Saturday, March 04, 2006

Plate O’ Shrimp
Film, Music and the Cosmic Unconsciousness

Welcome, ye lads and lasses. Let’s not dawdle, shall we? Let’s get down to brass tacks (whatever that means*).

It might seem odd, to those familiar with my eating habits, that I would name my website ‘Plate O’ Shrimp.’ Why? Because I don’t eat seafood. In fact, I avoid it with the same fervor that Hollywood avoids originality, The New York Putz and Fox Noise avoid objectivity, and Dick Cheney avoids prosecution. (Seem to have something on my sleeve here.) There is the occasional odd exception. For example, I have been known to use Worcestershire sauce, which contains some essence of anchovy. And if those rumors about Budweiser putting fish oil in its beer are true, well, let’s just say I’ve drunk enough fish to fill a decently sized koi pond.

So, indeed: Why ‘Plate O’ Shrimp’? That answer may be supplied by those familiar with my viewing habits, in particular, my devotion to one of the all-time cult classics, Alex Cox’s Repo Man. If you have to ask, you either haven’t seen the film or you haven’t seen it enough times, which is, of course, impossible, since you can’t see Repo Man enough times. (One of those rare examples that not only holds up to repeated viewings, but actually benefits from them.)

As to a more specific reason, that’s explained further in the Cosmic Unconsciousness section of the site. You can read about it there, or you can ignore it and enjoy the mystery.

A few things you should know about me when it comes to film.

1. I believe firmly in the policy that critics should not tell people not to watch any given film. There are exceptions, of course. I would have no problem, for example, telling my mother not to watch Re-Animator, as its combination of rotting corpses, homicidal intestines and a decapitated tongue bath just ain’t her bowl of chick peas. But that’s a case-specific kind of thing. When it comes to criticism, I have no problem telling people that a film is a complete piece of crap (well, for the most part, see #3 for more on that), but I’m never going to tell you that you shouldn’t watch it anyway.

2. This isn’t a big issue as I will rarely be doing long form plot synopses, but when it comes to spoilers, I try to be just as respectful of them if the movie is garbage as I would if it’s an acknowledged classic. So, just as I wouldn’t dream of giving away the ending to the original Planet of the Apes (not that I have to, seeing as how at least one video re-release did so on the freakin’ cover) so would I similarly keep mum about the ending to Tim Burton’s remake, though that may be partially in fear of someone asking me to explain the goddamn thing.

3. I am what I suppose we would call in this age of psychobabble a ‘bad movie enabler.’ Basically what that means is that while some of my colleagues seem, not to be hyperbolic, to take fanatical glee in ripping into certain movies until bloody shreds hang from their glistening jaws, I tend to go out of my way to find the good parts, any tiny little good part I can find. I prefer to see these low budget stinkers from the Ed Wood, “at least they tried” perspective as opposed to MST3K’s famous surmise of Larry Buchanan, that he “just didn’t care.” Am I a softie? A sap? Quite possibly both. My sympathies do tend to extend more to the shoestring budget crowd (the underdog thing), although I can be just as forgiving towards a big budget stinker if a) I get a true sense of good intentions, b) it happens to involve someone whose work I otherwise admire, or c) its cast includes an actress I’d like to bathe in pudding. And with that excessively honest image hanging in the air, keeping in mind that this is ‘Plate O’ Shrimp,’ not 'Case Study 1407: Analyzing Marxo Grouch,’ let’s move on.

Addendum, circa April 2006: For those of you who are familiar with the old Plate O' Shrimp, I should explain the new digs. The site that the entire Crab Chips collective used to be on (a small group of fellow miscreants, whose sites can now be found here, here and here (and which started out with even more members, although I must admit that I've forgotten exactly who was involved, mea culpa)), 50 MGs or something like that, basically took a torch to the whole damn thing, erasing hours and hours of work, most of it Skeeter's. (I had once held out faint hope that the collective might one day reunite, but at this point it seems highly unlikely. Still, the world waits with baited breath, while Cliffie waits with breath that smells like bait.) This new form places all of the responsibility for the site on me, which has proven to be fun and somewhat liberating. (And occasionally confusing. Try to ignore the fact that some of the Special Features down there are technically also part of the Cosmic Unconsciousness.) Maybe one of these days, I'll even learn some of that hatemail...I mean, HTML, so the place doesn't so much resemble a storage closet.

