by Jaime Grijalba.
Steve Carlson made me do this.
Troma is a production company that has been made famous for his independent approach to filmmaking as well as always going for the most outrageous and controversial material out there, lead by Lloyd Kaufman you can always expect that a Troma product won’t leave you indiferent, it will shake something inside of you, if it’s for better or worse, well it depends on your taste on how many heads crushed by moving cars you want to see in your daily life. One of the branches of Troma is the one of Troma Video Production, where the company seeks out for independent movies that seem to have no chance of being released and it releases them on video, this is different to movies that were wither produced or directed by Lloy Kaufman (if his name it’s not in the credits, it’s not a true true Troma picture). This movie that we have here today is the perfect example of how a movie could’ve just gathered dust in someone’s closet forever if it wasn’t for the kind release of Troma Video Production. Now, would we all be happier if this movie was left alone to begin with? I don’t know, I just know that I watched it, I don’t regret it, but I’d never tell someone to watch it. So, what made me watch this particular piece of filmmaking in the first place? Well, you’d be surprised, but it was thanks to Twitter.
I was perusing Twitter the other day and Steve Carlson (@LCosgrove) said on twitter that he was willing to take bets on his response on the rewatching of a film, he asked if someone would bet if his opinion would waiver after his rewatch. Playing around, I said that I would bet the watching of a film and the writing of a 400-word piece on a movie of his choice if it didn’t happened, and if it did, he would have to write on a movie I’d choose. So, what happened? I lost, so he said I’d have to watch ‘Fatty Drives the Bus’ a film released by Troma and available to watch for free in Youtube thanks to the TromaFilm Youtube Channel. What happened? I tweeted along as I saw it, I was RT’d and mocked, specially as it was the first film I saw with my brand new 23 years of age (my birthday was the 23rd), and in that moment I was asking myself… what am I doing with my life? Why am I seeing films like these? But then, something clicked, this was avant garde, this was experimentation, no one could actually make something like this without being a complete genius, there is a calculation and overall vision of what the film wants to be and what it wants to be about, even if the themes are hidden, the film is still commendable for having something about it, and that is not a thing we can say about many other Troma Video releases. So, what is the movie about? After a series of never-ending opening credits, we cut to a man with a tuxedo and a guy with a piano, he presents himself and calls himself the narrator, then he says ‘let’s go to hell’. And, literally, we go to hell.
Satan is there, sitting on his throne, a demon comes and says: ‘Hey, Satan, do you want a donut?’, to which the lord of shadows answers ‘Shut the fuck up’. That right there made me laugh, why? I have no idea, and that repeated as long as the movie continued, I was laughing even if the jokes weren’t funny, and I had many moments in which I was completely bored and disgusted at how bad the quality of the whole endeavour was to me. Satan realizes that Jesus will be in Chicago and that due to that fact, a bus crash has been cancelled, but he takes matters to his own hand by transforming himself in a tour guide that will make the bus crash himself. So, we cut away to a series of vignettes, we see the various people that will board the bus: a mother and two daughters (one of them a man in drag that calls him/herself the prettiest woman in Chicago all the time), a couple with a lot of kids, two friends who live in the countryside and visit the big city, a scientist that is experimenting with dogs, a couple of rich people who dance and do weird things as if this were a Buñuel film and the driver, fatty, a fat guy (who isn’t really that fat). So, the film is strange in its manner of making humour, by cutting away at random times, acting very bad (but it seems very concious by doing so), making bad jokes (and they know they’re bad), and a thing that fascinated me: text and language, sometimes there were texts in the screen that described either what was going to happen or what already happened making a summary of sorts; then there were some conversations, specially regarding the past, where we are witnesses of either new or recycled footage and the voices of the people who remember are almost narrating what they see, almost if they are seeing it for the first time in that moment.
The movie ends with a long shot where we are given a lesson on how to live our lives as Jesus and Satan had the chance to amend their ways and remain friends. Why does this happen? I don’t want to tell you because it just does, and then the movie ends and I was wondering how much of a genius you have to be to do these things so conciously, and in an attractive manner that I’m sure will have its hordes of fans from all over the world just laughing and laughing at it or with it. I still think it’s a pretty bad movie, I was confused and above all just couldn’t endure the bad acting in this, still I appreciate the effort, I gave it **1/2.
Well, that was a lot more than 400 words, sorry Steve.