Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shakes the Clown

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Also, don't look at the clown, you'll only encourage him.

Shakes the Clown – 3 out of 5

This was my first time seeing this 1991 comedy from comedian Bobcat Goldthwait. A friend of mine and a fan of my reviews (yes, believe it or not, people enjoy my reviews—I pay them good money to like them) asked me to give this one a shot. I will ALWAYS take a request for the blog (then he offered me some fine spices and silks from the East to grease the wheels on this one); here’s my look at Shakes the Clown.

He may look quiet and innocent right now but you know he's got a pie and
a bottle of seltzer water he's ready to choke you with behind his back.

Shakes is…well…a clown; the horrid makers of terror and all things that are unholy in existence—but on paper, they are suppose to make you laugh. Shakes (Goldthwait) is a drunk and all around disappointing human being—or clown. After a famous clown loses his television show, it is awarded to the criminally psychotic clown Binky (Tom Kenny). Binky ends up murdering Shakes' boss and Shakes is framed for the crime. This depressed and drunk clown must now clear his name and stop Binky from murdering again…only this time, he’s going to murder Shakes’ love; Judy (Julie Brown). Also, there’s some mimes in the film…so it gets pretty frightening.

If you ever see a group of mimes coming at you, it's best to just kill your family
and then yourself so you won't have to experience the ungodly terror that is
coming your way.

Like I previously stated (see two paragraphs ago), I have never seen this movie but vaguely remember its existence, so going into the film was a fresh experience for me. Overall, the movie is pretty decent. Aside from writing the film and being the main star, the movie acted as Goldthwait’s directorial debut. It’s pretty flappin’ obvious that this was Bobcat’s first time in the director’s chair as the movie gets pretty messy as its plot is kinda all over the place through much of the story—not to mention the story is pretty sloppy in an of itself as the real meat of the conflict (Shakes being framed) doesn’t really occur until the third act is about to start BUT with even with these problems, the movie can be pretty damn funny...and this is interesting because it contains Adam Sandler during a time when he didn’t do an obligatory awful film every year that makes the masses collectively wonder if they’ll ever know happiness again after viewing it.

"Someday I will go on to make the worst films in all of existence...and then up the
ante of how bad they can get every year."

And that brings me to the cast…

Mrs. Brady, no!

I know you're wondering but no, Robin Williams is
not silent when playing a mime.
 Bobcat, aside from looking like he could actually be a party clown that torments kids with a tease of hell through balloon animals and dollar store magic tricks, really carries the movie well for a guy I really only experienced as a stand-up performer and as the crazy guy in the Police Academy movies. The film also offers up some great cameos from Robin Williams and Florence Henderson—and their presence is so good that you are able to turn a blind eye that Kathy Griffin is in the cast (seriously, don’t look her directly in the face, it’ll melt off like you are looking into the Ark of the Covenant).

My apologies to anyone who looked directly at this photo and is now dead.

"Hello boys and girls...wanna see why I have such big
shoes and baggy pants?"
 The best performance, in my opinion, is Tom Kenny (yes, the man who went on to voice the little sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea) as Binky. Why Kenny has never had any mainstream success as an actor (of course, his voice acting career has always been a success but I’m talking about the physical stuff that employees being seen and heard) is beyond me because the man is funny and knows how to give a tremendous performance thanks to some great comedic timing (the man is also a great stand-up comedian—I highly suggest you track down some of his stuff). As Binky, Kenny shows why we have a collective distrust of people in pancake make-up, lapel-sporting squirting flowers and cream pies ready and aimed for the face. Kenny is dark, psychotic and, most of all, just hysterical in this role.

It's perfectly natural to laugh your ass off and void your bladder during
his performance.

Just for context, she was on MTV back when they actually
played music videos...back before the dark times...
before Jersey Shore and Teen Mom.
 Of course I also have to mention that Julie Brown was in the film as Shakes' lover and it came out at a time when her career was hitting its peak. You DO remember Julie Brown, don’t you? Well, any younger readers might not but she was the valley girl comedian that hit it big on MTV in the 80s and was probably responsible for many a young man’s first boner. Her role literally could have been played by anyone since Brown does little with the character and this paragraph was, more than anything, an excuse to mention that in her day she was flippin’ hot…this movie should have played off of that hotness but instead, they made her look like a version of Harley Quinn if Joel Schumacher somehow escaped the moratorium that was placed on him and made another Batman film.

This is what we would have experienced if Schumacher's deal with the devil
panned out for another Batman film.  The horror...

Being that I’m 22 years late to the party that is Shakes the Clown (but, then again, who wants to arrive on time to a party that has clowns? Seriously, fuck those guys), the movie still entertained me. It has its problems and it’s very clear that this was Bobcat’s first foray into making his own motion picture but despite its occasional sloppy presentation and unbalanced plot and story, the film has its moments where it is tremendously funny and it doesn’t hurt that the main character is a depressed, alcoholic clown—because sad clowns are funny and when there is a chance that they will hurt themselves or do lasting physical and emotional damage to themselves thanks to a chemical dependency then we see a time when clowns are truly hilarious.

"I think I want to slit my wrists..."
"HA HA!!! Stop, you're killing me!"

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