Monday, December 31, 2012

Gabby New Year 2013!

Werth: Well, Wise another year is about to round the corner.

Wise: Too true! And of course this means an evening of celebration with you, champagne, and your curry-rubbed baked brie.

Werth: And nothing goes better with spicy cheese, bubbly, and friends than a good old fashioned party movie. Party movies are those wonderful cinematic goodies that often fall into the "so-bad-they-are-good" category. The only requisite is that they leave copious pauses between the usually horrible lines of dialogue so the audience can shout out better one-liners.

Wise: And also toss back extinction-level mixed drinks.  

Werth: If you're looking to inject some party movie fun into your New Year's Eve, no film fits the bill better than 1964's drive-in bomb The Creeping Terror. Made for what looks to be all of $20, The Creeping Terror proves what you can do with a couple no-name actors, some dance footage, and a piece of shag carpeting. The Creeping Terror opens as most alien invasion movies do, with a spaceship crash-landing in the middle of nowhere so that a 
couple small-town deputies can stumble across the hideous aliens as they cut a swath of terror across the countryside.

Wise: Because nothing starts an evening out better than eliminating a couple of bumbling functionaries.  

Werth: However the alien in this flick moves so slowly, and is so obviously a bad rug covering a couple of stunt people, that the  only thing the audience should fear is the champagne spraying out of their nose from laughter. 

To make things worse, the sound was recorded so poorly that the movie is narrated by a voice-over that sounds like the most earnest of instructors in your health class filmstrips. When the narrator says that a character is "eager" or "unsure", you wonder if this is a horror movie, or Rules of Dating (1949). 

Wise: Most of my recent dates have definitely been in the "horror" category.  

Werth: The climax is a bunch of teens wildly dancing the "mashed potato" and the "jerk" for several scenes while the monster ambles across the parking lot in real time before crashing the party and devouring the dancers.  
If you want to feel some empathy while you watch these poor actors shove themselves into the monster, remember that legend has it that this film was actually funded by the actors. The Creeping Terror is a party movie you can feel both good and bad about as you pass the cheese plate.

Wise: A party film of a slightly different stripe is Party Girl (1995), although it too was filmed on a shoestring budget and is capable of producing guffaws.  Parker Posey stars as Mary, a twenty-something New Yorker more interested in high fashion and the downtown party scene than in holding a job.  

Werth: Unless of course her job happened to be in New York high fashion.

Wise: When Mary gets arrested for throwing an illegal rave, she appeals to her staid Aunt Judy (Sascha von Sherler) for bail, but agrees to work as a library clerk to pay back her aunt.  At first Mary dreads the boredom of working among the stacks, but eventually she falls in love with 
both books and the Dewey Decimal System, plus she strikes up a flirtation with the hunky falafel guy (Omar Townsend).  Her new passion for order also improves the lives of her friends, especially when she organizes the record collection of her DJ friend Leo (Guillermo Díaz who has a résumé as long and as varied as Parker herself).  

Werth: Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding (2004). Seriously?

Wise: Of course, your enjoyment of the film depends upon whether you consider Posey's dim-witted snobbery a mark of comic genius or an affectation.  Director Daisy von Sherler Mayer deserves a lot of credit for harnessing her star's peculiar talents and making them both engaging and appealing. 
She is also able to capture something of the mid-90's aesthetic by populating the film with denizens of the club kid scene, drag queen Lady Bunny, and that other staple of the decade's indie cinema Eric Stoltz who can be glimpsed as a party guest.  
Liev Schreiber also turns up with a marriage proposal for Mary as his green card is running out.  All in all, Party Girl is filled with hijinks, buffoonery, shout-along catchphrases ("H-h-h-helloooo!"), and makes a great addition to any celebration. 

Werth: I look forward forward to shouting out many a catchphrase as we celebrate the New Year tonight. 

Wise: And I'm looking forward to another year of Film Gab. 

Werth: Happy New Year to all our readers!

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