Friday, May 20
Directed by Robert Downey, Sr.
(1969) It’s time to bring in the soul brothers when African-American Arnold Johnson becomes an ad agency head after everybody gives him that token vote, and the vicious commercial parodies keep on coming, with Face-Off Pimple Cream a stand-out. Among its fans are the Coen Brothers, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, P.T. Anderson, the Beastie Boys, and Louis C.K. (“my first big inspiration”). DCP. Approx. 85 mins.
“A WILD CAREER! When he was starting out in the 1960s, [Downey] shot on the fly and screened his work in tiny theaters, often to small, half-baked audiences. But his experimental films now stand as signature works of American underground cinema, as do his breakthrough advertising satire, Putney Swope — about a black executive who is accidentally put in charge of a big-time firm and completely upends the industry — and the playfully bizarre Jesus-western Greaser’s Palace.”
– Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“The determined goofiness of some of the conceits (e.g., German midgets Pepi and Ruth Hermine as the U.S. president and first lady) and the interspersed parodic TV commercials (all of them in color, though the rest of the movie is in black and white) give one a better idea of the jaunty excesses of the late 60s than Hollywood movies of the same period.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum
“A scathing, hugely energetic and scattershot satire.”
– The Guardian
“Vicious and vile, the most offensive picture I have ever seen.”
– Wanda Hale, New York Daily News