Yesterday was Father’s Day and when I saw Tim League was having a Pig BBQ and THE BAD BATCH Father’s Day extravaganza at something called THE STUNT RANCH… Well, I made sure I had three tickets. One for me, one for Dad and one for my little sis. If you’ve been reading the site long at all you know them as FatherGeek and Sister Satan. Why Satan, well her anklet in the hospital the night she was born read SISTER – and then in a different font CETON, which I mispronounced SATAN – and it has stuck ever since. But there’s not a more loving sister on the planet – that I’m aware of. Heh.
So, what sold me on THE BAD BATCH being the outing to go on this Father’s Day? Well, it had to do with Cannibalism and taking place in some strange Post-Apocalyptic Texas Wasteland. I remember people liking it at FANTASTIC FEST last year – and Tim League picked it up and is now distributing through his NEON distribution company.
The real key for me was knowing that Ana Lily Amirpour had a second film. If you saw A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, I can’t imagine you ever missing one of Amirpour’s films again. Set in one of most lyrically shot universes I’ve seen, an Iranian Ghost Town – with the sweetest rides – and the photography just the sort of shit that takes my breath away. So… that amazing lady is making a film that combines Cannibalism and the Post-Apocalypse? Shit, the first world premiere I ever went to was for L. Q. Jones’s Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal tale, A BOY AND HIS DOG at the Dobie Theater here in Austin, where Don Johnson sat in the bean bag chairs of the Dobie theater with L. Q. Jones and others – and the room was filled with pot smoke – and we got to see the great bastardization of Harlan Ellison’s wonderful novel. And I love the novel and the bad bastard of a movie L.Q. made.
Point is… That was 1975… I remember it because Tim McIntire’s voice of BLOOD – the super cute doggy companion of Don Johnson’s VIC captured my soul. Don was my sci-fi hero before Luke Skywalker. And that came for Post-Apocalyptic Cannibal cinema. So – shit yeah, sounds like Father’s Day for me.
The three of us almost never do anything just us three anymore. Our family has expanded with Yoko, Kublakhan and the Kwisatz Haderach. But this year – it felt perfect. We went out about an hour and a half early, just to make sure we had a close spot for parking, just cuz – well Dad’s getting older and I’m in the chair. The event was taking place Rolling Roadshow style at a location called STUNT RANCH, which is a crazy place. There were high fall stunt towers where you could fall from about 25ft into one of those Stunt blow up bags! Then there was a photo booth with burnt out vans shooting Fireballs in time with your video/photos. Very cool. Then there were multiple whole pigs being bbq’d with sausage and chicken and baked beans and cole slaw. A special BAD BATCH Brewed Beer for the event that tasted lemony and smokey – and a shit ton of Lone Star. Then there was the trapeze fall and net, the zip-line, the knife and hatchet throwing – and the swimming pool.
We three hung out in the shade of a giant oak tree and basked in the madness around us, ate the grub, drank our beers and made merry with the attendees. In all – the social aspect of the screening and event was spectacular.
Now, I know… When you get offered the opportunity to discover THE BAD BATCH – you won’t be out in the wilderness of Central Texas… watching wild deer walking around… Bats catching the mosquitoes in the night air above us as we awaited the sun to go down and the screening to begin. A sold out crowd sitting in their own chairs, blankets or just laying upon the ground. It got over 100 degrees today, but I never felt it in the shade of that tree.
It was a beautiful sunset, that a pair of bats were dancing in. We also had a symphony of cicadas chirping, 3 planes fly over, but the very best audience.
So… what the fuck is THE BIG BATCH?
Essentially – this is a Wasteland tale. Not in Australia, but upon the Texas/Mexico border Wasteland. Something rather awful has gone wrong in the world. We’re not entirely positive what happened, but the people of our tale are all considered a BAD BATCH… not worthy of some other place we never glimpse, but whatever that is, these people don’t qualify for. Me… This film gets double featured with A BOY AND HIS DOG and I’m telling you. Put on A BOY AND HIS DOG, then go see THE BAD BATCH – and you’re living a king’s life.
