Archives for posts with tag: Japan

Phteven 0

Phteven Universe, for the uninitiated, is the musical project of Pilleater, one of the more individual and idiosyncratic racial thinkers to have carved out a niche for himself online. An original, challenging, confounding, and often obnoxious figure, Pilleater in his now substantial body of Alt-Leftish critical and creative work explores a wild frontier at the margin of the Alt-Right without ever really being of it, putting in occasional co-host appearances on Robert Stark’s Stark Truth podcast, writing books, and doing everything from comedic impressions of Alt-Right figures to music reviews on his frightening YouTube channel.

Pilleater

Pilleater

Musically, the oeuvre of Phteven Universe is not entirely separable from its creator’s perverted boutique ideology of “Asian Aryanism”. Even the name, referencing as it does a grotesque viral canine meme and a Japanese-influenced Cartoon Network TV series, is expressive of Pilleater’s interest in internet subcultures and Asiatic hybridism, conveying as well the sense of whimsy that characterizes much of Pilleater’s output.

The first, self-titled Phteven Universe album advertises itself as a vaporwave release – and there is certainly some memorable vaporwave on here – but to pigeonhole Phteven Universe as a vaporwave artist, while this perhaps is useful as a marketing niche, is to do a disservice to the eclecticism of the tracks. This one opens with effervescent waves of peace, melancholy, and inspiration wafting in with wetness and the sounds of birds – only then to plunge the listener into a morbid cityscape with soundbites expressing contempt for the soulless corporate mentality.

Phteven 1Then comes a sassy succession of late-80s-sounding Terminator-X-style hip-hop sounds and quaint computer noises. Keeping the scenery in flux, the album evokes a windswept expanse of blue desert followed by a slick retrofuturistic club beat, after which the listener is treated to a truly inspiring vapor track sampling the Commodores’ “Easy” over determined pulses of synth ascending into triumph. The vocal is spaced out – way out – so that the listener can believe it and feel it when told, “I wanna be high – so high.” This moment alone was so glorious that I actually felt a bit bad about having paid so little to own this awesome tape.

The second side of Phteven Universe is another eclectic nostalgia trip, launching from a disorienting opening into a sample of the once-ubiquitous “You’ve Got Mail” announcement and leading into an earnest, ballad-style piano number, followed by the inarticulate moan of a man ripped painfully out of a comfortable but no longer accessible past, both sad and soothing. Then the album gets crazy again and shifts into some oriental synth cutesiness followed in succession by slick, ritzy, high-rise vanilla elevator funk, a track with aggressive percussive elements resolving into a pastel chill session, and then “Fuck Off Melissa”, a nasty track evocative of a futuristic mutant sex club and reminiscent of Cabaret Voltaire of the era of The Crackdown.

Phteven 2

The second release, おさかなといっしょ – which, if Google Translate can be trusted, comes out as “With Fish and Lettuce” – consists of a first side inspired by primitive video game soundtracks and a second side that recreates what I have to imagine a night out at the gay disco must have sounded like in the early nineties. It had me thinking of C+C Music Factory, but Pilleater is very particular and autistic about his club music obsessions and probably has something else altogether in mind. The creepier and more interesting first side, which apart from nostalgia bears no immediately apparent relationship to the second, gives the haunted impression of bad AM radio reception and a lonely, neglected vintage Nintendo game that seems to ask with a touch of menace, “Hey, kid … why don’t you play me anymore?”

Illicit, the third Phteven Universe release, opens with some busy, hectic, alien-sounding material somewhat reminiscent of Prodigy or Ministry’s classic “Stigmata”, warning the listener, “There is no future.” This is followed by more distorted video game sounds in keeping with the material on おさかなといっしょ, but this time mining a more baroque melodic vein. From here Illicit turns dark again, with chaotic, repetitive cacophony evocative of a malevolent universe. As eclectic as Phteven Universe, however, Illicit never settles into a single style for very long and progresses through guitar discordance, African chanting, more homoerotic club music after the fashion of おさかなといっしょ’s second side, some funky programming and S&M percussion, industrial sounds, high-NRG dance, and a disjointed jumble of childhood memories, blips and beeps, gothic electronica, KMFDM-style angst, and – most hilariously – a sample of Jamie Stewart’s Stark Truth appearance in which the Xiu Xiu artist hissily unleashes on the Alt-Right.

