It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness cocks its disoriented head to examine such flicks, whether it’s a new trailer for a provocative indie or an interview. In this installment: An exclusive trailer for TV Carnage‘s Let’s Work it Out and a chat with its ski-masked creator, Pinky; an equally cool chat about movies and Hollywood with The Arab Parrot, one of our favorite people and photographers out there capturing bleary eyed L.A. and N.Y.C. culture.
In college, it was unwritten law that a house party wasn’t worthy of House Party unless you woke up and stumbled past a TV turned upside down in a puddle of fluids as it resiliently played a TV Carnage DVD. Such DVDs were the new late night color test for stupid-smart wasteoids, an aughts cult sensation that arrived in the shape of legit packaging and artwork with names like Casual Fridays and A Sore For Sighted Eyes. All anyone knew, or cared to know, was that the DVDs were the obsessive, homemade works of a guy named Pinky; a person who didn’t seem to grasp “copyright” while composing and editing hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of bad TV/VHS into hilarious masterworks of sublimation.
As TV Carnage’s popularity grew, the signature ski mask of Pinky was lifted. An online search today will inform that Pinky is Derrick Beckles, the filmmaker and actor whom /Film readers might recognize from Truth Campaign commercials. One of the founders, alongside Gavin McInnes, of the irreverent Brooklyn site, Street Boners and TV Carnage, Beckles recently directed a music video for the song, “No You Don’t” by the band Islands. It just so happens to star TV Carnage mega-hearter Michael Cera. With his latest DVD, Let’s Work It Out, due mid-January, TV Carnage is going full-cardio. Imagine the neon sweat from ’80s work-out videos by celebs ranging from John Travolta to O.J. Murderer blasted into a hall of mirrors, sucked into a syringe, and then stabbed into your brain’s abdomen. Beckles chatted with /Film and exclusively gave us the first trailer. It’s all splattered below for your weekend enjoyment.
[flv:http://media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/trailers/letstrailer1.flv 475 318]
Hunter Stephenson: Hey Pinky. Without revealing the guts of your interior process, can you describe how long it took you to compile the footage for Let’s Work It Out? And how long have you been editing it? I heard you have hackers working for you who sit around a giant clock just like James Cameron…
TV Carnage: I do all the editing myself partially because I am a control freak and partially because I have something in my genetic code that allows me to watch endless hours of horrendous ideas. I have interns that help occasionally but I see them shorting-out after about a month of helping me cull through this brutality. The last one was watching [an exercise VHS] called Week with Raquel and left my house half way through. She texted me saying she was at home barfing and I never saw her again. I know it’s all worth it when I can achieve those sorts of things.
When I started this DVD it was intended as a break from Cop Movie, a cinematic Hot Rod I’m welding together from the scraps of one hundred and twenty cop movies, with the intention of having some sort of arc and storyline. I thought, you know, “What a quaint and quick side project that will introduce my new line of thematic monstrosities.” Well I’m happy to report I was as wrong as the definition of that word could legally allow me to be. I have since watched five lifetimes worth of humans bend, stretch, curl, squat and crunch.
Admirable. In your opinion, what were the ’80s criteria for celebrities to make that precocious leap from Hollywood to work-out videos? Who had the best thighs and the best health-glow skin of the ones in Let’s Work It Out? I’m guessing it’s between Sugar Ray Leonard and Estelle Getty…
TV Carnage: Well, I noticed that the videos were mostly motivated by the desire to work out peoples hands by having them rap there thumb and fingers around money and hand it over. I think in most cases the exercise was in the purchasing and returning of these things. There is also the aspect of people on the rise who want to let the world know they exist or plan on sticking around, like Alyssa Milano and Sandy Duncan. Then there are the people who use them as a foray into getting serious roles, like porn stars Traci Lords and Ginger Lynn Allen. And then there are medical professionals like Cher and O.J. Simpson. Oh. And there are a shitload of maniacs and mental deficients. It’s a more than perfect well toned, self-involved universe to explore. And there is the movie Perfect with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. And on annnnnnndddd on.
Fuck! Perfect. Have you ever seen a bootleg of a TV Carnage DVD on the streets of New York or Canada?
TV Carnage: I don’t think they would know how to start describing it. Their sales pitch would be half sentences and, “umms.” And that face you make when someone rips the kind of fart you can taste.
Do you agree that “bodybuilding was the sport of the ’80s” and if not, what was?
TV Carnage: I think coke was the sport of the ’80s. A lot of very sinewy nostrils thanks to the ’80s. The guy from Let’s Work It Out who claims “everyone calls bodybuilding the sport of the ’80s” is a horny doctor chap and the video he made and stars in comes across as a swingers ad. It’s really weird. You get a little horny and very worried when you watch it. You start looking for the nearest exit in case he jumps out of the TV and starts licking your neck. There are the weirdest crotch shots and women with massive hair shoving their cans into the lens with strained workout faces. It’s like watching someone take a dump in lingerie.
Um, gross. Would you agree that Let’s Work It Out is about sweaty positivity as your previous video, A Sore For Sighted Eyes, was about a paranoid connection between Rosie O’Donnell, John Ritter, and kittens?
TV Carnage: Let’s Work It Out is intended to remind people to get out their and be active, eat well and treat their body like a temple. I’m so excited to get this thing out because if they follow my regimen there will be a lot of mutants with bodies that look like Dali was their personal trainer. A Sore for Sighted Eyes was about sensuality and mind control. Cats posing like Marilyn Monroe having their dresses blow up by the air escaping from a saxophone. You can quote me on that. I am also finishing up Cop Movie. And Totally For Teens, which the fake “Best of a Teen Show For a Teen Show” that never existed. I did for it Adult Swim and it’s being discussed with Comedy Central for a series. Tell your readers to give it a watcherooni!
