Blu-ray slight return: Lucky edition
Bobcat Goldthwait has never let me down as a director. He may not be on the plateau with A-list Hollywood directors but he turns out a steady stream of films that are always unique and hand cut from a single unique bolt of cloth. My personal fave from Bobcat is the take-no-prisoners satire of contempo life God Bless America.
With his latest film Goldthwait turns his eyes on his mentor Barry Crimmins. Call Me Lucky (MPI Home Video, 10/13) documents the comedy club scene in the 1970s where Crimmins hosted the open mic night where a teenage Goldthwait got his start. There are comic bits where Crimmins gets loud and abrasive to people that talk too loud when he is cracking wise. There are remembrances from the participants of the scene including David Cross, Patton Oswalt and Margaret Cho.
The commentary track provides additional laughs with Goldthwait and Crimmins yucking things up, including sound effects like a circus clown horn.
But that is not what Call Me Lucky is really about. Goldthwait throws a curve ball after you’ve sunk into the comfortable nostalgia of the comic arena from another generation and reveals the real subject on display.
Crimmins was sexually abused as a child and plays an important part in getting laws passed to crack down on child pornography. AOL chat rooms in the early days of the internet were rife with predators and until Crimmins testified before Congress in 1995 the problem was all but ignored.
White Shadow (IndiePix Films, 9/29) tells a harrowing tale of albino slavery in Africa. At the forefront is a young albino male trying to avoid ridiculous persecution from a society operating under a limited belief system. Witch doctors want him dead to sell his body parts as charms and medicine. After a couple of years on the festival circuit White Shadow hits DVD status. Ryan Gosling is one of the executive producers.
Some of the skits and songs seem awfully dated but then there are moments of pure transcendental entertainment. Like when Campbell plays “Classical Gas” and just shreds the lead solo while you can only watch in amazement. Campbell was as good a guitarist as anybody in that era and when he wanted to blow you away, consider yourself scattered. In the background a group of men and women in costume do an interpretive dance and even that cannot diminish to power of this part of the show. Other guest includes Cher (the original beautiful Cher before any surgical makeover), Andy Griffith, Paul Lynde, Anne Murray, Mel Tillis and others.
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and White Shadow were reviewed on DVD.
— Michael Bergeron