If you're feeling overwhelmed, but still want to squeeze a film into your daily routine, this list is made for…
A tasty comedy of bad manners.
A relatively boring Los Angeles couple discover a bizarre, if not murderous way to get funding for opening a restaurant.
When I was a kid, my father kept a small collection of VHS tapes tucked away in a bureau drawer and hidden from the rest of the family. The cassettes were worn and weathered, their clamshell cases festooned with “BE KIND, REWIND” stickers and the leftover residue of peeled-off labels; in other words, each videotape carried all the familiar hallmarks of a clearance sale purchase from our local Mom & Pop rental store. I have only faint and fuzzy memories of the movies my father kept secreted away in that bureau drawer: S.O.B., Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Screwballs… and Eating Raoul. I remember harboring a weird, borderline illicit fascination with that film’s handdrawn box art: the white-and-yellow checkerboard background; the…
Paul Bartel’s underrated comedy gem Eating Raoul is an unflinching, black as night satire about the sexual delirium, pecuniary obsession, and hedonistic Zeitgeist of 1980s America, appropriately set in the sweltering, decadent metropolis of Los Angeles, California. It’s relentless in its farcical portrayal of societal atrophy that I liken to a classic Tex Avery skit given a feature length runtime and filmed in live action, where all the men are Big Bad Wolves and all the women are Red Hot Riding Hoods. This is my first foray into Bartel’s scathing, gag-filled, politically incorrect works and I am pleased to say that it delivers the goods and the laughs in generous abundance.
Bartel teams with Mary Woronov of Chelsea Girls fame…
Why don't you go to bed, honey? I'll bag the Nazi and straighten up.
A black comedy that is as dark, smart and witty as it is cheap, sleazy and vulgar. Paul Bartel pulls off directing this ludicrous film making it memorable simply because it actually satires something in America's fascination and disgust with sexual liberation, 80s obsession with success and then tops it off with a few jabs at racism.
Bartel directs from a script he co-wrote with Richard Blackburn. It plays on Bartel's strengths as an actor and that is deadpan humor filled with one liners from beginning to end. More people would realize just how smart this film is if it wasn't so expertly disguised in filth. Unfortunately I've come to realize that I've only seen Robert Beltran in one other thing, and I kept having flashbacks to Star Trek: Voyager during the film. Chakotay was up to no good in his early years.
Black comedy doesn't get much better than this.
I'll get back into writing more in my next entry, I had an all nighter with a friend and didn't feel like writing much.
Well, that was...interesting. I'm all for a good black comedy, especially one that involves killing swingers for money and selling the bodies to a taco stand, but with Eating Raoul, I just could not get past the performances of the leads and most of the swinger cameos (although Robert Beltran as Raoul himself did a fine job). Unless the dialogue and wooden acting were meant to be intentionally campy (as some of the set-pieces and gags clearly implied), it was just grating to hear characters spout a line of exposition for the sole reason of bridging a cut ("Look, a wallet!" - cut to a close-up of the character picking up a wallet; or, saying "James" eight times in the…
Delightfully sexy and silly, this film is a bizarre delight. God, such an antidote to the bad horror blues, and I wouldn't've watched it if it hadn't been misclassified as horror. It's dark comedy and possibly satirical (or maybe just absurd). It really nails how absurdity can make villain-protagonists palatable. Of course, there's a contrast between our Bland murderers and their comrade/enemy Raoul, but no one in this film is anything but a bad person in some way. Still, there is something endearing about how the Blands sleep with stuffed animals/wine bottles, in separate beds, and to be honest, something sexy about Mary in general.
An underrated gem from the 80's that perfectly encapsulates hedonistic, pre-AIDS, promiscuous L.A. life at the time. A blast and howl from start to finish. I would love to see a lot more of Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov--they're oh-so-great together. Would make a great triple-bill with 'Cruising' and 'American Psycho'.
When it was announced this was coming to The Criterion Collection, I balked and swore I'd never watch it, knowing nothing about the film and its creators. Thankfully, my public library had the DVD and I decided to give it a try. Thoroughly impressed and glad I gave it the chance. Certainly pays off the cinematically adventurous, methinks.
"Mary, I just killed a man."
"He was a man. Now he's just a bag of garbage."
It's 1982 and this dark comedy from Paul Bartel has just put a nail in the coffin of the free love movement of the 60s and 70s. Cannabilism and a fine bordeaux reign supreme.
Like Woody Allen filming a John Waters script.
If you haven't watched this do it. super funny and really good.
Films hung entirely on social satire/commentary seem to work best when they're dramatically emphatic or overtly ridiculous (Kurahara's The Warped Ones comes to mind as a little bit of both). The issue with Eating Raoul, is that it doesn't appear to wholeheartedly embrace the insanity of its premise, leaving it feeling like a half-cooked sketch stretched beyond its limits, which damages whatever bite its got going for it.
What we're left with, then, is essentially a lesser version of Motel Hell. Which, released two years prior, featured similarly satirical social commentary, goofy traps to lure in unsuspecting victims, cannibalistic recycling and some swinging swingers.
It's amazing no one has tried to remake this yet, aside from the fact that I can't imagine it getting made today.
The satire may not be as fresh as it once was in the 80's at the hight of excess, the films wonderful screwball tone that somehow undercuts the macabre and gross storyline pinned with two superb deadpan performances manage to penetrate deeper into socialite idea of higher living.
Think Keeping Up Appearances but with more S&M and cannibalism.
One of my favorite comedies.
UPDATED: September 11, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…