The first, The Wild One, was just as unpleasant to watch this time around as the previous time I saw it. No movie has ever given me more desire to smack Marlon Brando's pouty little face and send him to his room without supper. Ironically, Rambo: First Blood was the perfect complement to the fireworks exploding around us, reminding us that no tyrant, be it the Spanish crown or Brian Dennehy, stands a chance against an organized and pissed-off society or Rambo. The next morning we watched Pier Paolo Pasolini's Fascist fuckfest, Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, to break our spirits just enough to keep us showing up for work. I was sad to discover the copy I'd bought on Calle Arcos de Belen for 15 pesos didn't offer English subtitles luckily, Pasolini's nod to the Marquis de Sade speaks the international language of eating human feces.
Next up was Lemon Popsicle, which sounds like a hentai film but turned out to be an Israeli Porky's with dubbed English dialogue such as "I'd say the brunette's cherry's been well busted, for sure." Ignoring their parents' advice not to get involved with shiksas, the horny heroes spend the whole movie trying to gain comprehensive sexual experience with the pretty girls who don't go too far, the not-so-pretty girls who go farther, and the crabs-ridden prostitute who'll take 'em to the moon and back. And somewhere along the way they preside over a monumentally homoerotic penis-measuring contest in the locker room. It's all so Porky's I was shocked to discover that it came out a full five years earlier, in 1978, spawning eight sequels and the American remake The Last American Virgin. According to Robert O'Keefe from Wales on imdb.com, Lemon Popsicle is "ONE OF THE BEST FILMS EVER MADE." Considering the emphatic use of caps and that seven out of seven people found his review useful, I have no choice but to defer to him on the matter.
The last thing I saw in Mexico was Woody Allen's Scoop, which I watched while flying over the northern part of the country. Allen has to work harder for his jokes these days, so it was rough to see the movie's occasional bull's-eye apocalyptically mistranslated. Best example: the character originally says, "I was born into the Hebrew persuasion, but when I got older I converted to narcissism." This is so quintessentially him that even a translator who spoke no English at all could've assembled a more faithful subtitle than "I had Hindu beliefs, but I converted to Christianity." Of the two lines, though, the latter certainly got the bigger laugh out of me I even woke up the lady in the next seat. In fact, maybe the translator did it on purpose, to give Allen and his movie the little extra push they needed. After all, that's what the pirated movie industry is all about. People helping people. It's beautiful, really. Please don't turn me in. (Jason Shamai)
JASON SHAMAI'S TOP 10
(1) Battle in Heaven (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico)
(2) The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, Romania)
(3) Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck, US)
(4) Brick (Rian Johnson, US)
(5) Mongolian Ping Pong (Hao Ning, China)
(6) The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry, France/Italy)
(7) Lunacy (Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic/Slovakia)
(8) United 93 (Paul Greengrass, US/UK/France)
(9) Adam's Apples (Anders Thomas Jensen, Germany/Denmark)
(10) Duck Season (Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico)
For a longer version of this article, go to the Pixel Vision blog at www.sfbg.com/pixel_vision.