Click Here to watch TOTALLY FOR TEENS!
Weekend Weirdness Flick Picks with L.A. and New York photographer The Arab Parrot
The last decade saw a gnarly paparazzi rash spread all over the fat legs of American pop culture. With the diminishing cost of a photo, the value of modern celebrities photographed in compromising positions—whether accidental or desperate—shot up. New highs for new lows. At the same time, it was a decade when a shit-ton of pretentious kids began documenting themselves drenched in nightlife as if they mattered. Over the past few years, the photog known as The Arab Parrot (real name: Reza Nader) has flapped his wings between L.A. and his native New York to scathingly document this after hours meshing of Hollywood, hipsters, and hazy nights highlighted by movies and models.
Instead of seeking out famous actors, Arab Parrot naturally stumbles into ‘em, wired or exhausted, at a party or on a sidewalk. Seeing a random encounter on his website with an actor like James Caan or the Rasta from PCU is probably the best way to spend a hungover Sunday eating In-N-Out. When Arab Parrot is not snapping pics, his vagabond lifestyle (not some rich kid schtick) finds him recovering at a swimming pool near Big Bear or cooped up watching and remembering choice flicks. Sometimes he posts an old school Photoshop tribute portrait, like the one for Fletch above. /Film decided to ask the Parrot a few movie related questions for Weekend Weirdness.
Hunter Stephenson: Hey Reza. In your opinion what is the weirdest or most fucked-up movie ever made and why?
The Arab Parrot: Weirdest movie I’ve ever seen would have to be The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky. (Pictured below.) It’s like an acid trip, super bizarre & psychedelic. The imagery is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, even nowadays with all the CGI stuff. I first saw it playing on a projection screen at a bar and was like, “What is this?” I had to go rent it; although I didn’t really understand it I was amazed at how fucking crazed it was. Later I read how the actors were on ‘shrooms the whole time and Jodorowsky was advised by his spiritual teacher to take LSD while preparing for it. If you put it on at a party I assure you everyone in the room will find themselves at one point watching it and they’ll say the same thing…what the fuck is this? It’s amazing to watch stoned. Even if at the end you don’t know what the hell it meant.
A classic. Is there a particular flick that has done your animal spirit justice? Captain Ron? Summer Rental? Avatar?
The Arab Parrot: My favorite Parrot scene in a movie is from The Party. Birdy num nums. Peter Sellers plays an Indian guy who gets invited to a party by mistake and fucks everything up. Classic. I’m a huge Peter Sellers fan. He also had a fake Parrot on his shoulder that he would pump up in one of the Pink Panther movies.
You dig the Griswolds. Who is weirder: Randy Quaid’s Cousin Eddie, or Randy Quaid IRL?
The Arab Parrot: Yeah. I grew up on National Lampoon’s Vacation and European Vacation. I will always love those movies. I’m also a big Chevy Chase fan, Fletch is one of my favorites. Randy Quaid, he was great in the first one and also in Christmas Vacation. I didn’t really dig that one or Vegas Vacation too much though. I think because I had gotten older and was watching more adult movies by the time those came out. The kids had changed for a third time, Beverly D’Angelo wasn’t as hot. It didn’t have that ’80s vibe. I did have a dream once that Randy Quaid gave me a handjob. That was really weird, he wasn’t Cousin Eddie though, he was the character he played in Independence Day.
Which movie, say, defines your L.A. lifestyle and which defines New York for you and why?
The Arab Parrot: What movies depict my lifestyle in New York and L.A. Probably John Carpenter‘s Escape from L.A. and Escape from New York. When I’m in L.A. I get so bored. I always run away to N.Y. where I’m originally from. Then when I’m in N.Y. I love it but it gets way too cold, man. I end up spending all my money and have to get out of there and come back to L.A. I actually did a poster for New York.
No need to go TMZ, but do you have a funny story about running into an actor out in L.A. or a funny anecdote an actor offered wasted?
The Arab Parrot: Funniest actor anecdote I have is when I met Benicio Del Toro at 3 a.m. in a club but that story is too hot to blog. A good story I heard from [redacted] who was a friend of Benecio’s when i met him and is now my friend in L.A.: he told me one about Benicio and Robert Davi,who is one my favorite guys I ever met.
He was with Chazz Palminteri that night. Chazz didnt wanna take a photo till i said, “Hey, I remember when you were the limo driver in The Last Dragon, and then he smiled and said, “Okay, make it fast.”Anyway the story about Robert Davi and Benicio is that apparently Davi keeps his hairpeice on a mannequin and is mad protective of it. I forget why they were in a hotel room together but apparently Benicio grabbed the toupee and was makin’ fun of Davi and was pretending like he was gonna throw it out the window. Davi told him very seriously, and was getting angry, to put it down. Benicio kept waving it around and fuckin’ with him and finally Robert Davi goes in the bathroom and comes out minutes later holding a piece of his own shit and holds it up to Benicio and was like, “You wanna fuck with me mutherfucker?”
In addition, here are Arab Parrot’s top ten movies of the ’80s, in no particular order.
2. Soul Man
3. Pump Up the Volume
4. Big Trouble in Little China
5. Weird Science
6. Wall Street
7. Three O’clock High
8. Repo Man
9. King of Comedy
10. After Hours
If you’re a filmmaker and have a weird new film that Hunter might be interested in, you can contact him per a screener, screening, or info at h.attila/gmail or on Twitter.