And so, once again, onward and upward!

The Reviews

The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas- Frostbite and mysticism.
Amazons- Toplessness and celebrity lookalikes, like sword & sorcery goes Vegas.
The Attack of the Giant Leeches- Take me to your backwoods now, Yvette.
Avenging Angel- Somewhere between Nancy Drew and The Happy Hooker.
Branded to Kill- Chaos theory, Nippon-style.
Café Flesh- Come one! Come...well, comparatively few actually.
Caligula- A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Vomitorium.
Cecil B. Demented- And Marxo B. Ambivalent.
Coffy- Plenty of cream, but no sugar.
Demonia- Dead nuns awakened; audience not so fortunate.
Die! Die! My Darling!- "Quick! There's no time Tallulah!" (i hadda do it) NEW!
Don't Torture a Duckling- Or fear the reaper. Or sleep in the subway. Or stop believin', etc.
Double Dynamite- Paging Hacken-a-puss... NEW!
Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine- Strives for ginchy, but...
Eaten Alive- Off off off Broadway? Or just off off off?
Étoile- Are all ballet schools in Europe dangerous?
Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain- You can lead a porn star to the set, but you can't make her act.
Forbidden World- When I say knock-off, you say Corman!
Freddy Got Fingered- Puerile sadism masquerading as anti-authoritarianism.
Gothic- Literary twerplings get spooked.
Grave of the Vampire- Oh, Dad, poor Dad, you're a bloodsucking rapist and I'm feeling so sad.
Hellish Flesh- An exercycle in humus! I mean, exercise in horror! NEW!
The Hidden- This is not the sort the LA tourism board hoped to attract.
Hot Rods to Hell- Or as close as you're going. I don't want to be a burden.
Isn't She Great- I don't know about wings, but there's a fair amount of wind.
LazyTown- Kiddie TV fare that forgot to take its ritalin.
Miracle in Milan- And a cabbage shall lead them...
Monkey Hustle- Fun like bites of cotton candy and about as substantial.
Mr. Bungle, California- The Grouch tries rock journalism with one of his favorite albums.
National Lampoon's Dorm Daze- And they say our students can't keep up with Japan's.
One-Hour Photo- Taking an airbrush to life.
Phantom Lady- There are eight million hats in the naked city... NEW!
Pickup on South Street- Skip ain't red, but he loves his green.
Rancho Notorious- Hate! Murder! Revenge! Roulette!
Return of the Living Dead III- Love conquers eww.
Rififi- Don't say a word... NEW!
The Tomb- Beauty secrets of Ancient Egypt.
The 27th Day- Come for the sci-fi; stay for the schadenfreude.
Vampyros Lesbos- Witness three different kinds of sucking.
Welcome to Arrow Beach- Can we offer you a nosh?
Welcome to Spring Break- Two bad tastes that taste bad together.
A Woman Is a Woman- Is it me? It's everyone else, right? NEW!
The World of Henry Orient- Yes, private school makes you nuts, but that's why we love it.

Special Features

NEW FEATURE! Snack Bar- Reviews for the only slightly peckish. Bus your own table. (New capsules added 1/9/11)
Tee-Hee, I'm Naked!- T&A Films of the '70s, '80s and beyond!!! (Warning: juvenile content) NEW!: Sigi Rothemund's Love Bavarian Style
Buñuel in Brief** (amateur musings on the master surrealist) NEW! Capsule review of El Bruto (1953) added
Punk, Not Punk** (the music of SST Records)
Hopping Through Klimt** (a layman's thoughts on one of the 20th Century's greatest painters) NEW!
SNIVLEM- A short overview of sludgerock gods The Melvins
The Cosmic Unconsciousness** (a place for my stuff; updated regularly...or else!)
Tales from the Aberrant- clippings from the coolest newspaper never published: Battle of the Rent-Stabilized; Style, a Manicure and a Dimensional Shift; At Least His Inseam Was Intact; 'Goddess Sweat'; NEW! Two Left Fate

* “Some believe it refers to the brass tacks used under fine upholstery, others that it is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘hard facts,’ and still others that it alludes to tacks hammered into a sales counter to indicate precise measuring points.” Special thanks to the highly useful for that utterly irrelevant piece of information.

** Part of The Museum of My Mind


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