The film features Suki Waterhouse as Arlen. A woman that finds herself in this wasteland with nowhere to go. We know, nothing about her other than she has the worst luck, being overpowered in the opening of the film and soon losing her right arm and right leg. And they were quite lovely parts, like the whole of Ms Waterhouse. I know ol Beatrix Kiddo woke up with her baby gone and serially raped… But Arlen literally gets these parts sawed off to feed, she has no idea who. BUT… Like Beatrix, she has an indomitable spirit… like Frigga of THEY CALL HER ONE EYE, she will not quit. Her character journey of having to have a place where she made a difference… that’s a beautiful character journey as you’ll see.
However, on this Father’s Day, the character that stands above and beyond was Jason Momoa’s “Miami Man” – now – know that nobody ever calls him Miami Man, that name just comes from the tattoo across his chiseled chest. He is a fierce hulking predator of the Wasteland, a cannibal, an artist and a father. It is… in the hands of Ana Lily Amirpour’s direction… a beautiful savage. Momoa’s character is like a Riddick or a Max or a Conan here… but as a boy from Cuba who rafted to a city called MIameee… There’s an explosive quality to him, yet a tenderness of a single father. This character played my sister for everything. FatherGeek did paint a portrait of my sister as a girl of about this age when she lived on the ranch in North Texas which this film, in the location we saw it, was quite evocative. But just know, Jason Momoa has finally trumped his GAME OF THRONES work! That’s fantastic fucking news!
There’s a Hermit in this movie that’s kind of a Wasteland Fairy GodFather… A character centered upon delivering selfless good at every turn. I had no idea who was playing him, but I was fucking stunned to find it was Jim Carrey in all of that. Jesus Mary & Joseph, what a fucking role!!! He’s a fucking Miyazaki character that has never existed. He’s magnetically magical. Perhaps I need to describe some logistics.
In this Texas-Mexico Border Wasteland there are people referred to as being BRIDGE PEOPLE – and from what we know of the BRIDGE PEOPLE – they seem to be quite terrifying cannibals. If they don’t know you, you are food. It is as simple as that. Life is too hard and the flesh from your bones means another day for Daddy’s little girl. The little girl is Honey, played by a beautiful Jayda Fink. It’s hard being a kid in this realm.
Then there’s the Wall and the city of COMFORT. COMFORT is essentially the Sodom & Gomorrah of this Wasteland. You do what you need to, to party every night. Here we meet Giovanni Ribisi’s SCREAMER – who is trapped in logic circles of his own creation, that provoke Suki’s Arlen to ask questions of her own purpose – especially once she drops acid at this crazed COMFORT. The Color-Changing-Neon Edged Boom Box DJ Booth is fucking awesome on film. And the beats are killer – and the post-apocalyptic rave just looks like THE way to spend the apocalypse – and the man that presides over this blissful fuck the pain away utopia is none other than Keanu Reeves playing The Dream!
Keanu Reeves’ THE DREAM has a bevy of heavily pregnant ladies wearing T-shirts proclaiming that THE DREAM IS INSIDE OF ME – and Keanu’s Porn-Stache fucking rocks the pillars of Valhalla! Also – his Pregnant followers carry Uzis. Which is a visual I’ll not be striking from the mind soon. He seems to provide sewage for COMFORT and drugs. I’m also quite fond that this film is a wide open universe – that could go for some awesome sequels as far as I’m concerned.
Like MAD MAX, Like TERMINATOR, this is that kind of universe – where I’d love to see MIAMI MAN face THE DREAM, I’d love to see what Arlen would pull next, and I’d love to see how the HERMIT would diffuse all the anger by being the angel in common with all to diffuse it all away.
This movie is not only a pervasive vision of a place none of us ever hope to reach as a society, but one that is thoroughly captivating, terrifying, and hypnotically psychedelic. There’s an LSD sequence that is no joke, fantastic. However, as great as that sequence is, there’s a simple moment where Waterhouse’s Arlen is taking a leak behind some brush as a sand storm starts a blowing and Momoa takes a sheet and envelopes him and her and it was a perfect cinematic orgasm. A moment of, DAMN THAT ROCKS! The way it plays is as his reflex – and then like being under a sheet with another often is, an instant increase of intimacy and arousal.
These feelings, these heroic ends, these characters just don’t exist in the studio realms. THE BAD BATCH is magical mixed with the nightmare of survival at all costs. Yet, it still, to me, felt like life continuing. Accepting new norms and moving forward with life, as we must.
Seek this film out, it is a jewel waiting to be found by you. Hope you love it as I!
Keep it cool,