Phteven 3

Side B continues with the eclecticism, getting underway with some pleasant hypnotica before launching into machine-gun-like percussion followed by more throbbing homo nightclub shenanigans. Next some breezy synth washes over an unobtrusive beat – one of the few soothing moments in Phteven Universe’s oeuvre – but the respite is brief, as the horizon darkens and gloomier tones return, followed by hip-hop and trance-like obsessions. It must be noted, too, that some of the ambient explorations and the disquieting ruminations on Illicit’s second side would seem to belie Pilleater’s cultivation of a clownish persona, so that the album is far from a mere hodgepodge of carnival weirdness. This is an album that at times expects and receives a listener’s serious attention. The creepy voice comes back again before Pilleater apostrophizes a “dream girl”, and ends on a bit of a Wendy Carlos note, with some classical synthesis.

Getting off to a fun start with some Moonman and dis rap samples and some soulful, moaning retard scat, Asian Girlfriend further develops the styles established on the previous Phteven Universe releases, with more naughty club thumping, baroque video-gamey electronica, discordant lo-fi dystopian cuteness, atmospheric electro-percussion worthy of old-school New Order, and more dark and whimsically primitive gaming, some of it sounding almost sentimental – or it would, at least, without the mutated robotic muttering over it. As with the previous albums’ smatterings of vocal passages, Pilleater seems not to be too concerned with whether or not the words are heard – except when it comes to needing help with his algebra homework; that bit gets the proper enunciation it deserves. The highlight of Asian Girlfriend, however, is easily the nasty dance number “Consent”. If you don’t like this one, it’s probably just because Pilleater can do, as he puts it, so many things – “and you’re just jealous!” The artwork alone would make Asian Girlfriend worth owning.

Phteven 4

Phteven Universe, again, is much more than a vaporwave fad-follower; but Pilleater’s commentary on the sociopolitical significance of vaporwave is key to understanding what he is attempting with his music and new Apocalypse Culture. “At its core, the vaporwave genre nostalgically admires the past: VHS tapes, electronic synthesizers, retro-futuristic cars, vector grids, vintage arcade games, bad consumer products, Japanese culture, etc.,” he writes in his essay “Fashwave Sectarianism vs. Vaporwave Hegemony”. At the same time, he concludes, vaporwave is “the music of the future.”

If vaporwave is inherently reactionary, nostalgic, and retro-futurist, it is already Right-wing. The whole thing is Right-wing. Not just the fashwave secession. What I would like to see is a critical discourse that accompanies and interprets the vaporwave genre as an essentially anti-liberal art form sprung from a sincere longing for the future we were promised but denied, without cutting itself on edgy National Socialist and Evola memes. Sure, people will try to trot out Capitalism and Schizophrenia, but it’s up to us to call out such errors in thinking. It is up to us to construct a dominant anti-liberal paradigm to eventually turn vaporwave discourse, and the music itself, against the globalist nihilism and transhumanist philosophy of Eccojams and Floral Shoppe.

Fashwave is dead! Long live fashwave!

Do Pilleater’s Phteven Universe project and Apocalypse Culture revivalism lend themselves to the construction of this anti-liberal paradigm? As Varg might suggest … let’s find out!

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

 

 

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Prick Cadillac

Oozing down the street, indeed. Make no mistake, fellow social justice warriors: Bruce Springsteen is pure, unadulterated pink slime.

[Ideological Content Analysis is both pleased and privileged to bring readers this thought-provoking and patriarchy-challenging guest post by Rokuro “Rocky” Roth-Hideyoshi, roving pop correspondent for Beat/Down: A Journal of Queer Quriticism and Aural Experience.]

Does any circumstance better illustrate the unrepentant heteronormative and intra-racial supremacy of corporate radio than the fact that “Pink Cadillac”, Bruce Springsteen’s hate-saturated 1984 B-side to the disturbing “Dancing in the Dark”, continues to receive occasional airplay on nominally non-Aryanist networks and to be hosted on YouTube and other popular websites without censorship or content disclaimers? As Kevin Ransom writes, it is one of those “songs that have practically been pounded into cliché by super-heavy radio rotation.” Springsteen’s ersatz protestations of anti-racist commitment are never convincing – a case, one suspects, in which, as Hamlet would put it, “the hater doth protest too much” – and even assuming the “Boss” has the best and most progressive of intentions, his social justice eruption insurance premium is always going to be on the high side in view of the unforgettable wreck that constitutes his “Pink Cadillac”.

