Saturday, November 4th, 2006
Going to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan on opening night is probably the sort of thing you’d expect a hardened Sascha Baron Cohen/Ali G/Borat fan to do, not someone who would have to confess to never having seen Da Ali G Show and whose only experience with Cohen was Talladega Nights (which I thought he was great in). And yet, there I was last night at a midnight screening no less (as the earlier ones were all sold out).
But with all the press around the film and the almost frighteningly positive reviews, I was pretty well briefed on the schtick and on what to expect. And that was a pretty funny movie. While I’m sure the filmmakers would like you to believe that the film is entirely built on Borat’s interactions with unsuspecting Americans, I find it highly unbelievable that significant portions of the film – in particular the ones that actually drive the narrative along – were not scripted. This doesn’t take much away from the movie and I doubt that total suspension of disbelief is very high on their list of priorities. Instead, they concentrate on the funny and outrageous and there, they succeed. Borat is still uproarious and more than offensive enough to those looking to be offended. And even the offensiveness isn’t that over the top – Borat takes many sideways swipes at things but rarely is there a full-on frontal assault on anyone or anything (unless you’re Kazakh). In fact, many of the funniest scenes have nothing to do with satire, but are instead lowbrow gross-out humour. And that’s okay.
Is Borat, as some are claiming, the funniest movie ever made? No, probably not, but it is damned funny and I cannot believe you could see it and now leave with at least a few stitches in your side. And it’s okay if you feel guilty about it.
And a contest: Courtesy of Atlantic Records, I’ve got three Borat prize packs to give away consisting of a copy of the film’s soundtrack and the promotional poster for said soundtrack. The CD contains much of the actual music from the film as well as some songs that weren’t (“Throw The Jew Down The Well”, “You Be My Wife”) as well as some clips of dialogue and some video clips and unreleased stuff from the film. Whether this is something you’ll actually listen to more than once… well, that’s between you and the people you live with. The poster is either dull or grotesque depending on what side you have facing out, but I’m sure more than a few of you would love to have that second image pinned up in your cubicle at work. Hey, that’s okay. I’m not judging.
Anyway, to win said Borat goodness, leave me a comment with your favourite line of Borat dialogue. That’s it, that’s all. The contest closes at midnight, November 11.
Radio Free Canuckistan offers the complete version of his interview with Devastations which appeared in this week’s eye. And if you missed the item directly below this one, the show at the El Mocambo for tonight has been canceled.
Stylus has completed their countdown of their 50 best live albums of all time. Live At Leeds and Live Rust are both represented, I am satisfied.
What Would Jesus Blog offers some tips on how to make a mix tape to impress Chuck Klosterman. I am currently reading Klosterman’s latest, IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas. It amuses me.
np – Johan / THX JHN