Just Above Sunset
July 3, 2005 - Bob Patterson on The Aristocrats

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The older generation calls it trend spotting, but the kids call it "cool hunting."  Journalists, columnists, news writers are always scrambling all over each other trying to find the next "big thing."  Stand by for another documentary film that will get the same folks who disapproved of Fahrenheit 9-11 all atwitter. 


The Aristocrats may catch the attention of various conservative talk show hosts, because it will not only give them a chance to switch the subject matter away from phantom WMD's in Iraq.  It will provide them with an opportunity to wallow in something they will find comforting, reassuring, and familiar.  The film's scatological humor, which reaches a level reminiscent of that achieved by John Waters in Pink Flamencos, will bring out the pious sermons and sanctimonious outrage usually reserved only for a Michael Moore documentary.


This member of the Just Above Sunset news team has a high tolerance for freedom of speech and so when the chance to attend a screening of the new film by Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette was presented, we snatched it up as quickly as possible.  The film title refers to a joke told by professional comedians to each other.  It is an "inside joke" and its existence has previously been a trade secret.


This film presents various comedians telling the same story with each successive teller striving to outdo the last with the tale that includes descriptions of sexual depravity that would (ostensibly) make the Marquis de Sade blush. 


Those with delicate sensibilities will be strongly discouraged from even considering seeing this movie, but fans of potty mouth comedy, such as the devoted fans of Comedy Central's South Park will eat this up like candy.  George Carlin, a recognized authority on naughty words, participates and then gives a serious brief dissertation on the appeal of scatological humor and various attempts to break society's boundaries and get a laugh in the process.


For the talk shows cable, this film will be a godsend.  They can titillate their audience with medical terminology, and avoid the use of the more common vulgar terms that would get them FCC fines up the whazoo.  (I can say that, can't I?)


Obviously such excess will be more than the goodie-twoshoes audience can swallow, but that is exactly why it will be discussed until the subject is coming out the conservative audience's ears.  The talkers will (metaphorically) roll around in the topic and then denounce it with all the umbrage, vitriol, and thunderous disapproval they can muster.  Listeners will relish the wrath and probably suggest (humorously but not seriously) all kinds of hypothetical punishment that should be administered to the long roster of comedians who participated in this marathon recitation of a catalogue of deviance and sexual depravity. 


It's the perfect recipe for a delicious orgy of denunciation and rebuke that helps the conservatives reach a climax of righteous indignation.  The "holier than thou" crowd will agree they should be castigated, if they know what the distasteful word felch means.


Screenings of movies that are about to be released are common in LA (and according to a reliable source in London [England not Ontario] too) because critics like to see a film ahead of time so that their review can be synchronized with the film's release date.  Other newsies are invited in the hopes of creating interest in the product with the intention of building an audience during a period when audience numbers are sagging like a three-day-old balloon.


Journalists, who will cheerfully go to jail to protect anonymous sources and freedom of speech, will probably add fuel to the potential for controversy, by unleashing a torrent of Summer "dog day" feature stories about any adverse reaction to this documentary (or even just the potential for such a dispute.)


Daily Variety reviewed the film when it played at the Sundance Film Festival and there was no attempts to embargo the critical reactions at this particular screening, so as a person who has reviewed a few movies in his time, we can say the last time we laughed this much at a movie was when we saw "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."  (Some folks have described the columnist's laughter as "raucous.")  This summer, many people may need some good laughs.  When the film is released many of the reviews will be linked at the site for the movie review query engine (some are already posted there.)


This film is definitely not for the squeamish and easily offended.  Don't say that Just Above Sunset didn't warn you. 



Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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