Sunday, May 25, 2014

HELL IN THE PACIFIC (1968)

During WWII two soldiers (one American - Lee Marvin, one Japanese - Toshiro Mifune) find themselves on the same small uninhabited Pacific Ocean island.  At first things are really tense with them staying super quite and hunting each other all over the joint.  Then things die down (including the tension) and they kinda just tolerate each other.  Finally they become friends.  Ahhh.

The idea for HITP is amazing.  The amount of things that a talented writer (or group of writers) could have happen here gives me butterflies in my stomach just to think about!  In this age of remakes HELL IN THE PACIFIC is one that needs to be remade for sure.  Shit, you could have an entire series of these films.  I love the idea of two enemy WWII soldiers, but how about a Predator vs. an Alien?  No spoken words just two epic hunters hunting the fuck out of each other!  Vampire vs. werewolf.  The wookalar from THE PRIVATE EYES vs. the Humungus from THE ROAD WARRIOR?  Billy Bob Thornton from "Fargo" (s1) vs. John Lithgow from "Dexter" (s4).  The serial killer zombie dude from SILENT RAGE vs. Leatherface? Jason vs. Michael? Colonel James Braddock vs. Green Beret John Rambo?  A Krite vs. Stripe the gremlin?  Predator vs. Dog the Bounty Hunter?  One-thousand George Romero zombies vs. 10 Brian Keene "The Rising"-style zombies?  Pumpkinhead vs. Rawhead Rex?  Hannibal Lecter vs. Pee-Wee Herman?   This could go on forever!!

Anyway, back to HELL IN THE PACIFIC.  Awesome start, slowing middle and horrible ending.  There's an alternative ending on the DVD and it's just as horrible!  Overall, worth watching barely since it's an interesting idea and it looks like both leads gave it their all.  Too bad the writers couldn't come up with enough interesting stuff to fill the entire running time...or who knows maybe this was an anti-war movie?  It was made in 1968.  Ehh, either way it's still not as exciting as I had hoped.

PINK FLAMINGOS (1972)

Although THE GODFATHER might have won the Academy Award for Best Picture, everybody knows the best film from 1972 is PINK FLAMINGOS.  Made for less than $12,000 and filmed only using friends and friends of friends as his cast and crew writer/director/editor/narrator/cinematographer/producer John Waters somehow ended up with one of the most unique masterpieces in film history.

After learning that Divine has been named "the filthiest person alive" by an tabloid newspaper, an outrageous couple, Connie and Raymond Marble, become insanely jealous and set out to destroy Divine by outfilthing her.  As the film begins, Divine is unaware of the Marble's evil plot and is living a happy life out in the country with her family: her mother who lives in a baby crib and eats eggs all day, her Manson-like son Crackers and her traveling companion Cotton.  One day Crackers brings home a woman to have sex with out in the chicken shed for the entertainment of Cotton, but it ends up the woman is a spy for the Marbles.  Now that they know where Divine lives the Marbles openly declare war by mailing her a turd.  Things only escalate from there.

That might not sound like the plot to one of the greatest movies of all time, but it is.  Being a great film isn't all about slick production values and high budgets.  A truly great film can also be about sincerity, hard-work, uniqueness, talent and the ability to entertain an audience.  PINK FLAMINGOS has a wealth of all of those things.  Yeah, it is extremely rough around the edges and it looks like it was made on a tight budget by a bunch of amateurs, but that's part of the film's charm.  Long takes with a wandering camera, bad sound, over-acting, cheap-looking sets and make-up...all of these things are part of what makes PINK FLAMINGOS perfect.

Over the years I've seen PINK FLAMINGOS dozens upon dozens of times and last night watching it again I was completely blown away by how wonderful this film is.  I smiled from the first words of Waters opening narration all the way to the infamous ending.  And I still had to "Ahhhh!!!" in horror at a couple of the more shocking scenes even though they are ingrained in my memory.  I cannot even imagine how the initial unexpecting audiences must have reacted back in 1972.  The theater must have been exploding with emotions!

I've seen more low budget exploitation films from the 60's and 70's than you can shake a dog turd at and none of them has the magic of PINK FLAMINGOS.  Truly one of the greatest films of all time.  Thank you John Waters and everybody else involved.