TODAY IN NETWORK AWESOME MAGAZINE
Why is it that when you leave an airport at night during a beastly rainstorm and no taxi will pick you up, it’s merely a giant pain in the ass? But, if the same thing were to occur at the beginning of a Dario Argento film, and a taxi does eventually pick you up, and then proceeds to drive you through the Black Forest to an undisclosed location in the middle of the night, you just know that all manner of Hell is going to break loose. The ground will probably open and swallow you whole, and something should tell you that the end is just about nigh.
This is almost how Argento’s 1977 masterpiece Suspiria begins. First, the film introduces us, of course, to the music. The soundtrack, by Goblin, or “The Goblins,” as attributed in the opening credits, foreshadows the impending doom, with a thunderstorm of tympani giving way to evil, angelic bells. There is incomprehensible, unintelligible whispering and the high pitched crying of a dying violin, which could very well just be the shrieks of the damned come to life.
And then, on cue, voiceover narration. The voiceover is a hoot, and it makes you wonder why Argento never tried his hand at directing comedy, or why movie critics at large don’t recognize how much of Argento’s work is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
After the foreboding introductory “Tubular Bells” style score, and after the art deco white font on black background opening credits, full of Italian names like Claudio Argento and Salvatore Argento, Franco Fraticelli and Flavio Bucci (if I ever change my name, it will be to Flavio Bucci), and after the mysterious title Suspiria comes onto the screen, the most white bread, high school documentary voiceover narration ever arrives to give us information that is, well, unnecessary and ridiculous.
We learn from the narrator that our heroine, Suzy Bannion, in order to “perfect her ballet studies,” has travelled to a Dance Academy in Freiburg, Germany. Fair enough. But…why is the narrator telling us this? And, especially, why the creepy details? What does it matter that...
Although a native of California, Anthony Galli currently teaches writing at the University of Georgia in Athens. He has published two books of poetry, Amnesia for Insomniacs and Invisible Idiot. Anthony shares a birthday with his black cat Magic, and is adamant that his cat not create a Twitter feed. When not attempting to convince classrooms full of Freshman students just how funny Hamlet really is, or listening to David Bowie’s “Low” at life-altering volume, Anthony can be found enjoying his idea of superhero movies, like Wings of Desire, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and The Princess Bride.
In the early 2000’s, HBO was a beast to be reckoned with. Oz, The Sopranos, The Wire and Sex and the City were ratings bonanzas and cultural touchstones. In 2003, they brought over Da Ali G Show, a series originally broadcast on Channel 4 in the U.K. since 2000. Young adults and twenty-somethings who were hip to HBO’s Mr. Show finally had something to fill that slot that had been left vacant after Mr. Show ended a few years back. Suddenly, “booyakasha” and “much respek” were pinging on the cultural radar. Who the hell was this lanky guy of indeterminable race immersed in hip-hop culture interviewing Pat Buchanan?
Sacha Baron-Cohen, that’s who. Probably the best master of disguise since Peter Sellers, Cohen was barely known by name at that point. Baron-Cohen was a Jewish student at Cambridge University when he created Ali G. Baron-Cohen/Ali G was effectively lampooning street culture at the time. His critics lobbed softball missives that it was a racist schtick; a white guy doing a number on black culture. Others thought he was a mulatto making fun of white kids imitating black culture. And a few thought he was an Asian making fun of Middle-Eastern kids who were imitating white kids imitating black culture.
Look at Ali G’s gear. He’s rocking massive jewelry, wearing designer sunglasses/goggles, and on top of his dome is something like a cross between a yarmulke and a taqiyah. Ali G. is a multi-cultural mix of slang, sizzle and swagger. Baron-Cohen grew up close to...