Tuesday, August 20, 2013

O.C and Stiggs

Asking why Robert Altman made O.C. And Stiggs is like asking why Altman made Popeye, or Fool for Love, or any other cash-grab coke-money project he ventured to produce in the ‘80s. It's a dangerous question, because it only leads to more and more absurd questions. For instance, is it self-indulgent? If so, how could Altman possibly take gratification in the end product unless the only thing that was blowing his skirt up those days was the anger of people who'd spent money to watch his films? Loosely based off dumb recurring characters from National Lampoon magazine, O.C. and Stiggs follows the misadventures of its titular characters, O.C. (Oliver Cromwell, though he insists it stands for "Out of Control!") and Stiggs.

At a certain point we’re going to stop relating anything that actually happened in the movie, as the nanobots have informed us that plot points after the first half of the movie will… upset them. Watch this movie if you've run out of reasons to dislike the abject and paltry drudgery of your life. Read this scorecard while you're doing it...
  • Jane Curtain drinking out of a binocular flask while watching her insurance company-owning husband Paul Dooley's commercial about how much he dislikes drinkers. = +8pts 
  • Sneaking into Curtain and Dooley's backyard while this is going down, mischief makers replace grilled lobsters with dog bones. Oh boy, is Paul Dooley gonna be PISSED! = +3pts 
  • Oops! Flashback to a tropical credit sequence, a delightful frolic and surfing excursion to the sunny Gulf of Mexico. Kind of not really doing anything for us. = -4pts 
  • NO WAY! They weren't surfing in the gulf at all, it was a fake surf pool in the middle of the frickin' Arizona desert! For completely subverting our sense of reality from the get-go. = +30pts 
  • It's cool they got Vampire Weekend to do the soundtrack, er, wait, maybe that was King Sunny Ade and His African Beats? It's hard to tell. = +5pts 
  • "Even with a name like Coletti we couldn't keep him out of the neighborhood." On the one hand, Paul Dooley's racism is definitely not a good thing. However, it's directed at Martin Mull . So we'll split the difference? = 0pts 
  • Ooh, O.C. and Stigg's friend's mom is a hot school nurse that wears a ridiculous hot school nurse outfit, and she just offered to see one of them after school. If we know anything about National Lampoon this is going to be great. If we know anything about Robert Altman, this isn't going to go anywhere . = -20pts 
  • Ducky from Pretty in Pink plays such a big ol' dork/Paul Dooley's kid. O.C. and Stiggs, dudes, We’re counting on you gu—yes! The old exploding water fountain trick. = +21pts 
  • If your goal is to establish that O.C.'s grandfather is eccentric, devoting nearly 5 minutes of the film's runtime to going over his obsession with Huevos Rancheros is… definitely one way to do that. = -33pts 
  • Somehow we made it out of the Huevos black hole and into the most amazing outfits ever. There's vests, shorts, ties, rainbow visors. Wow. This shit's amazing. = +8pts 
  • And they're wearing them to go ride go-carts. = +100pts 
[It's right around here that the wheels start falling off. Things are making less and less sense, and—classic Altman—conversations are never allowed to finish.]
  • Okay, so they bought an old AMC Rambler and put an extraordinary lift package and sublimely unpleasant horn and we still have no idea why Altman's filming this. = -10pts 
  • Dennis Hopper reprising his role from Apocalypse Now, while completely blown out of his goddamn mind. = +34pts 
  • Dennis Hopper not even trying to hide the fact that he doesn't have any of the dialogue memorized. = +4pts 
  • O.C. and Stiggs are buying an UZI from Dennis Hopper, and he suggests they tell Paul Dooley's daughter to use it on a small dog. = -50pts 
  • Props to Jane Curtain for always finding weird stuff to drink out of. = +12pts 
  • Miranda from Sex and The City and O.C. are doing some tap-dance bullshit, and maybe if Altman could ever film a complete scene we'd find out what the hell he's trying to do, but no. Instead, he's got 8 other completely bullshit dumb scenes happening at the same time that he's decided it's totally cool to just randomly intercut. Quantity over sanity par excellence. = -60pts 
  • Jesus, did he even rehearse a single scene? Really, were the actors even given copies of the script before they started filming this banana party? = -32pts 
  • Bringing a machine gun to a wedding seems oddly appropriate in this movie. That's kind of an accomplishment, we guess…. = -21pts 
  • Script Doctor: Stiggs' character getting a little boring here, Robert. Altman: Oh yeah? SD: Yeah… Let's give him some Steampunk goggles! Altman: Pay this man all our money! = +30pts 
  • Melvin Van Peebles as a burnt-out wino? Master-stroke! = +5pts 
  • Why?! = -10pts 
  • Goddamnit, why? = -15pts 
  • After their misguided jaunt to Mexico, one of them (We seriously can't remember which) gets Montezuma's Revenge, and we guess we're supposed to care or whatever. = +20pts 
  • So the two cads grab some "sluts" (their words) that look like genies and head to some terrible restaurant. = -20pts 
  • A truly inspirational speech from some jingoistic televangelist about how art's for fags and America is built on blood, sweat, and tears. = +25pts 
  • Stumbling into Martin Mull's weird backyard sex party and he's got tiki drinks everywhere and a vanity license plate that says "cool." Awesome. = +100pts 
  • Mull's character is a millionaire because of "hog couture." So he was like Talbott's or whatever. = -75pts 
  • Okay, so there's a concert coming up for that band you both love. Why not dress up like Sheiks? = -10pts 
  • Oh man, that King Sunny Ade concert footage is actually pretty good. If only Altman wouldn't cut away to something completely stupid every like 25 seconds… = -35pts 
  • Oh, but grumply-grumple Schwab isn't happy at all with the Nigerian band and their pleasant tunes… = +25pts (Because of racism, natch.) 
  • There's a scene where O.C. and Stiggs are wearing cut off football jerseys and walk into a restaurant with Bob Eubanks talking to no one at a table about how cool baseball is. Yeah, it really doesn't make any sense, but Bob Eubanks' choice of shirt is shrewd indeed. = +10pts 
  • Somehow they break into Schwab's survival bunker and start… Just shooting fireworks. Jesus. My mouth is so dry right now. = -40pts 
  • It's a firecracker fight to the finish. And Dennis Hopper just hopped (ha!) into a helicopter to go give those boys some support. = +25pts 
  • Ugh. = -20pts 
  • This is just getting rough. Like, it's not even worth writing about what's happening here. It's a garbled mess. =-30pts 
Total Score = -30pts
Available: Invite-Only Private Torrent Web-Sites run by sadists, Dollar Bin at one of the four video stores left that sell old sadist VHS tapes.

A lot of you are probably familiar with the feeling of frustration. Watching O.C. and Stiggs *is* frustration. Really, though, you get tiny glimpses of a scene that was probably very fun to make, and almost definitely would be worth watching if only you were allowed to watch the whole scene, and not just about 25 seconds before cutting to some other scene that's half over and doesn't make a lick of sense in context with the scene it's intercutting. Maybe this technique made sense in the ‘80s? It seems like a lot of things made sense in the ‘80s that maybe didn't *really* make any sense at all.

Score Technician: Paul Bower

No comments:

Post a Comment