“Disco Dolls”, “127 Hours” and “Enter the Void”
Back in high school I had a subscription to Newsweek. Don’t ask me how or why (because I can’t remember). One issue had a single column devoted to a kitschy 70s film called “Disco Dolls in Hot Skins in 3-D”. The film had found new life as a revival in art-house and college cinemas. Having never seen an old-school red-and-blue lens 3-D film, I tore the page out of the issue and saved it for years, waiting for an opportunity to see it.
A year ago I found out the Bijou in Iowa City was screening it as their midnight movie. Finally! My plans to attend were dashed when some stuffed-shirt axed the screening on the grounds that the university shouldn’t be using taxpayer dollars to support pornography. Despite the Bijou’s pointed objection that ticket sales made up the vast majority of their financial support, the decision was final.
This year the Bijou put the film back on the calendar, and after discussing the matter at length with the head office, they acquiesced to showing it. I tinkered with the idea of driving down to see it, but in the end I passed. Red-and-blue 3-D was a gimmick at best and often induced miserable headaches. And I have no desire to pay someone to give me a headache (intentionally). We’ll avoid a discussion of the pros and cons of sitting in a dark theater watching blatant porn. The movie is out-of-print on DVD; used copies sell for upwards of $100 (though they do come with the glasses).
But really, even if I could watch it at home, I don’t think I’d want to. I doubt my nearly encyclopedic knowledge of film history will be diminished or lacking in any significant way if I don’t see this movie. Simply knowing of its existence should suffice.
I did manage to catch something in the cinema this weekend – “127 Hours”, the latest by Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”, “28 Days Later”, “Slumdog Millionaire”). It’s one of this year’s ten Best Picture nominees, and rightly deserves the recognition. James Franco, who rarely is afforded an opportunity to show he is a serious actor, does a great job as Aron Ralston, the real-life outdoorsman who in 2003 fell into a canyon and became stuck when a boulder pinned his right hand against the canyon wall. Five days pass while Aron screams for help, watches his food and water rations run out, tries in vain to move the boulder, hopelessly chips away at it with his utility tool and records his predicament on his digital camcorder. Tired, hungry, hallucinating and desperate, he refuses to give up, and eventually resorts to drastic measures I don’t believe I’d be capable of myself. I won’t reveal what he does at the end, but it is grisly to watch (or to hear, in one particularly quick moment).
I also saw “Enter the Void” this weekend. Very bizarre existential film. The opening credits are as artistic as the film but their loud abrasive style doesn’t match the more meditative nature of the storyline. I’m fairly confident in saying this is the first I’ve seen that shows a penis ejaculating inside a woman from the viewpoint of the uterus.