MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! DODES'KA-DEN (1970, directed by Akira Kurosawa)
I wonder exactly what motivated Brad Kohler to send a Dee-Vee-Dee burn of this particular pelicula my way. I mean, a film like this ain't exactly the kinda sit down 'n eat snacks evening fare that I surely would have liked to have enjoyed the same way I watch ABBOTT & COSTELLO. It really is bugging me...what was it that drove Kohler to even consider having me watch an arthouse kinda foreign film like this anyway? I guess it's because he's still mad at me for a "hot" racing tip I gave him to dump all of his hard-begged on "Marcia's Honey" in the eighth...I always so go for them horses with the double entendre names and gosh, I thought that a horse with a track record of ten straight lag-behinds just hadda be due in typical b-movie win the race or lose the farm fashion!!!
DODES'KA-DEN is an onomatopea, and that's about all it is to me since this Japanese moom is nothing but the boring antics of some down and outers who happen to live in an automobile graveyard somewhere in the Land of the Rising Prices. Y'know, the ins and outs of these losers in life and how their existences intertwine and interact and all of that UP WITH PEOPLE jive. Not that the characters themselves are bad...I kinda liked the old guy named Shima who wears a 1940's-styled suit who has the occasional tics which are supposed to make him a sympathetic character, or lovable, or at least something like that. He kinda reminds me of the people I used to see when I was a li'l boy, like this old guy who always wore these suits that made him look like Lt. Trask on PERRY MASON, who drove this late-forties auto for years because he got it when he retired and believed it was to be his last car, and it would be only he ended up living for a good thirtysome years or so afterwords! Maybe they shoulda made a moom about him, because acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa just has his characters lump around and nag and tease each other without any real oomph to get us lumpen audience members to feel anything about 'em whatsoever.
Hokay, so maybe I ain't up on foreign film exquisiteness or any of that beret and stale doritos kultur ("the scene where the samurai chops the head off the peasant is a keen swipe at the Fukobayashi political scandal of 1957 blah blah snooze snooze...") so maybe I should keep my trap shut and my fingers offa da keyboard. But I won't. And maybe plenty is lost in the translation, but for the life o' me I can't feel a thing for the crazy guy who thinks he's a trolley car conductor or the downtrodden wives who have to put up with drunken husbands. I guess the ennui and the pathos and all of those things film critics love might be part of the entire appeal for their stodgy selves, but for me it always made for quick channel clicking.
Really, Japan has done much better in the past whether it be the string of exciting monster movies to even ULTRA MAN, but when it's done worse it's been better than this stew. Heck, I'll take SKINNY AND FATTY (kiddie art snob cinema) over this 'un or even THE (original) LOWER DEPTHS if only because that gal with the bangs who plays the doom and gloom husband's better half is really hotcha looking, kinda like Mika from the Sadistic Mika Band when her hair was nice 'n bobbed. Heck, I'll bet that even THE VAGINA THAT ATE TOKYO's a total winner next to this 'un, though since my subscription to PSYCHOTRONIC VIDEO lapsed there's no way that I could find out!
There's one bitta redeeming value to all of this, and that's this wrecked out automobile that this old greasy coot who dreams of owning his own mansion and his young son who's equally greasy live in. It's of thirties/forties vintage and really sleek looking, with a bit of the thirties French style in what's left of its magnificent body. If any enthusiasts out there can identify the make of this particular vehicle please let me know as soon as possible!