This week in film get ready for uber cheesy, ultra trashy Troma films and attractive teen murderesses. If documentaries are more your speed, don’t miss one that explores the so-called “gay voice” and another that takes a look at Williamsburg’s Southside (aka Los Sures) way back in 1984.
Do I Sound Gay?
Thursday, July 23 through Thursday, July 30 at IFC Center: $14
Do I Sound Gay is a complex portrait of something that for most people is hard to define in real terms, and is more of a know-it-when-you-hear-it phenomenon– the so-called “gay voice.” The filmmaker David Thorpe, who casts himself as narrator and subject in the documentary, explores many layers of this socio-cultural phenomenon: the linguistic mechanics, complicated feelings, social cues, and psychology of the gay voice.
One particularly compelling aspect of the documentary is the subjects’ struggle to accept their own voice, having long been conditioned to feel that their voice might betray them, give them away, and subject them to bullying, rejection, or other prejudice. “Growing up, I lived in constant fear of sounding gay,” Thorpe says. Through interviews with other gay men (and even some not-gay men who have the gay voice), archival footage, and expert opinions, the filmmaker may not come to any concrete conclusions, but he’s certainly started a fascinating conversation.
Saturday, July 24 and Sunday July 25 at The Paper Box: FREE
Note: trailer is probz NSFW
If masterpieces like Redneck Zombies and The Toxic Avenger IV are your thing, then boy are you gonna freak out about this one. Enter: the 16th annual TromaDance film festival! And no, it’s not happening somewhere in the backwoods of New Jersey, Troma’s being held in East Williamsburg this weekend. Oh, and to sweeten the deal even more, admission is FREE.
Even if you’ve never heard the term “Troma films,” don’t worry, because you’re definitely familiar with the umbrella-genre’s C-movie output: kitschy horror-comedies with guts galore, cult snuff-slashers, sci-fi affairs fueled by tawdry special effects, and low-budget post-apocalyptic action films replete with questionable social mores. If you can get over the cheesy writing, god awful acting, and ample mistreatment of well-endowed women, then it’s likely you’ll have some sort of ironic, twisted, or, hell, maybe even some genuine interest in these films.
As you’ve probably guessed, Troma pieces are the work of independent, underground, and just plain freakish filmmakers. One might wonder how on earth this kind of processed liquid cheese product gets made, let alone distributed. Well, thankfully there’s Troma Entertainment (coiner of the term), which since 1974 has been doing their worst to take care of all those practical things that might otherwise be of concern for “crappy” films.
The classic Troma aesthetic is instantly recognizable– remember those VHS boxes adorned with bulging meat heads, covered in blood and ammunition belts and draped with worn-out babes? Me too.
But in recent years, there’s been a move to diversify the genre– some participating films this year could be confused for straight-up indie films (Electric Indigo) and others might even pass for artsy (animated short, The Horror Most Unreal). But fear not, Troma won’t ever give up its classic form, check out neo-classics like: Return to Nuke Em High: Volume II and Artichoke Piranha from the Prehistoric Abyss.
Thursday, July 23 at Videology: $5
OK, so this is definitely a personal recommendation, but I’m certain some or all of you can identify with my fervent, childhood desire to be Rose McGowan in Jawbreaker. I mean what’s not to love about a beautiful, sassy, murderess who is impossibly poised and bad-ass for a high schooler? So what if she kills, like, one person. Whatever.
Courtney is super popular, but she’s also a super betch. She won’t let any other betches overtake her top-betch throne. So when one of her friends, Liz (who’s actually the only genuinely sweet person of the top-betch court) is crowned Prom Queen, Courtney gets more than a little upset. So she and her crew decide to play a slightly evil prank on Liz and “fake” kidnap her. But really, what’s the difference between a fake kidnapping and a real one? Maybe the end results, but unfortunately for Liz that deviation doesn’t hold true and the poor girl suffers death by candy– a jawbreaker, specifically, is the murder weapon.
The film draws obvious parallels to Heathers, another darkly comic betchy classic. But I’ve always grouped Jawbreaker and Welcome to the Dollhouse in my filing cabinet of Twisted, Girly Revenge Flicks. The screening is enough to draw the nostalgia crowd, but Videology’s also hosting a “90’s teen dream” costume contest, raffle prizes, free schwag, and a photo booth prior to the screening, as well as discussion afterwards. Oh, and don’t forget there’s gonna be plenty of beer.
Sunday, July 26 presented by Union Docs at BAM, two screenings 2 pm and 6:30 pm (filmmaker present at later show): $16
We hear a lot about the good ol’ days of North Brooklyn, long before the Urban Outfitters restaurant and the J. Crew, back when the waterfront was part industrial wasteland part urban retreat for the adventurous (oh, and part body dumping ground) rather than host to the massive, weekly bourgie feeding frenzy that it is now. But usually these trips down memory lane are vague.
But local film organization Union Docs has gone to great lengths to restore, explore, and magnify a 1984 documentary about the Southside of Williamsburg, aka Los Sures. The doc, filmed by Diego Echevveria on his 16mm film, portrays what was then a Puerto Rican nabe through the eyes of a handful of local residents. Los Sures highlights the problems within the area (drugs, violence, poverty, gangs, and neglect by the city) but also the community’s bond and their efforts to combat these issues.
The film is rarely shown in big theaters, so definitely make time for this one if you’re a history buff or give any craps about Williamsburg.