Massawyrm calls BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS the best bad movie of the year!
Published at: Nov. 23, 2009, 3:35 p.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
The first thing you need to know about BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS is that it is NOT a good movie. It’s not meant to be. It’s a bad movie, a movie so WTF awful at times that you can only cock your head and shake it baffled at what you are seeing. So why are people going gaga for it? Because it is an AWESOME movie; a funny as fuck and meant to be bad every step of the way. This BAD LIEUTENANT is a comedy, a hilarious and very deliberate send up of drug addled cop dramas and a full frontal parody of everything Nicolas Cage has become. Directed by lunatic fringe genius Werner Herzog, this is a rare attempt to make an amusing film through the tropes of bad filmmaking.
This movie, simply put, is fucked up. Intentionally terrible at every point, there is very little to actually critique here. I mean, how do you judge a film meant to entertain with how awful it means to be? Cage isn’t playing a character; he’s a Saturday Night Live sketch ABOUT Nicolas Cage. Every terrible thing Cage has done in the last decade rears its ugly head here. Scenes with him go longer than they should; he utters nonsensical random exclamations for no apparent reason, flails like a bobble-head and goes all googly-eyed in what would be known as one of the worst performances he’s ever set to film if he weren’t busy trying to make one of the worst performances ever set to film.
This isn’t a film for the average cinema-goer. It is the cinematic equivalent of drinking PBR at a good bar and growing an ironic mustache. Meant for the type of audience who revels in terrible filmmaking, Herzog decided inexplicably to try to make one himself and just goes twelve different kinds of bug-fuck nuts. Most people aren’t going to get what the fuck any of this is supposed to mean. Of course, Herzog is no stranger to making films for 1% of his audience. Already half insane himself, this seems to be the culmination of everything he does best done wrong for laughs.
And the effect is tremendous. Seen under the right circumstances with the right audience, this movie is a balls out, laugh a minute comedy that will have you rolling in the aisles and quoting it as you walk out into the lobby. I’ve heard no end of renditions of “TILL THE BREAK OF DAWN!” and “You don’t have a lucky crack pipe,” for the last week from my friends who witnessed it with buckets of beer at the Alamo Drafthouse. I was fortunate to see this in the perfect environment, surrounded by people ready to be wowed by the elegant badness of it. But I can’t imagine seeing this with anything resembling a casual audience.
The closest film that even compares to this is Chris Sivertson’s I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, a film only about a dozen people realized was meant to be a comedy in the same vein as this. Unfortunately, star Lindsey Lohan didn’t quite get it the same way Cage does and tried to be serious. But by the time Eddie “Crabman” Steeples shows up to give her a bionic hand with which she can hunt down her twin-sister’s killer, if you don’t realize you’re watching a comedy then you never will. Arguably, Sivertson is no Herzog and was mostly giggling to himself about being able to make this kind of batshit insanity on the studio’s dime. This is an indie and rightfully so.
Cage is delightfully incredible here. He is making fun of himself so hard here that there are moments you wonder just how aware he is of his performance. You believe that he is actually high the whole fucking movie, almost incapable of giving a real performance at all. And that’s the beauty of the subtlety it. He’s riffing on everything he does badly in other, more mainstream films. Like a phoenix he seems to be flaming out, burning everything that’s come before to ash so he can reinvent himself, moving into the next phase of his career. He’s become a joke and he gets that as much as we do. This seems to be his apology, his great thrashing, teeth gnashing gesture of humiliation meant to win back the people who no longer have any faith in his ability. And if you’re paying attention, you will gain a whole new respect for the man.
Extreme caution should be exercised when considering seeing this film and whom to see it with. It is not for everyone, hell it’s not really for much of anyone. You have to know exactly what you’re watching or else you will hate every moment of it. But if you do know what you’re looking at, it is a thing a beauty, a monument to bad filmmaking that will bring a smile to your face and renew your faith in an actor who seemingly left us long ago. Easily the best bad movie of the year, this comes highly recommended to those of you who understand everything I’m fumbling to get at here. BL:POCNO lives up to everything you’ve heard about it. And it must be seen to be believed.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.