Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Film Review: FEAST II: SLOPPY SECONDS (2008, John Gulager)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 97 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Clu Gulager, Tom Gulager, Martin Klebba, Diane Goldner, Jenny Wade
Tag-line: "Feast on this...sloppy seconds."
Best one-liner(s): "Wait a minute...let me tell you somethin', momma, I was a fucking marine in the Second World War, okay? And I got over the goddamn Krauts, and I got over the goddamn Japs, so get that stick out of your ass, drop this fucking vendetta bullshit of yours, and let's get the hell out of here." (with a droll line-reading enhanced by the inimitable Clu Gulager)

That whacky Gulager family has done it again. FEAST II: SLOPPY SECONDS has a couple of different vibes swirling around within its meaty shell, some of which are far more successful than others. We've got a kind of TREMORS meets DEVIL'S REJECTS one which I'm not too wild about, a Hustonian 'futility of human endeavor' one which lends it most of its humor, and that good old Gulager family vibe which I shall expand upon right here. This film is swimming with Gulagers: John directed it, Daddy Clu is the foul-mouthed Bartender, brother Tom is the sniveling, baby-tossing Greg, wife Diane Goldner returns as Harley Mom's twin sister, Biker Queen, and, if I'm not mistaken, it looks like nephew Clu (Tom's son) playing the notorious baby who gets tossed. Clu Gulager and his family are national treasures.

Those whacky Gulagers promote Fucking Tulsa in the mid-90's.

Clu is notorious for playing guest roles on every damn TV show from THE UNTOUCHABLES to KNIGHT RIDER to WALKER, TEXAS RANGER, and has played psychos, showboats, and nice guys in everything from THE KILLERS to THE LAST PICTURE SHOW to RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. He's a filmmaker, too, collaborating with his amazing wife Miriam Byrd-Nethery (R.I.P.) and kids on the never-completed exercise in cruelty FUCKING TULSA, the bizarre avant-garde short A DAY WITH THE BOYS (available as an extra on the Criterion DVD of GEORGE WASHINGTON), and an Oklahoma monster makeup and acting class. This film is the logical culmination of being a son of Clu Gulager, who over the course of his life was an abused child, a Marine, a Hollywood player, an underground artist, a backwoods pariah, and an all-around awesome guy. And John lets his Dad Clu, now at the tender age of 80, do some ridiculous stuff.

He swears like a sailor throughout, clutches his ridiculous neck wound, gets revenge on Honey Pie (who left he and the other survivors for dead at the end of FEAST) by ramming her head into a toilet and biting off her ear, and he remains an overall beacon of cinematic magnificence for the duration. Whatever shortcomings this film might have, the gleeful, demented exuberance of the Gulagers shines through.

John, Clu, and Diane at he 2006 premiere of the first FEAST.

Here's hoping we get to see Clu bite off some more body parts in FEAST III: THE HAPPY FINISH.

And here is a wonderful article on the Gulagers written for LA Weekly some years ago.

-Sean Gill

Update: I've now reviewed FEAST III: THE HAPPY FINISH, as well.

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