by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here on the IndyBlog.
Probably the hardest genre to create a “high-concept” gimmick around is the Western. Most people want their westerns to be mostly by the book — cowboys and Indians, thank you very much — so most filmmakers have to dip their toes in the water before they can just dive in. The funny thing is that some of the most memorable westerns do revolve around a gimmick of some sort, particularly in the casting. MGM has released two of the best on Blu-ray, starting with 1980s superb The Long Riders, starring Stacy and James Keach as Frank and James, as well as all the Carradines and Quaids as outlaws trying to make a name for themselves. Just as entertaining is the modern blaxpoitation western Posse, a 1993 effort from director Mario Van Peebles, who also stars as Spanish-American war infantryman hell-bent on revenge. If that wasn’t enough, it co-stars old-school rappers Tone Loc and Big Daddy Kane. And that’s all I need!
Even though I tend to use it as a punchline whenever trying to describe a movie that fratty douchebags would cream their jeans over, I haven’t ever seen The Boondocks Saints. I figured that the black-and-white posters that adorn the wall of every date-rapist’s dorm room told the whole story, but, upon an actual viewing. I have come to find I was a bit wrong. You see, the actual idea of Saints isn’t a bad one — two brothers, anointed by God to kill any and all evildoers in their vicinity — but it’s executed with such ugly, comical ineptitude from director Troy Duffy that it’s ultimately an off-putting, dull flick that would appeal to only the most uneducated of proletariat imbeciles. If this special edition Blu-Ray truly had any balls, it would have included the amazing documentary Overnight, a no-holds-barred look at Duffy’s quest to make Saints.
I have never seen Ice Road Truckers, but the concept is intriguing enough: a reality show that follows truckers hauling freight on some of the slickest frozen roads in North America. The spin-off series, IRT: Deadliest Roads, takes the same concept, but instead of ice and snow, we’ve got the truckers braving the impossible roads of India’s mountainside Himalayan highways. Now this is all well and good, but then you meet the truckers: loud, xenophobic, foulmouthed white trash who take every opportunity to exert their boorish will over their Indian hosts. Well, not all of them. The lone saving grace is the female trucker, Lisa, who is the most likable part of the show and the only one who doesn’t spend her free time complaining and swearing. She’s gets in that truck and gets the job done. You get the feeling that the show would have been more entertaining and more impactful if the series focus had been solely on her adventures.