Invasion Of The Spool Snatchers (FringeTIX)
Jaimie Leonarder @ The Mercury
9:30pm, Thu 22 Mar 2007
Many years ago, I used to watch The Movie Show on SBS religiously. I loved David & Margaret’s banter and arguments, and – most importantly – I identified with them. Whilst neither really matched my own tastes, I knew that if David loved the premise of a movie, but complained about the handheld camera, then I’d probably dig that movie.
Anyhoo, David & Margaret bailed on SBS for the ABC, but SBS decided to keep The Movie Show name alive, but freshen the formula with three younger reviewers. “Ooh, that’s exciting,” I thought, “I’ll give that a bash.” And I watched an entire episode – up until one reviewer used the word “didactic” for the second time, whereupon I figured that these people were never going to speak to me in the same way. I’m a simple man; esoteric language impresses me not.
One of those new reviewers was Jaimie Leonarder, and he’s decided to bring a season of film-related goodness to the Fringe. The one night – this night – that I was able to scrape in a screening, it just happened to be a screening of what Jaimie calls “the funniest film ever made”, For Your Height Only.
I arrived at the cinema a touch late, walking in to find Jaimie’s face projected onto the screen. It’s a documentary about him caring about the Sydney homeless and having his work appreciated by Mike Patton. And I sit there thinking “erm, OK, this looks like a personal puff piece.” Sure enough, when the doco’s finished, Jaimie takes to the stage and says “so that should tell you a lot about me”, name-drops Patton again, then talks about how he’s got a DJ gig later this evening, and how stupid SBS management were to not screen his documentary. Introduces a friend who attempts to stand whilst bellowing out something unintelligible before collapsing back into his seat, a bit more namedropping, and then – finally – For Your Height Only.
It’s bizarre. Really fucking bizarre.
A James Bond-spoof movie originating from the Philippines in the early eighties, the secret agent superstar of For Your Height Only is… three feet tall. A midget with stunningly bad hair. Most of the usual Bond bits are there – gadgets (lame gadgets, no less), women a-plenty – we only seem to miss the car chases. And the suave nature of any Bond… hell, even Timothy Dalton makes Weng Weng look clumsy with the ladies. And the bloody awful english dub does no-one any favours.
The latter half of the movie is protracted scenes of Secret Agent 00 shooting endless bad guys until his gun jams, whereupon he resorts to the time-tested-and-true kick to the balls, followed by a kick to the head. Occasionally there’s a swing from a handily-held machine gun that allows a kick to the stomach – 00’s tricks know no bounds. There’s a stunning(ly bad) jetpack sequence, an even more incredible umbrella-inspired escape (prefixed by the most ludicrous Secret Agent Super-Lover sequence ever seen), and the final boss battle with Mr Giant… jesus. Let’s just say that film like this can’t get made anymore.
So the movie’s over, I’m in a jovial mood, then Jaimie smugly takes to the stage again, explains how this film is funnier than the rest of the Fringe (based on the one comedy show he’s seen), and mentions his DJ gig again. And again. Criticises SBS for not screening more movies of this calibre – “I’ve laughed more at this movie than at the entire Fringe.” And promises something cool and unique when we return from a five minute break. Ummmm, not me – my big head doesn’t like being in the same room as another self-aggrandising twat.
Nice film, shame about the prat fronting those responsible for bringing it here.