger Nygard: used-car salesmen comedy SUCKERS and hoped-for alien abduction doc, SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL

As a fan (of at least two) of the films of Roger Nygard (shown at right) -- The Nature of Existence and The Truth About Marriage -- I was primed to take a look at two of his earlier movies now able to be streamed during our current-and-who-knows-how-long? stay-at-home-please! Covid-19 period. 

Turns out, both films are fun, funny and worth a look.

lets us spend those fortunately very telescoped six days in the famous (maybe infamous) New Mexico town where, back in 1947, strange sightings and more are said to have taken place. The year 1997 marked the 50th anniversary of this "event," so director Timothy B. Johnson and Nygard, who acted as editor and producer on this film, follow the meanderings of a fellow named Rich Kronfeld (at left and below), who desperately wants to be abducted by those aliens and so has come from his home state ("We just don't have alien abductions in Minnesota," he explains) to New Mexico in hopes of at least learning something new and maybe even meeting one of those outer-space bad boys.

He doesn't, but he and we do discover a whole bunch of locals and visitors to Roswell celebrating whatever happened a half-century back. The movie refuses to make fun of these folk (that's really not Nygard's style) but simply allows them to present their views -- which are more often than not plenty ridiculous and funny enough to make the movie as good a comedy as was probably released that year (1999).

Kronfeld proves a goofy/silly/even-kind-of-sexy host and narrator, as he leads us through days of oddball meals (a spaceship-shaped pizza and green alien cookies), true believers (there are plenty of these), a parade (above) and even a space-alien musical, below, whose producer tells us may indeed be headed for Broadway! (It wasn't.)

As to that original Roswell event and subsequent government cover-up (the movie will put you in mind of our current idiot President and his nonsensical take on the "deep state"), we hear one after another hilarious theory and explanation, my favorite of which comes as one very thoughful, questing woman tells us, "What might have happened might have happened." And there, my friend, is simply the finest, most succinct explanation of the Roswell story I've yet to hear.

offers the chance to spend some time with folk you might have imagined as America's lowest-of-the-low -- used car salesmen -- and their prey. 

Here we have Mr. Nygard, who co-wrote (with Joe Yannetty, who also plays a supporting role) and directed, in a much more negative, very nearly vicious mode than we are used to experiencing from him. And TrustMovies must say that this suits the guy pretty damned well. The movie is nasty and funny in just about equal measure, and most of its characters are sexist, racist and generally misanthropic (or merely stupid).

Most of them are losers, too, including even the would-be hero, played by Louis Mandylor (shown at right on poster two photos up). The movie's best performance -- it's sensational -- comes from Daniel Benzali, above, as the dealership's almost boss, and the rest of the cast does a fine job, too, with Eli Danker (below, right) especially good at providing a bit of moral ballast against the rest of the sleazeballs on hand.

The humor is often dark but bracing -- the movie's funniest line, "There you go again, setting off the lie detector," which against the visual occurring at that moment provides juicy/ugly fun -- and Nygard's ability to move from comedy/satire to violent heist melodrama and barely missing a beat is commendable. Nothing groundbreaking/shaking here, but Suckers certainly has its share of good, dirty fun.

Both movies are being re-released via Nygard in restored versions that look good and play well. You can view either or both SUCKERS and SIX DAYS IN ROSWELL by clicking on the appropriate link on the titles, just above.  

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