An unabashed paean to European-American sexual exclusivity as well as a puerile celebration of priapic chauvinism, “Pink Cadillac” concerns the leering interest of its self-aggrandizingly amorous protagonist in the “back”, i.e., posterior, of a womban’s “Cadillac”, or objectified, dehumanized, commercialized, and customized “crushed velvet” body – conceptualized in this instance as an empty vehicle-vessel requiring a licensed (i.e., privileged) driver – which is, of course, to say an owner. “But my love is bigger than a Honda, it’s bigger than a Subaru,” he insists, betraying his insecurity while at the same time perpetuating the adolescent cruelty of the miniature Asian male sexual organ stereotype. Springsteen is one of those white men who only feels adequate when he has succeeded in making the other – in this case, the “yellow man” he fantasizes about killing in “Born in the U.S.A.” – feel small and marginalized.

The economic context, one must also remember, found the American worker and music consumer – Springsteen’s primary audience – uncertain about the future of their country’s industrial base in the face of Japanese electronics and automotive competition after nativist propagandists had largely succeeded in riling white Americans into a paranoid frenzy about global trade and the opportunities this presented for economic development in an increasingly interconnected and justice-seeking planetary order. The butt-wiggling braggadocio of the “Boss”, then, must have provided a powerful salve to the chafed egos and bruised sexualities of a generation of self-absorbed and privileged white males in desperate need of perpetual reassurance. Losing at one game, he plays another: reproductive protectionism.

Bruce Springsteen

In 2016? Really?

“Honey, I just wonder what you do there in the back of your Pink Cadillac,” he declares, hovering hairily over the listener, who feels herself almost compelled to detect the beer that is undoubtedly on his breath. He positively belches a pushy, intrusive curiosity about the sexual history of an unnamed female-gendered person, and one is left to glean from the rapist protagonist’s later reference to Eve that Springsteen is addressing a womban. Invading her mental and physical space, he commands her to “come on over here and hug me” in an attempt at projected volition so as to facilitate his intention of sexual assault and simultaneously implicate the victim as an accomplice in his own act of non-consensual violation. His invocation of Eve, too, serves to shame the target of his transgression into complicity by establishing a useful correlative with the temptress of myth.

The song, which Springsteen wrote in its first version under the rapey title “Love Is a Dangerous Thing” in 1981, took on anti-Semitic and white supremacist overtones as it devolved into what would become the honky-tonk clunker “Pink Cadillac”. In an erratic aside, the “Boss” – knowing he has the undivided attention of his impressionable audience – actually interrupts the assault to address his male listeners specifically, wishing to issue a warning to them about an imagined Jewish peril. “Well, they tempt you, man, with silver, and they tempt you, sir, with gold,” he rants, going on to espouse the canard about how the Joooooooz also “tempt you with the pleasures the flesh does surely hold.” Honestly, Mr. Springsteen? In 1984? The “Boss” confirmed for the world the depth and grossness of his anti-Semitism and sexism when he forbade peerless diva Bette Midler to include a cover of “Pink Cadillac” on her 1983 album No Frills.

Springsteen also revealed his frightening adherence to the white supremacist beliefs of the Christian Identity cult when he prefaced a live 1984 performance of “Pink Cadillac” with these contextualizing remarks: “Now, this is a song about the conflict… between worldly things and spiritual health… between desires of the flesh… and spiritual ecstasy… now, where did this conflict begin?… well, it began in the beginning in a place called the Garden of Eden… now, the Garden of Eden was originally believed to have been located in Mesopotamia… but the latest theological studies have found that its actual location was ten miles south of Jersey City, off the New Jersey Turnpike… now, understand, in the Garden of Eden, there were none of the accouterments of modern living… I mean they didn’t have no Laundromats, they didn’t have no like, like little toasters you could put your Pop-Tarts in and then watch Johnny Carson on TV…”

Relocating the Garden of Eden from the geographical Middle East to some presumably pristine white enclave of the American imaginary when it was still free of the tacky consumerist dreck and mass media “brainwashing” peddled by the stereotypical Jewish merchant caricature of anti-Semitic propaganda, Springsteen casts Adam as the progenitor of the Aryans, whom he believes to be the living embodiment of Israel. BDS activists have attacked Springsteen for the singer’s apparent willingness to tour the Zionist state this summer; but these misguided crypto-racist neckbeards miss the point entirely. Springsteen, if the dark history of “Pink Cadillac” is any indication, is venturing to Israel not to entertain the evil Joooooooz, but to conquer and occupy what he, in the fever of his sweaty, race-crazed delusions, regards as the rightful lebensraum of the Aryan Nations of Jersey.

