Thursday, August 19, 2010

Combs Away: Snide and Prejudice

Philippe Mora is just a crazy man.  Born in France, he's made films for many countries.  Amongst his films are The Return of Captain Invincible, The Howling III: Marsupials and the soon-to-be-reviewed Communion.  All of his movies are weird and usually obscure.  I tell you all of this to discuss a weird and obscure movie he made in 1997.  With the title of Snide & Prejudice, you know that you're going to get something off-kilter and strange.  Basically, a therapist (career character actor Renee Auberjonois) has a bunch of patients in his asylum that think they are Nazis.  So, for some reason, he has them act out the history of the Nazi's rise to power.  No, really.  The cast includes a slew of character actors including Richard Moll, Brion James, Mena Suvari and, my man, Jeffrey Combs!  The starring role belongs to Angus MacFadyen, who plays the lead crazy person/Hitler.  The Film has almost no real plot to it, so this should be an easy one.  Get out your imaginary guns for my review of..
The film begins with a woman interviewing a therapist (Auberjonois) about his work with the mentally-unbalanced.  For some reason, this interview segment- as with the others- is shot in black & white.  Does this mean that the guy is part of the nWo?!?  Anyhow, we see MacFadyen acting out a scene where Hitler is giving a speech.  Additionally, he's only in the full regalia once here until after the first hour ends- weird.  Things get weirder as we see him act out Hitler's suicide in the bunker.  So, he knows he's not Hitler and that he's not really dying...but he also thinks he's Hitler.  Either this movie is really 'meta' or just stupid.  I can't quite decide just yet.  To add to the weirdness, Angus comments to Auberjonois about how the new 'Eva' is better than the old 'Eva.'  My head is hurting.  He also engages in a fictitious affair with his cousin (Suvari).  If you ever wanted to see the bad guy from Warriors of Virtue romance that cheerleader from American Beauty- this is your film!
After setting all of these events up, the movie pretty much just tells Hitler's rise to power.  It takes place in a series of short playlets set-up by the Psychiatrist.  Apparently, they're so crazy that they ignore his explanatory narration and act out the part.  In lieu of attempting to explain the film's non-plot, I will amuse you with this slide show of Angus making really, really weird faces.  It's what Philippe would want.
Given that I put his name in the title, I should mention that Combs plays a small part here.  Yeah, I was hoping that he would be in this more.  Even so, if you can survive an hour and fifteen minutes of the film, you get to see him.  In addition, you get to see Richard Moll play a General in full military for pants.  Instead, he's wearing plaid sweatpants.  Sure- why not?!?
 In the end, the film's only actual plot point- the escaped prisoner on the loose- comes to a head as he confronts 'Hitler' and the psychiatrist...and gets caught.  Yeah, that went nowhere.  'Hitler' kills the Doctor for being a Jew...only to learn that it didn't happen because his gun is imaginary.  After that, the film just kind of ends.  Seriously, just like that.
This movie is incredibly-weird, incredibly-silly and incredibly-pointless.  The film has almost no actual plot after the first ten minutes or so.  The whole thing lasts just about two hours and just features the actors playing crazy people that act out the Nazi Party's rise to power.  It's very detailed...but why would I watch this movie for it?  There's this place called The History Channel, you know!  That said, Angus is great in this thing and he's the only continuous reason to watch it.  People like Brion James, Richard Moll and Jeffrey Combs have small parts and do great in them- but they're just small parts.  The whole thing just feels long and tedious when he's not around.  If you've seen his silly performance in Warriors of Virtue, you've seen his role here.  This time, however, he's dressed up like Hitler.  The film does some things well, like blurring the lines of reality at times.  The problem is that it does so rarely.  One great bit has a Hitler-led dinner interrupted by 'Picasso,' leading to an argument about whether or not 'Picasso' can have a cookie.  It's great, but fleeting.  Most of this is played completely-straight.  Yes, they play this thing straight!  If the movie was forty-five minutes or so, it would be an easy sell.  At two hours, it's just long and ridiculous.  You can have some fun here, but only in short bursts.  Sorry, Philippe.  At least it's better than The Return of Captain Invincible!
Next up, Lucio Fulci's work returns here in a Delayed Review.  Who wants to see Fulci rip-off Deathrace 2000?  Stay tuned...


  1. What a random and completely obscure movie, where did you even come up with this one dude?? Must see movie for more incredibly awkward faces.

  2. To answer your question, all you have to do is decide that you're going to review one actor's movies, type their name in a search on Netflix and you find stuff like this.

    Honestly, I couldn't believe that this was a real thing.

    The really funny part though is that Mora shot an actual documentary about Adolf Hitler in the 1970s. Apparently, he decided that it was too serious and wanted to do this instead. Go figure.