Friday, June 11, 2010

Norman's Awesome Experience

(Paul Donovan, 1989)
The parallels to Donovan's "Def-Con 4" are obvious - just substitute time travel for space travel and Roman rabble for the post-apocalyptic kind. But whatever half-realized virtues the earlier title evinced are lost in a painfully unrealized hipster bid that frankly drove me into a permanent blind rage within a half hour. Tom McCamus's 'funny' hair signals a longing for cult cred a la, I don't know, Buckaroo Banzai or something, but in this interpretation cult means forsaking all narrative coherence and characterization in favour of appalling shtick unworthy of Pauly Shore. I mean, "Don't leave Rome without it?" Warring peasants singing the Roger Ramjet theme? Give me a fucking break, asshole. The entire movie is as remote and unmotivated as possible at all times, and manages to appear spectacularly wasteful of its relatively modest budget. And delving several leagues beyond twee are the unfathomably hateful characterizations of Laurie Patton's fashion model and especially, especially Jacques Lussier's smirking creep photographer. His final comeuppance is wholly inadequate: I truly wanted to see this performer hanging from a tree by his intestines. And no complaints if Donovan gets hung up there with him, which would have spared us his subsequent directorial catastrophes along similar lines.

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