Sunday, 28 August 2016

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: THE CINEMA SNOB

5. "Oh, forgive me. I forgot that the camp director's stolen Christian book is a worse crime than fucking murder!"

28/08/2016



There are many reasons why a lot of swearing can be heard from my doorway, but it is mostly through what I am watching online, or on my TV. Having discovered Brad Jones's series "The Cinema Snob" last year, and having worked my way back through the three hundred-plus episodes that had been made to that point, I have never found a character whose situation provided a justifiable need to swear so much, while also producing the residual effect of making the viewer swear more than average afterwards, something that watching a Billy Connolly routine also produces.

Since 2007, Jones has been playing Vincent Dawn, a film reviewer in the Barry Norman / Roger Ebert mould, who reviews only exploitation films, i.e. the type of film he has no business going anywhere near. The best episodes come from films that are either so bad, they cannot help but produce a strong reaction, or those that defy explanation altogether. Anything that comes across as arty, regardless of the context, is to be praised, and anything that fails to meet expectations is rejected out of hand, compared unfavourably with films that already have a critical stamp of approval.



This series is clearly from a place of love, the films themselves coming from Jones' personal collection, and often quite rare, with exploitation films, by nature, not surviving longer than the moment they existed to exploit. However, with more recent episodes, such as the three-part, eighty-minute review of "Heaven's Gate" (1981), more well-known, but still less-regarded films are also featured. You can see where Jones' heart lies in the film spin-off he wrote and starred in, "The Cinema Snob Movie" (2011), where Vincent Dawn is revealed to be the alter-ego of Craig Golightly, an exploitation filmmaker trying to make "Black Angus," a title you imagine would have already been used by now for some sort of "Shaft" or "Dolemite" knock-off.

As infectiously funny Jones's writing and acting is, I am aware that watching "The Cinema Snob" is the only time I am going to come into contact with most of the films I am watching, either because they are not the sort of film, especially horror, that I would choose to watch anyway, or because they are very difficult to find. Having said that the Bo Derek / John Derek debacle "Ghosts Can't Do It" (1989), mentioned as one of the worst films Jones has ever reviewed, may be worth the hunt.

Already an accomplished writer and director, Brad Jones's Stoned Gremlin Productions has just completed raising money for a parody of the recent glut of Christian-themed films released in the US recently, titled "Jesus, Bro!" I chipped in some money myself, and will be looking forward to a DVD of the film when it is completed - when a film is made by someone who I see knows his subject, this cannot fail to be really good.


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