No wonder a 2012 study found that listening to Bruce Springsteen music for seven minutes can turn normal people into racists!

Rokuro “Rocky” Roth-Hideyoshi

Have shopping to do and want to support icareviews? The author receives a modest commission on Amazon purchases made through this link: http://amzn.to/1Xyv1Hw

Twilight of the Cockroaches VHS cover

This writer’s father took him to see the Japanese import Twilight of the Cockroaches (1987) during its 1989 American theatrical run – at the now-defunct Fine Arts Theatre in Mission, Kansas, if memory serves. Directed by Hiroaki Yoshida, whose only other credit at the helm of a film is the Jeff Fahey thriller Iron Maze (1991), Twilight of the Cockroaches is but one of unnumbered oddities spawned by the Japanese cinema during the 1980s; and one suspects that the principal reason it got picked up for stateside distribution was its combination of live action and animation, a pairing that had demonstrated its power to charm audiences with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988).

The plot concerns a colony of pampered cockroaches who are permitted to live and thrive in the apartment of the dissipated and enigmatic Mr. Saito (Kaoru Kobayashi), who seems to spend most of his time in a stupor. The roaches’ peaceful existence is upset, however, when Saito gets a girlfriend (Setsuko Karasuma) who understandably insists on ridding his place of its swarms of invertebrate squatters. Not too many movies muster the gumption to cast six-legged vermin as sympathetic protagonists in such a situation, but Twilight of the Cockroaches does exactly that and succeeds largely by anthropomorphizing the animated pests, complete with human faces, facial hair on the men, and even cleavage on the females of the species.

What makes the film doubly strange and noteworthy is that the roaches apparently represent Jews, much of the story suggesting a “Holocaust” allegory. The English-language script, credited to a Steve Kramer, even uses the term “genocide” to describe humanity’s treatment of its innocent, toilet-tripping neighbors of order Blattodea. “With its subtle allusions to Hiroshima and Dachau,” the VHS box quotes The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Carrie Rickey, “this comedy has unexpected resonance. You will think twice before getting out that can of Blockade.” (Ms. Rickey is presumably unaware that even mainstream “historians” of the “Holocaust” no longer support the Nuremberg Tribunal lies about the Dachau facilities housing homicidal gas chambers disguised as showers.)

The cockroaches comprise a “tribe” suffered in the home of “host” Mr. Saito, who is described as being diverted or entertained by them, much as Jews in America distract the host with Hollywood. Then, too, they see themselves as having a special racial destiny, and they also worship a toy rabbit they know as “Torah”. Nothing in the English-dubbed soundtrack suggests Jewish vocal mannerisms, but some of the older and more important roaches do exhibit large and somewhat hook-shaped noses. The penchant of many of the roaches for spending their nights frolicking in the toilet could also suggest the subversive traits of Jews who specialize in pornography and the propagation of other degeneracies.

Seeing this movie as a child, this writer was wowed by the sheer weirdness of it, Europeans having been conditioned for decades to adore the foreign and the bizarre as a virtue. Revisited now, it is hardly a classic. Twilight of the Cockroaches does, however, furnish a useful illustration of how and why such infestation occurs. The “host”, Mr. Saito, the film eventually reveals, has been abandoned by his family, and only after the dissolution of this essential unit has he fallen into complacency and toleration of vermin and allowed them scavenge on his goods, the spoils of his own productivity. The destruction of the family is the crucial and most fundamental component of Jewish subversion of a nation; without that the Jewish cockroach is in peril, and it is only after another woman enters Mr. Saito’s life and inspires within him a yearning for new happiness in domesticity that he awakens to the filth and asserts his masculine sovereignty over his realm.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Twilight of the Cockroaches VHS back

