Sweethurt (2020) – The 90s Are Back Baby!

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Sweethurt

Back in the late 90s, there was a huge boom for comedies about teenagers behaving badly while also being kind of charming. Films like She’s All That, American Pie… basically, everything that would eventually be parodied by Not Another Teen Movie. It was this huge thing and these films were massive, to the point where their parody literally gave us Captain America. Of course, it’s been so long since this kind of comedy was a big thing that it feels like no one does it anymore… so thank god for Sweethurt bringing back that classic feeling.

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Externo (2021) – The Medium Sized Short

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Externo

One of the more fun things that have been happening over the last several years is just watching slowly as more and more people develop an attitude that can best be described as “Hey, those people who collected Marie Antoinette’s head had the right idea, maybe it’s approaching time to do that again to a different bunch of rich assholes”. It seems like the majority of us have finally cottoned onto the idea that we’re not going to become independently wealthy and those who already have the money won’t be sharing any time soon. Pointing out the power and influence the wealthy hold is certainly a great idea for a film… Externo tries it, kinda succeeds, but also kinda bores.

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The World’s Best Film (2020) – The World’s Sweetest Documentary

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

There is really no pithy opening paragraph I can come up with to properly start this review of a film that, rather charmingly, calls itself “The World’s Best Film”. I tried, couldn’t think of anything… mostly cos I was just too damn charmed by the film to really bother with the normal format of these reviews.

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Origin of the Species (2020) – I, For One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Origin Of The Species Info

Do you remember the Tay Twitter bot? For those who don’t remember, this was a Twitter bot that Microsoft designed in order to try and get an AI to learn how to have a normal human conversation… and because they put this on TWITTER, that bot went from sweet and charming to full-on Nazi in under 24 hours. It was a quick lesson in how quickly an AI can learn and how that learning can be used to create something terrifying… and the limits and uses of AI make for an interesting time in the Sydney Underground Film Festival entry Origin Of The Species.

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Shit & Champagne (2021) – Effervescant

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Shit & Champage Info

It’s been no secret on this blog that I’m a very big fan of drag queen films, having reviewed more than a few of them over the last few years. The drag queen film can be split up into two seperate but equally important groups, the first one being where it’s about drag queens and the film acknowledges that these are drag queens. Things like Cherry Pop, To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar or Death Drop Gorgeous (to name three films I reviewed and can therefore link to, thus improving SEO) would fit into this since all the characters involved are stated to be drag queens, even if they’re in drag the entire goddamn movie. The second kind of drag queen film casts drag queens in female roles and treats them as though they were just regular women, basically any role that Divine ever played is a role that’s meant to be a woman and they just happened to cast a Drag Queen. 

Today’s movie, Shit & Champagne, is a beautiful and glorious example of the second kind of drag movie.

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Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché (2021) – Obsessed with This

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

After the gut-punch of a documentary with Lydia Lunch, it feels right to wash it down with a documentary about another performer that broke boundaries in her own unique way. The idea of course was to try and watch something that was a little lighter and maybe a little easier to take on… stupid me forgetting that the Sydney Underground Film Festival thrives on really just fucking with the audience. So, time to talk about Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché.

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Fanny: The Right To Rock (2021) – Wonderful Feeling

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Fanny: The Right To Rock Info

The history of music is filled with some truly great female bands. The Go-Go’s, The Runaways and The Bangles just to name a few that hit big mainstream success. One band however is considered to be the first all-female rock band to be signed to a major label, a band that would influence all the others that followed, were championed by such icons as David Bowie and would open for bands like Slade and Jethro Tull… that band was named Fanny and they were at the forefront of women’s right to be rock stars (which is great because that gives their documentary a fantastic subtitle to put after the semicolon).

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Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over (2019) – Unearthly Delight

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

I’ll be honest and admit the name Lydia Lunch was not one I had heard of before I started watching the documentary Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over. Why would I? I’m an unhip Aussie who wasn’t even conceptualised back in 1979 when Lydia started performing with her band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (which… yeah, best band name ever, calling it now). In a way, I feel like not knowing anything about Lydia worked to my advantage because watching the film felt like being punched in the face with shock and awe, which feels like it fits in well with her aesthetic.

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Sleeze Lake: Vanlife at its Lowest and Best (2020) – Van-tastic

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Sleeze Lake: Vanlife at its Lowest and Best Info

There’s an old truism that “If you remember the 70s then you weren’t there”. This has also been applied to the 60s, largely because of Woodstock, but it can also apply to the 70s when everyone was just doing endless amounts of drugs… like, enough drugs that anyone who was around in the 60s or 70s isn’t allowed to ever talk shit about what drugs the youth of today do. Anyway, this era led to a lot of memorable big festivals where a lot of people did a lot of drugs. Today’s Sydney Underground Film Festival entry is about one of the lesser-known drug-filled festivals, but also one of the strangest.

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Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest (2021) – GAME ON!

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Cannon Arm and the Arcade Quest Info

It’s been two years since I’ve been able to go to a film festival, specifically my favourite film festival on earth. The Sydney Underground Film Festival, a festival dedicated to strange underground films that are usually shown in this great little venue that’s clearly not really meant for a film festival but some nutbags decided to put up a projector in a few rooms and boom, you got a festival.

This festival provided 2 previous entries to my “best of” list, that being Greener Grass and Use Me, and I was hoping to get to go again this year but… well, that thing that meant I only got to review Fast and Furious 9 yesterday moved the festival to online only. The upside? That means that for the next month I’ll be able to get through a lot of these films that I might not have been able to see if I was going in person (maybe that’ll keep me sane until this lockdown ends). 

So, let’s start this off with a documentary about a guy and his arcade system.

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