Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: PUTNEY SWOPE IS THE GREATEST F*CK YOU MOVIE OF ALL TIME

PUTNEY SWOPE IS A BITING, SARDONIC, AND COMPLETELY GONZO MASTERPIECE.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: PUTNEY SWOPE IS THE GREATEST F*CK YOU MOVIE OF ALL TIME

THE POSTER SAYS IT ALL. PUTNEY SWOPE IS THE GREATEST FUCK YOU MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT HERE THE BASIC SET UP: PUTNEY SWOPE IS THE ONLY BLACK GUY ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT A MANHATTAN AD AGENCY. WHEN THE CHAIRMAN DIES, THERE IS A BOARD VOTE TO DECIDE WHO WILL BE THE SUCCESSOR. EVERYONE ON THE BOARD WANTS A SHOT, BUT BECAUSE NO ONE VOTE FOR THEMSELVES EVERYONE THE EGOMANIACS ARE AT A LOSS OF HOW TO VOTE. LUCKILY, THEY EACH COME UP THE BRILLIANT IDEA OF BETTERING THEIR CHANCES AT SUCCESS BY VOTING OF FOR THE ONE GUY THAT COULDN’T POSSIBLY WIN: PUTNEY SWOPE.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS A BITING, SARDONIC, AND COMPLETELY GONZO MASTERPIECE.

PUTNEY FIRES ALL THE CORRUPT NINCOMPOOPS AROUND HIM AND BRINGS IN A HOST OF RADICAL PROGRESSIVES AND BLACK MILITANTS (KEEPING THE TOKEN WHITE GUY OF COURSE). HE CHANGES THE NAME OF THE AGENCY TO “TRUTH AND SOUL INC.” HE DISCONTINUES THE AD AGENCIES POLICY OF ADVERTISING FOR TOBACCO, ALCOHOL, AND MILITARY TOYS AIMED AT PROPAGATING THE WAR TO CHILDREN. HE ONLY ACCEPTS CASH. THEY EMBARK IN A SERIES OF NO BULLSHIT, FUNNY AND WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE ADS THAT BECOME WILDLY SUCCESSFUL:

THIS KIND OF REVOLUTIONARY BEHAVIOR IS, OF COURSE, A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY. BY TAKING ON THE FINE INSTITUTIONS OF BOOZE AND SMOKES, AND BY SO UNABASHEDLY FAILING TO FOSTER THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, TRUTH AND SOUL INC. BECOMES TARGETED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND A HOST OF CONSERVATIVE EXTREMISTS. CHAOS / HILARITY ENSUE, NOT TO MENTION THE ABSOLUTE WEIRDEST PREMONITION OF MARK DAVID CHAPMAN EVER PUT ON SCREEN (IT REALLY DISTURBING HOW SIMILAR THE DUDE LOOKS). THE FILM IS DELIGHTFULLY NUTS.

AND BY ALL SENSE OF LOGIC, THE FILM SHOULDN’T EXIST.

IT WAS INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING IN A TIME WHEN THERE JUST WASN’T ANY. THERE WAS BASICALLY THIS AND JOHN CASSAVETTES HAVING A COUPLE OF MOVIES UNDER HIS BELT. A LOT OF TIMES THE FILM GETS LUMPED INTO BEING THOUGHT OF AS AN ACCIDENTALLY SUBVERSIVE EXPLOITATION FILM OR SOMETHING, BUT THAT’S JUST NOT TRUE. IT’S A LEGIT INDEPENDENT AND UTTER BRAINCHILD OF ITS DIRECTOR… ROBERT DOWNEY SENIOR! THAT’S RIGHT, HIS FATHERING R.D.J. WASN’T HIS ONLY GRAND CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY, HE ALSO MADE WONDERFULLY BONKERS SATIRES ON SHOESTRING BUDGETS. AND PUTNEY SWOPE IS BY FAR THE BEST OF THEM.

SURE, WITH THESE INDEPENDENT CONSTRAINTS AND THE PUBLIC BATTERY OF NEARLY EVERY SINGLE EXISTING PRINT, YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT INHERENTLY RECOGNIZE IT AS “GOOD” FILMMAKING. NO, THIS IS CAPITAL R-ROUGH CINEMA, BUT IT’S ALL PART OF THE PURE NECESSITY OF TRYING TO PULL OFF A FILM THAT’S AS BIG A CON AS THIS ONE. SERIOUSLY, THE ENTIRE THING JUST FEELS LIKE A GETAWAY OR SOMETHING. BUT REALLY THERE WAS JUST NO OTHER WAY TO MAKE THE FILM, WHICH MAKES THE ROUGH AND AGED QUALITIES ONLY SEEM ALL THE MORE APPROPRIATE. A SLICK AND POLISHED PRINT WOULD ONLY LESSEN THE IMPACT OF THE DANGEROUS FEELING THAT HANGS OVER THE WHOLE THING. THERE’S SO MANY SCENES IN THE MOVE WHERE THEY’RE BASICALLY RUNNING AROUND WREAKING HAVOC IN THE STREETS AND OFFICES, SO IT FULLY CREATES THIS REALISTIC / PRANKING TONE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE FILM’S CENTRAL MESSAGE ABOUT ADVERTISING AND ITS TREATMENT OF RACE WOULD FEEL WAY LESS “CORRECT” WITH A SLICK PRESENTATION.

PUTNEY SWOPE IS THE CINEMA OF DANGEROUS IDEAS.

IT FEATURES A SCRIPT THAT NOT ONLY DROP-DEAD FUNNY, BUT COMPLETELY AUDACIOUS FOR ITS TIME IN PLACE. FUCK, IT STILL FEELS AUDACIOUS TODAY, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT TAKES PLACE IN THAT SPECIAL CLIMATE BEFORE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WAS EVEN REALLY A CONCEPT. THE LANGUAGE, SEXUALITY, AND TRUE-FEELING OF SOUL SEEM ALMOST ALIEN TO OUR HOMOGENIZED AESTHETIC THESE DAYS. YUP, THIS IS GONZO, POINT-BLANK CULTURAL HONESTY. HULK THINKS IT FEELS MOST LIKE AN EPISODE OF SOUTH PARK, BUT WITH, YOU KNOW, AN ACTUAL VIEWPOINT. IT IS BRUTAL, UNFORGIVING, AND PLAYS RIGHT INTO EVERY FEAR THAT A CONSERVATIVE GOOD OLE BOY COULD POSSIBLY HAVE THEM UPPITY BLACK FOLK.

TO THEM, THE KNIFE OF PUTNEY SWOPE CUTS TO THE BONE.

THE FILM HAS GONE ON TO HAVE A REAL LASTING LEGACY, BOTH AS A CULT FILM AND A FAVORITE OF MANY FILMMAKERS (DON CHEADLE’S BUCK SWOPE IN BOOGIE NIGHTS IS A DIRECT REFERENCE TO IT… AS IS ROBERT DOWNEY SR. WHO PLAYS A BIT PART IN THE FILM). YET HULK SURPRISED HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE NEVER HEARD OF IT. HULK DOESN’T MEAN TO SOUND LIKE A SNOTTY INDIE-RECORD STORE CLERK WITH THAT STATEMENT, BUT HULK MORE MEAN THAT THE FILM IS TRULY SOMETHING THAT HAS TO BE SHARED.

SO IF YOU HAVEN’T EVER SEEN IT, THEN CHECK OUT PUTNEY SWOPE, OR AS HULK LIKES TO CALL IT:

THE GREATEST FUCK YOU MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

SERIOUSLY:

<3 HULK

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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