Council on Foreign Relations creature Angelina Jolie directs Unbroken , a.k.a. (as it shalt be known for the purposes of this cinematic exegesis) The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy, the Judeo-Christian fable of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), his war service to organized Jewry, and his long and not particularly interesting tenure as a P.O.W. Equal parts war movie, survival story, and prison film, The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy’s most satisfying passage is the section in which Zamperini and two other survivors of a plane crash are stranded at sea for more than a month in a lifeboat. For the remainder of the film, Zamperini stoically endures forced labor and regular torture at the hands of the Yellow Peril. One might have expected something more engaging (or at least more divertingly offbeat) from screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen, but what the audience gets is tolerable, if judged by the standards of neocon fodder.

3.5 out of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy is:

4. Sodomy-ambivalent. Showing their solidarity with the globalist gay agenda, P.O.W.s put on a drag show. A pox on progressive internationalist Angelina Jolie, however, for resorting to the cookie-cutter homosexual villain type in the characterization of Commander Watanabe (Takamasa Ishihara). Shame on her and the Coen brothers for their clearly unreconstructed Hollywood hetero-fascism!

3. Pro-immigration. Zamperini serves as the poster boy immigrant son whose mother still speaks Italian. Bigoted Anglo-Saxon boys pick on him and call him a “wop”, unaware that he will go on to become a war hero and suffer his Unbroken Passion for all of their sins of WASP privilege. Even his underwhelming eighth-place finish in the 5,000 meter race at the Berlin Olympics is treated as an immaculate triumph for America, democracy, and equality, a companion feat to that of fellow diversifier Jesse Owens (Bangalie Keita), and the film actually attempts to give the impression that the crowd in Olympic Stadium is cheering for Zamperini.

2. Ostensibly Christian. Zamperini, initially an agnostic or atheist, is eventually moved by the Spirit to become the personal Jesus of his fellow P.O.W.s. In the triumphant moment of his Unbroken Passion, Zamperini is made to lift a cumbersome beam, the framing unsubtly calling to mind Christ’s bearing of the cross, after which he must stand crucifixion-like with it or be shot by the sadistic Jap-Romans.

1. Pro-war. The opening shot of The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy is a dreamscape of clouds accompanied by the singing of a chorus as of angels. Soon the angels materialize as American bombers doing the righteous bidding of FDR’s Yahweh-state. In The Unbroken Passion of G.I. Goy’s most laughable scene, a P.O.W. falls to his knees and weeps on hearing the news that FDR has died. Oh, no! God is dead! Yes, seventy years later, the Jew World Order is still cranking out stupid WW2 propaganda movies – in other words, hardcore porn for folks like the annoyingly coughing old Tea Party type who sat behind this reviewer and commented with a reverent and wistful air during the trailer for Selma that “if they hadn’t killed him, things’d be different today.”

Make no mistake: the tableaux of ruined Jap buildings and bodies is included not to evoke sympathy for the victims of Allied war crimes, but as a warning of what can be expected to befall any Eastern powers attempting to resist the will of ZOG. (Malaysian jet pilots, are you reading this?) The detail that the Japanese have beheaded some prisoners is no doubt intended to engender a subconscious psychological continuity between the viewer’s experience of the still highly marketable “good war” against nationalist Europe and Japan and the current money pit conflict against “ISIS” (Israeli Secret Intelligence Service?).

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Writhing Tongue

Writhing Tongue (1980) ***

Not the exercise in horror or sexual perversion that its arresting title might suggest, Writhing Tongue is actually just an offbeat medical melodrama. Masako (Mayuko Wakamori), a pretty little Japanese girl, pricks her finger while playing one day and soon develops an awkward walk and refuses to eat or open her mouth. Doctors diagnose the girl with tetanus, and her extended hospitalization places a strain on her parents’ marriage and even their sanity, their anxiety intensifying when first the father (Tsunehiko Watase) and then the mother (Yukiyo Toake) begin to suspect that they, too, might have contracted the illness.

