Monday, June 15, 2009

TromaDance Volume 2 (2002)



TromaDance (sponsored in part by Chupa Chups, Bacardi Rum and Bromo Seltzer) is Lloyd Kaufman and Company's answer to independent film festivals around the world. Unlike other festivals, TromaDance is free of charge for both film-makers and film-goers. It is an annual one day event that features both feature-length and short films from the underground that shuns Hollywood ideals and elitism.

What follows is a hit-and-miss smorgasbord of shorts. Some are good, some are bad, some are so bad they're good. All, at least, are watchable.

Foet--Pronounced feet, as in fetal. As disgusting as it sounds (and it is intentionally so), the newest fad around the city is aborted Soylent Green handbags. Is this actually a social commentary on the Right to Life issue and American consumerism, or just a 15-minute Dead Baby joke? You be the judge. And don't worry: as the closing credits ensure us, "No living or aborted children were used in the making of this film."

Mondo Ford--Hilarious mock-vintage mock-documentary narrated entirely in Spanish with English subtitles that links Gerald Ford, the Roswell aliens, Easter Island, Bigfoot, Stonehenge, and Amway to the JFK assassination. Must be seen to appreciate.

Cheese Theatre--Cheese Theatre is actually the name of “the first and only sketch comedy troupe who's not from Canada,” and this is a handful of their skits. Imagine MTV's short-lived The State, but more tasteless and infinitely less amusing.

Tasty--A brief exploration of produce as phallic symbols, a whole new type of salad and why you should always eat your vegetables. Short and pointless, but also kinda kinky!

Arrowhead Beer--A series of supposed television commercials for the fictional Arrowhead Brewing Company. A pretty damn funny waste of 5 minutes, even if it does play much like Saturday Night Live's similar efforts.

30 Minutes or Less--What starts off as the most sexual film about pizza-making you're liable to ever see quickly diverges into a series of misadventures involving a delivery boy who just wants to get home to his girlfriend. Along the final stretch of his shift, we're witness to new age trailer park relationship counseling, police brutality, organ harvesting, and an undead Hitler-esque Walt Disney. It's ridiculous and poorly crafted but a lot of fun. Worth watching at least for the great line: "Hey, Walt! Hakuna matata, mother fucker!"

Radiation March--Umm...a bizarre micro-short with children in leotards dancing around to protest pollution. What the hell?

Undisciplined--A tasty sex-addict will do anything to get her lover to spank her. It's creative and kinky (sometimes disgusting), with excellent camera work and a killer ending.

Trauma--Shot in black-and-white, this surreal short is reminiscent of the classic Universal Studios creepshows. A young boy is plucked from his bed by a shadowy stranger and carried to a dungeon where he is locked in a cage until the unseen beast is ready to eat him. Or is he?

Overall, this DVD was a hoot. I question the inclusion of Radiation March and Tasty, which were so short and pointless that they seem to have been inserted merely as filler. But who am I to judge? As with Volume 1, I wish there had been a 'Play All' feature. If you're a Troma fan--and even if you're not, but lean toward the experimental--pick this bad boy up.

Extras are plentiful although many of them are lame, such as an ad for the website and another for Lloyd Kaufman's book Make Your Own Damn Movie! We're treated, at least, to 5 theatrical trailers of other Troma releases and a Tromatic Classroom Lesson that teaches us how to blow up a building on a very limited budget. To find an Easter egg, go to Tromatic Goodies and then highlight TromaDancing With Mark Borchardt, then hit 'left' on your remote control. This will highlight the word Goodies at the top of the menu. Hit 'enter', and you'll get to see an amusing display of the Troma team's antics on CJAD radio. The hosts are not amused.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: Mr. Tomato and Robot Face; Arrowhead ebonics; Paul Newman's money shot; a nod to the Driller Killer;

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Foet was based on a short story of the same name by popular author F. Paul Williams, who appeared in the film as a restaurant patron;

180 Minutes
Color (with one B&W short)
United States
English (with one Spanish language short & English subtitles)

TromaDance Vol.2 is currently ranked #52,690 in DVD's at Rent it at Netflix or buy it today!


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