Monday, March 16, 2009
Bruno Sneak Peek
Was lucky enough to win VIP passes to the Bruno screening last night at the Drafthouse. Let me preface that I was a huge fan of Borat, and the huge brass balls it took to pull something like that off from the concept stage to Cohen's execution. With that said, after seeing the three scenes I did last night:
Holy shit, Cohen is a man-god with balls the size of Pluto.
Regardless of how much I may want to talk about his balls, his Bruno character is really the ideological next step in Cohen's social warfare on small-minded Americans in a post-Milk and Prop 8 society. Each of the three clips was book ended by a set-up from an exaggerated version of Cohen himself, giving the SXSW audience the proper context in terms of what was supposed to be happening in the story. If anything can be extrapolated from these three scenes in terms of the film's scope and sense of escalation, this movie is going to be a monster in July.
Probably the tamest in terms of shock-value, it was no-less appalling. Cohen has set up a photo-shoot for his adopted African baby (Gayby O.J. - more on that later), and has lured a bunch of stage moms (and one dad I believe) who practically say yes to everything that Bruno could ask of their baby from his little checklist:
-Is your baby afraid of high speeds?
-Can your baby walk around a moving vehicle without a car seat?
-Would your baby be afraid of falling from a 4 story building?
-Can your baby lose 10 pounds in a week?
As the questions get more extreme, perhaps the biggest surprise is how, without prompting or even much prodding, Cohen gets someone to say yes to every question. And to the mother who thinks her kid can lose 10 pounds in a week - CONGRATULATIONS, your baby will be playing Hitler. The insane stage mom, once again without missing a beat, "As long as she gets the job."
Welcome to Hollywood. These moms are fucked when this hits the screen.
Probably my favorite scene, as it seemed to be already perfectly edited and ready for a theatrical release. Bruno is on some Texas talk-show about how hard it is being a single parent. The catch: the audience is almost entirely African-American women. For some reason I could already feel where this scene would end up before the shit hit the fan because I kept getting poignant flashbacks to those morons on Fox News who tried to somehow spin that passage of Prop-8 was solely based on the Black vote in California. The brilliance of what unfolds is that Cohen remains completely in control, like some flamboyant ringleader of a circus, who artfully (and I mean Cohen had to be on his fucking toes) dances from escalating gag to gag that deals with almost every hot-button African-American issue:
- It's tough being a single parent, while looking for another man (the homosexuality turns some women against him right here).
- Bruno wheels the baby out and because he is Black and wearing a tiny crop-top shirt that says "Gayby", this is where the audience really starts to lose its' shit. I think in one shot, almost all the women jump up out of their chairs at the sight of this. I have no idea how Cohen kept a straight face. "This baby is a real dick-magnet."
- Some hysterical woman asks, "Where did you get that baby," to which Cohen gives the spiel about stopping through the "country" of Africa after trying to bring peace to the middle east, and trading for the baby with an iPod. I believe this is where there started to be cries of people wanting the baby taken away from him. The shots of the audience are fucking priceless - angry Black women everywhere.
- Bruno tries to reassure the audience with the coup-de-grace, "Don't worry I gave him a traditional African-American name - O.J." This killed in the theater and pretty much all hell breaks loose, and I actually instinctively started to look and see how much security was on or near the stage around Cohen for his own safety.
- A tie in to scene one: Bruno shows the fruit of his photo-shoot labor: A black baby on a cross surrounded by white baby Roman legionnaires. Shouts of "You are going to HELL!" But the final straw was when he brings up shots of Bruno and the baby, implicitly naked in a hot tub with 2 or 3 other men, one of which has only his bare-ass out of the water in the face of another man.
I am pretty sure what follows was pre-orchestrated, but a CPS worker comes out and declares the baby is in the country illegally and should be taken away (to the cheers of the audience) and Bruno goes into a mock Jerry Springer style rage to where the security has to restrain him.
Cohen said that all of these scenes are about "3-times" longer than they will be. Truthfully, I do not know how this one gets chopped down. Every part of Cohen's protracted manipulation of the audience is pretty flawless and works.
This scene reminded me of the Rodeo scene from Borat, for some pretty obvious reasons. Bruno now is hosting a UFC-style "Man-Slammin'" fighting show in the middle of Arkansas under the new alias of "Straight Dave" having forsaken the gay lifestyle. Like the Borat scene, "Straight Dave" butters up the crowd with what they want to hear, yet instead of it being about how awesome America is, it's how awesome it is not to be a "fag." He even at one point gets the audience to cheer "Assholes are only for shitting."
Really though, what this scene is about is the crowd shots - how they are whipped into a rabies like hate-frenzy. There is this one guy who, I shit you not, looks like Ganon from Zelda; like the in-bred looking Pig-form Ganon. This motherfucker is literally beating his face in anticipation of the mayhem he thinks is coming. His crowd shots could all be taken independently and strung together as a legendary youtube clip. He is straight ID, probably most-outwardly exhibiting every emotion one as ignorant as him could feel as shit unfolds in front of him. Someone yells "Fag" from the audience and Straight Dave yells that whoever said that can come in the octagon and he would kick his ass. Of course, the fighting turns into pants dropping and nipple sucking. It is pretty benign the way it is cut, not balls in your face like the naked Borat fight scene, but that's not the point. The point is how that Ganon looking mother fucker and all his friends feel as they are suddenly presented with something that they were whipped into a frenzy to hate. Beers start flying (and eventually a near miss boom-head-shot from a chair) but what holds everything together is shots of Ganon in this order:
1. Soul-Crushing Shock
2. Hate-Spewing Hick Rage
3. WTF Tears?
Like I said, the crowd shots are probably the best I have ever seen, which is pretty incredible considering scene 2 had some great ones as well. Though while scene 2 was more of Cohen teaching a class on how to float like a fairy and sting like a bee, scene 3 was how to fucking sucker punch an arena of ignorant assholes. Fucking brilliant.
Comes out in July