Writhing Tongue will be a challenge to viewers accustomed to breakneck pacing, with most of the film consisting of scenes of the harried and increasingly haggard parents watching their daughter suffer in her hospital bed. Here and there an odd touch enlivens the proceedings, such as when the despairing father apostrophizes the ancient bacteria occupying his child’s body; but Writhing Tongue, for the most part, is a slow, lugubrious affair, and likely to be disturbing to any parents of small children. This critic’s chief complaint: at no point in the film is there anything even remotely resembling the “writhing tongue” promised in the title!

3 out of 5 stars.

 

Farewell to the Ark

Farewell to the Ark (1984) ****

Very loosely inspired by the magical realist vision of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, this oddball allegorical film is a difficult one to synopsize. Set in a rustic Japanese village where “time doesn’t flow”, Farewell to the Ark follows incestuous cousins Su-e (Mayumi Ogawa), condemned to an indestructible chastity belt by her father, and Sutekichi (Tsutomu Yamazaki), a 35-year-old virgin who longs desperately to penetrate her. Sutekichi’s maddening sexual frustration finally boils over when he hears himself publicly mocked by the randy Daisaki (Yoshio Harada), causing Sutekichi to murder him. After that, he and Su-e flee the village and live as husband and wife in an idyllic forest.

Separated from their community, however, Sutekichi, like some character out of a Paul Bowles story, begins to lose touch with the world around him and feels compelled to create little signs, labeling everything “shoes”, “my house” and so forth; he even hangs a sign on himself that says “Me”. A lot of other bizarre things happen in Farewell to the Ark, as well. A little boy falls into a pit, only to emerge a moment later as a fully formed adult; two youths pursue a woodland nymph whose admirers, if they see her naked, are doomed to die a horrible death; and masked dancers put on a torchlit rite that has to be seen to be believed. Seldom dull, Farewell to the Ark does, however, run somewhat overlong at 127 minutes. Still, it has much to recommend it to seekers after the strange, the obscure, and the thought-provoking.

4 out of 5 stars.

Writhing Tongue trailer

 

wolverine poster

In this adventure, “the” Wolverine – the film is conveniently titled so as to dispel any confusion as to which Wolverine is meant (sorry, Red Dawn fans) – travels to Japan at the invitation of a moribund Japanese magnate (Hal Yamanouchi) who hopes to persuade the hero to exchange his odd and problematic mutant longevity for the old gentleman’s imminent mortality through a transfusion.

The plot becomes much more convoluted than this synopsis suggests, but furnishes ample opportunity for leading man Hugh Jackman to spring into action, with sexy villainous Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) a more than adequate adversary. Standout action set pieces include a desperate skirmish atop a rocketing bullet train; Wolverine performing emergency heart surgery on himself as a ninja duel rages in the operating room; and a climactic confrontation with a giant adamantium-plated mecha-samurai that hides a surprise plot twist inside.

4 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Wolverine is:

6. Anti-state. A government minister is corrupt in both his private and public doings.

5. Animal rights militant. The Wolverine puts a wounded bear out of its misery, then avenges it when he meets its tormentor in a tavern.

4. Anti-slut. Viper, whose kiss can lay men low, serves as a walking, talking V.D. scare film.

3. Anti-capitalistic. The Japanese corporate world is cutthroat. Viper identifies herself as a capitalist.

2. Antiwar. The viewer witnesses the destruction of Nagasaki.

1. Pro-miscegenation. The Wolverine has the yellow fever.

The-Internship-movie-poster

Wedding Crashers costars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson reunite in The Internship, adequate underdog comedy fare that plays it safe and superficial, never deviating from genre conventions, and gives audiences exactly what the trailer has led them to expect. Vaughn and Wilson play Billy and Nick, wristwatch salesmen who, finding themselves the latest casualties of modernization, apply for a competitive Google internship in the long-shot hope of employment.

The protagonists’ plight will be an uncomfortably poignant one to endangered data entry workers, Blockbuster Video clerks, and all of the other expendable relics of the late twentieth century, along with that general portion of the audience comprising the rear guard of the technologically squeamish. There is an irony to the early scene in which Nick and Billy cavalierly order a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, as they themselves, like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, are suddenly made conscious of the fact that the world they knew until now is gone. After being dismissed as dinosaurs by their younger and more brilliant rivals, however, the pair finds that their age and experiences lend them a skill set and a valuable difference of perspective, a reconciliation that finds expression in the image of a tyrannosaurus skeleton wearing Groucho glasses.

