"Run for your lives, children! RUN!"
Knoxville, TN is only about 3 1/2 hours away, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine a small group of Spirit of Vatican 2 parishioners forming a convoy of VW vans and Toyota Priuses (or maybe even just hitching a ride in order to further conserve fossil fuel consumption) for the purpose of traveling down here and picketing outside my theater. It appears that their EcoChurch Director Che' Lovell (or perhaps his evil doppelganger) is currently scripting a play with the hopes of getting it produced on the stage, or maybe even someday as a movie. (You never know, I hear the Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos is always on the lookout for fresh talent.) And it appears the SOViers were hoping to convince me into reviewing the work in progress.
Of course, I tried to explain that The B-Movie Catechism is a film-centric blog, but they started going on about the suppression of the freedom of self expression and my being a slave to the fascist media machine which (except for a few wise and brave actors) continues to propagandize "outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society" and how my resistance, though passive, was nonetheless mean, hurtful and a reflection of "the violence inherent in the system." (Some of this sounded oddly familiar.) So I thought, what the heck, even though you don't get to take popcorn inside the auditorium, it's still in a theater, right? (Popcorn causes cancer this week anyway, so who needs it.) Let's go and take a peek at ACT I of BANANAS OF REVENGE. (WARNING: This review contains some spoilers. You might want to go read the first act yourself before continuing.)
SCENE: A banana plantation in Guyana or someplace like that really hot.Well right away I couldn't help but notice the cast. I'm not sure how Che' managed to get so much celebrity firepower on such a minuscule budget. Garafolo will do anything for the least bit attention, but as for Cruise and Travolta, well, I guess brain of H Robert Williams could have called in some favors from the scientologists. (They probably still owe the world penance for Battlefield Earth.) Anyway, the play starts with Travolta as the cruel plantation owner oppressing his workers.
TIME: Right now except night
[TOM CRUISE and JEANNE GARAFOLA on stage]
[Enter the JOHN TRAVOLTA]
GARAFOLA: Don’t you care about anyone but yourself?I pointed out that this scene might be more hard hitting if Travolta was in his get-up from the movie adaptation of the stage adaptation of the movie Hairspray, but Che' mockingly informed me that no Republican would be caught dead cross-dressing (except inside the offices of the FBI or possibly in a public restroom stall) and no LGBT person could ever conceivably be an oppressor. Fine, it's his play. The character's then spend an inordinate amount of time talking about some political stuff I didn't quite get until they discover a book which contains all the truth they need to free themselves. I perked up at this point, thinking this might be a Bible, but then I realized I've never read a translation of Holy Scripture which included words like Bourgeoisie or Proletariat.
TRAVOLTA: No. Now I need to go and give money to republicans so they can help me by making laws which suppress women and indigenous peoples.
[Re-Enter JOHN TRAVOLTA with SEAN PENN and DANNY GLOVER. GLOVER has his hands tied behind his back]Shows what I know. I thought Glover was getting too old for this s***. It's the introduction of Penn that really interests me though. I've always held a begrudging respect for Penn. Any man who can marry Madonna and escape without putting a bullet through his own skull has more than proved his intestinal fortitude to me. Sure, he lost his mind in the process, but that just adds an extra raw edge to any performance he gives. Just see how convincing he can be; it really looks like he's punching Glover in the gut, hard. I suggested this would be a great point in which to have Mel Gibson rush in and save Glover, but for some reason the mention of that name nearly caused a riot to break out, so I had to take it back. Meanwhile, back on the stage, the play continues with long sections of expository dialog about oppression and the ownership of goods. Penn sees the error of his ways and punches Travolta in the nose, somehow killing him in the process. (Again, I thought the death scene would have been twice as dramatic played in drag, but nobody's listening to me.) Following that, there's lots more talk about who owns the bananas. It might be a good time to point out that the Catechism tells us, "Even when we have done our work, the food we receive is still a gift from our Father; it is good to ask him for it and to thank him, as Christian families do when saying grace at meals." (Why do I get the inescapable feeling you'll find my use of the Catechism oppressive?) The play continues.
PENN: This menial laborer person is causing trouble. I caught him handing out things people read.
TRAVOLTA: Hit him.
[PENN punches GLOVER in stomach]
GLOVER: It is the dawn of a new day. The sun is yellow like the bananas. It is a banana dawn. All over the world people are waking up and they will see the banana sun.Finally, I started to get excited. You see, based on the title of the play, I had been expecting an epic along the lines of the motion picture classic Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes. Except with bananas. How great would that have been? The sequel Return Of The Killer Tomatoes even starred George Clooney, so there was some hope he might return to his roots in the little known fruit-horror genre and bless us with a cameo. But to my dismay, Act I abruptly ends at this point. No mayhem, no mad scientists, no guys dressed in big banana suits terrorizing the countryside. There's none of that here. This is more like Waiting For Godot, with fresh fruit.
GARAFOLA: The fascists will be looking for the bananas and they won’t find them!
GLOVER: But the bananas are bananas of revenge. And so they will have to eat the bananas and the bananas they eat won’t taste very good except to us.
I'm sorry Che'. It's not that I mind morals embedded in my entertainment. Remember that eloquent speech Peter Graves gives at the end of It Conquered The World. "He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature... and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection... they find only death... fire... loss... disillusionment... the end of everything that's gone forward." (I'm tearing up just thinking about it.) But he delivered that speech only after fighting to the death with an upside-down giant carrot with fangs. I understand this is only a work in progress, but if you're going to win me over, Act II needs to be less Godfather II and more Troll 2.
Maybe I'm just the wrong person to ask to review high-brow theatrical productions. D. G. D. Davidson over at The Sci-Fi Catholic is much more intellectual than I am, and I understand that he's under pressure also to review the play. Maybe he'll do your work justice. Until then, just in case you're too upset, I'm going to brush up on how to defend myself against a man armed with a banana.