Saturday, September 10, 2005

It had been at least 10 years since I'd seen what billed itself as "the Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies," but Shakes The Clown was on TV again this morning so I had to tune in. The 1992 movie starred and was directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and featured the likes of comics Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Kathy Griffin, Julie Brown and Tim Kazurinsky. It's really not that funny, but a couple of cameos make it worth watching for me.
First is Florence Henderson playing a clown groupie who Shakes (Goldthwait) has an illicit encounter with in a gross and graphic scene that's not for those with squeamish stomachs. That's not the Carol Brady I remember.
Even better is LaWanda Page, who played the God-fearing Aunt Esther in Sanford and Son (one of my all-time favourite sitcoms) portraying a barfly clown who says, "I've got a peanut butter pussy: brown, smooth and easy to spread." A few moments later, while watching a clown with a puppy on TV, Page says, "As soon as that camera's off, he's going to fuck that little dog." I'm sorry, but seeing the woman who played Aunt Esther on TV in my formative years in the '70s uttering those lines just cracks me up.
I had been invited to a Toronto International Film Festival party for a new movie about Tommy Chong that he was supposed to be at last night, but elected to stay in. But I guess I got my comedy icon fix anyway.
The Monkees' career-torpedoing film Head came on TV at 4:30 this morning, but I fell asleep and missed it. I haven't seen that since a repertory theatre in Waterloo showed it when I was going to university there in the late '80s. Victor Mature and Frank Zappa gave the standout performances, in my mind, from that drug-fueled 1968 film starring the pre-fab four that was produced and directed by Bob Rafaelson with assistance from Jack Nicholson. Boxer Sonny Liston, football star Ray Nitschke, Teri Garr (a woman who I said that I'd one day marry about 20 years ago), Dennis Hopper and Nicholson himself are among those who also appear in the film.
Shakes and Head are both available on DVD and would make a very interesting double-bill.

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