Nick and Billy’s obligatory (and unlikely) comeback notwithstanding, the film offers little hope to those still haunted by the words of former employer Sammy (John Goodman) when he tells them, “Everything’s computerized now. [. . .] They don’t need us anymore.” Then, too, there is one cynical young intern’s assertion that, “The whole American Dream thing that you guys grew up on – that’s all it is nowadays – a dream.”

Vaughn and Wilson make a great comedy team, and the supporting cast, from John Goodman to Josh Brener, Will Ferrell, and the delightfully arch Aasif Mandvi, greatly enlivens an uneven script by Vaughn and Jared Stern. The Internship is funny, if not, perhaps, as consistently hilarious as one might hope; but the pacing is impeccable, so that the movie is never in danger of grating on the viewer’s patience – even if that same viewer’s sense of the decent is in for a thrashing.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Internship is:

13. Statist. The eccentric Yo-Yo’s (Tobit Raphael) traumatic homeschooling serves implicitly to endorse the public education system (cf. The Bling Ring).

12. Feminism-ambivalent. Dana (Rose Byrne) admits that her single-minded careerism has prevented her from having a happy and normal domestic existence. Her solution, however, is not to quit her job and raise a family, but to begin an affair with a new coworker. (cf. The Heat)

11. Pro-gay. “Seriously, same-sex partners make excellent parents,” Neha (Tiya Sircar) gushes. “I so wish my parents were gay.” Strippers engage in lesbian play. Anal sex is a “life changer”.

10. Pro-miscegenation. The sight of curvaceous black booty gets an obnoxious mattress salesman (Will Ferrell) hot to trot. Asian guy Yo-Yo, meanwhile, receives serial lap dances from one or more white strippers. There is also flirtation between Indian Neha and white guy Stuart (Dylan O’Brien).

9. Pro-wigger. Lyle (Josh Brener) appropriates ‘hood lingo throughout. “Hells yeah,” fist-bumping, etc.

8. Anti-Luddite. Things are getting better all the time. One suspects that Nick (Wilson), after finally landing a job with Google, would retract his earlier words of despair: “People have a deep mistrust of machines. Have you seen Terminator? Or 2? Or 3? Or 4?” (cf. no. 7)

7. Technology-skeptical. Despite its basic endorsement of innovation, The Internship does imply critiques of what gadgetry and the internet have done to human interaction. “People hate people,” Sammy observes, and post-adolescent representatives of Generation Y exhibit social dysfunction ranging from crippling shyness to barely human rudeness and lack of any shame whatsoever in the discussion of matters best left private. Neha, like many of her generation, fetishizes Japanese pop-cultural garbage and says she enjoys cosplay (dressing up like anime characters). (cf. no. 8)

6. Pro-slut. Dana sleeps with Nick on the night of their first date.

5. Pro-drug. Billy (Vaughn) unwisely suggests he would be happy to have a “cold one” or “get high” with the severe Mr. Chetty (Mandvi). He also expresses a willingness to procure alcohol for underage co-interns. Students have the best night of their lives getting drunk and raising a ruckus at a strip club. The film does, however, at least discourage drunk driving and warns against overzealous imbibing (“I think my liver hurts”).

4. Anti-family/anti-marriage. Old client Bob (Gary Anthony Williams) has an ugly daughter who Nick and Billy have to pretend is pretty. Yo-Yo’s father (Fel Tengoncion) is a henpecked husband. His mother (Chuti Tiu) was overly protective, breastfeeding him until he was seven. She also mentally and physically abuses him, which has made Yo-Yo overly harsh on himself, so that he feels he must punish himself for “inferior performance”. “My mom calls me a maniac every night when I tell her I love her,” he says. (cf. no. 11)

3. Multiculturalist/pro-immigration. “Diversity is in our DNA,” Lyle says of his company. Intellectually bright non-whites appear in depressing abundance as juxtaposed with dopey white guys Nick and Billy. Anti-American zillionaire and ethnosaboteur Mark Zuckerburg will probably get misty-eyed when he watches The Internship‘s depictions of all the technologically adept diversity awaiting the country as soon as “immigration reform” is passed.

