Sunday, April 1, 2012

FDR: American Badass! - A Quick Review

I did end up going to the second night of the Faux Film Festival last night, and after a number of short films - some good, some a little long, one being a flat out commercial for a a paperback collection for an online comic, and none of them featuring werewolves - I was hit over the head with a little film called FDR: American Badass!

I laughed out loud quite a bit at spots, and Barry Bostwick was FANTASTIC as FDR, but for my money, I think the spotlight actor in the film was Bruce McGill as FDR's assistant/best friend/right hand man Louis.

The story is fairly straight forward - a German werewolf attack leaves Governor FDR with polio, and as he's recovering, he announces his plans to run for president. We get to spend some time w/ FDR and Louis as they stump around the country looking for votes, and eventually, as history tells us, FDR becomes president.

And his son does something horrible with a flower vase.

It turns out World War II starts because werewolf Hitler, werewolf Mussolini and werewolf Hirohito want to take over the world, and FDR and his crew (which includes Ray Wise as Douglas MacArthur, or, as he puts it, Dougie Mac), aren't going to stand for it.

Oh, and Kevin Sorbo shows up as Abraham Lincoln.

While I laughed through a lot of the movie, it did seem to run a little long, and ALMOST overstayed its welcome by the time the credits started rolling. Some of the gags did not work (including a recurring bit involving Axis power phone operators always getting the wrong number when Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito try calling each other to discuss their world domination plans), and there are so many joke attempts hitting one right after the other that there really wasn't a chance for the audience to just laugh and enjoy the film. And not all of the jokes worked and some even felt a little dated, especially when it came to the characters of George Freeman (played by Deon Richmond) or Curtis (played by Ahmed Best). Both characters are black, and are supposed to be funny because they can scratch a record or play basketball or whatever . . . it just was a LITTLE off-putting. The overall film is NOT politically correct (you can tell that from the trailer!), so I suppose I should have expected the one character who knows about smoking pot just happens to be the black guy, but still . . .

The movie does show its low budget seams, especially when it came to any of the CG work (bullets, explosions, etc.), as well as the climax of the film itself. But I was glad to see it with a group of people in a kind of run down movie theater (even though it strangely started smelling like feces for some reason or other between the short films and the feature - thankfully that passed), which is probably the best way to see the film (with a group, not with that smell).

I haven't looked to see if FDR: American Badass! is available on DVD/Blu-, but I imagine with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies coming later this year, someone somewhere would want to distribute a film in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt fights werewolves.

This was the first time I've ever gone to the Faux Film Festival here in Portland, and I'll definitely keep an eye on it in the future because it looks like it brings in some interesting flicks. I don't know if I'll need to sit through another block of shorts, though - I'll be paying attention for the features.

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