2. Progressive. Google is “an engine for change”.

1. Corporate. The Internship is essentially a feature-length Google commercial.

Underground

Underground (1991) *****  “Most of the people who come here you can hardly call people,” says bartender Whitebread (credited as playing “himself”) of the clientele at the strip club that serves as the sordid setting of Bret Carr’s remarkable exploitation entry Underground. The fun begins when innocent bimbo Allison (Rachel Carr), fresh off the Greyhound bus from Nebraska, gets lured into a waitressing job, unaware that her new place of work doubles as a white slavery clearing house run by degenerate Rudy Gantz. Clement von Franckenstein delivers Underground‘s center ring performance as grime-dripping, gloriously potty-mouthed Gantz, the super-sleazy strip club proprietor who introduces himself to the viewer by unleashing a mightily sustained volley of hall of fame profanity worthy of Joe Pesci or Al Pacino as he makes a dishonest deal over the phone. The clearly psychotic Gantz spends much of the movie badgering his subordinates as he frets and mugs and arranges to rectify an unprofitable “paucity of pussy”, sending henchman Tony (Jack Savage, a poor man’s Alan Rickman) on thankless errands to procure fresh meat for his periodic auctions.

Underground is a real treat for trash aficionados, with roughly half its run time devoted to sultry strip routines, the amazing Debra Lamb being particularly praiseworthy in her balletic pole turns as “Fire Girl”. The film should please admirers of Katt Shea’s contributions to the erotic strip-thriller subgenre, especially Stripped to Kill, to which Underground bears a telling stylistic resemblance with its dark, cavernous nightclub and atmospheric use of colored lights, shadows, and smoke. Both films mythify the lowest of Los Angeles, recasting the city as a decidedly adult fairy tale universe of ogres, princesses, and spells as exemplified by juggling jester Whitebread when he says of Allison’s transformation into an LA temptress, “Hey, man. You got the magic. She ain’t the same virgin princess as last night. I think some prince fucked her and woke her up to reality.”

Bret Carr’s screenplay is just as nasty a joy as the dance routines in Underground. Other memorable lines include any number of Rudy Gantz’s utterances, such as when he barks at Allison, “I am not Dick Clark and this is not the fucking Solid Gold dancers. Now lose the top, you cunt!” Then, too, there is the appalling “Rat”, who, brandishing and licking a knife, waxes sentimental about a woman and laughs, “I loved her. All I wanted to do was cut her pussy and save it for my collection.” Even the scummy songs accompanying the strip sequences, several performed by Jean Stewart, contribute to the all-pervading perversion of the experience, with titles like “Clit Fingers” and “Panties Down”; references to bestiality and statutory rape; and such lines as, “Piss on the teacher! Shit on her desk! Rip all her clothes off! Scratch your name on her chest!” In sum, Underground is mandatory viewing for seekers after the obscene and extreme, a triumph of reverent, aesthetically piquant presentation of the female form and an LA-flavored highlight of what this reviewer likes to term the Kelly Bundy Era in movie bimbo fashions.

Tokyo Decadence

Tokyo Decadence aka Topaz (1992) ****1/2  One of the most shocking and frankly depressing films ever to emerge from Japan or anywhere else, writer-director Ryu Murakami’s Tokyo Decadence offers a chilly portrait of his country as an emotional dystopia of nihilistic sado-power relationships, sunglasses and blindfolds, rubber and plastic, sterile interiors and intimidating exteriors of steel, concrete, and glass that weigh upon the individual, in this case delicate call girl Ai (Miho Nikaido), still wounded after being jilted by a socially superior lover. Set in the ragged aftermath of Japan’s years as an economic powerhouse, the film is an exotic and more depraved cousin of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street in its message that soullessly transitory economic and earthly prosperity can come at a terrible price, at the national as well as the individual level. Japan, as depicted, is a place uprooted from tradition and morality, left to drift and divert itself in jaded, mutually degrading sadomasochistic pleasures, and Ai, as she moves from blackly absurd gig to gig, meets an array of men and women representative of the decline: gangsters, sluts, drug addicts, and a rogue’s gallery of self-loathing, degenerate johns who share what Murakami characterizes as the fatal Japanese misfortune of “wealth without pride”. Tokyo Decadence is an experience that, for better or worse, burns itself irreparably into the viewer’s memory, and is recommended more for the art house crowd than for exploitation audiences, its explicitness being more unpleasantly allegorical than erotic.

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