After Blue March, I wasn’t exactly sure where to go for the next B-Movie Enema. I mean where do you go after you’ve watched five consecutive pornos from the 70s and 80s? Who or what should I feature that could possibly make you feel a little less sleazy about watching pornos for your movie review site?
Then it hit me – Brad motherfuckin’ Jones.
Yup, the Cinema Snob himself. Shit, that guy has seen waaaaaay more porn that I have. He might even argue that his entire career is owed greatly to the golden age of porn. Jones has made a handful of movies over the years – either as a writer or director or both. I could have looked at several of his credits – the hilarious Jesus, Bro! or some of his smaller budget movies like Disco or Paranoia. Ultimately, there really is only one thing I could possibly choose, the 2012 origin film of his most popular character, The Cinema Snob Movie.
I don’t think anyone reading this blog would be surprised that I take a great amount of inspiration from Jones in my own writing. Honestly, it was entirely by accident. I came incredibly late to the game for The Cinema Snob series on YouTube. I was vaguely aware of him, as I was other Channel Awesome and That Guy with the Glasses alums like Linkara’s Atop the Fourth Wall.
When I first started this blog in 2014, and subsequently picked it back up in 2016, I was mostly inspired by James Rolfe (the Angry Video Game Nerd) as I had been for years prior when I used to write about comic books and general “geek” culture. Much like I’m sure people can see Jones’ influence on my writing, I’m fairly positive Rolfe’s inspiration comes through when I get a little more colorful in my frustration or anger over a truly bad movie. Additionally, I would also take great inspiration from the guys at RedLetterMedia as well.
It wasn’t long after the relaunch of this blog in 2016 I finally started digging into the extensive episode list of Snob episodes. My first impression was that I thought the character and the observations and riffs were hilarious and well thought out. My second impression was, “Oops. I’ve accidentally ripped off a very popular YouTube character without even realizing it.”
Whether or not you believe that, it truly was by complete accident. Besides, Snob sits in a chair in all black and talks to the audience through video. I, on the other hand, wear only a baby bonnet, a diaper, and oh so many piercings in my nipples and dick and talk to you via text.
Obviously, I’m joking. I only wear a cock ring when I write.
Frankly, I want to take a few minutes for a little hero worship before jumping into the movie. As a huge fan of irreverence (like, no duh, read most of the articles on this site), Jones’ style of comedy, in and out of his Craig Golightly/Cinema Snob character, is why I click on each and every one of his videos when I see one posted. I was glad that I got the opportunity to actually meet Brad Jones at Indy PopCon back in 2017. Yes, I was even that guy who wore a Snob shirt specifically for the occasion. He’s a good dude and very kind to his fans. There can be no bigger joy in meeting someone who you’re a big fan of and have that person turn out to be a really pretty nice person.
Funny story about that meeting, I purchased one of his Snob DVDs called Nudies, Rudies & Crudies. You guessed it, he’s reviewing sleaze and blue movies – again, we’re here the first week after I completed my own blue-themed month for a reason. Anyway, he signed it “To Geoff – Beware the twist ending!” I thought that was probably a good recurring joke or something important to one of the movies he reviewed. Just when I had kind of forgotten about that inscription, I got to the twist ending. Let’s say anyone who owns that DVD knows Brad Jones much more intimately than you did before watching it.
I chose to talk about this movie in particular because it’s getting a sequel soon. Another Cinema Snob Movie is on the way to the fans. Why not take a moment to talk about the first as a way to get ready for the new one? Speaking of the sequel, no joke, I just so happen to have a moment’s respite from my day job when the announcement and link to the IndieGoGo page for the new movie popped up on my screen. I immediately checked it out and threw some support its way. I’m honored to say that I happen to be Backer #1 of the IndieGoGo campaign for Another Cinema Snob Movie, thank you very much!
(Yes, as I typed that last sentence, I was hearing it in a Snob-style voice.)
As the movie begins, we see Craig Golightly (the actual alter ego of The Cinema Snob) doing his best impression of every guy you don’t make eye contact with on the street who also is the type that mothers would tell you to not bother. But, in truth, he’s actually waiting for Dan Phillips (played by director Ryan Mitchelle). Phillips helps fund movies by local filmmakers, and Craig feels like he has a winner – Black Angus. It’s a blaxploitation revenge flick about a badass who is a combination of Truck Turner, Tony Manaro, and Fred Williamson, and it’s a movie I would desperately like to watch. Can I watch that movie?
Phillips is not interested in helping Craig. He basically gives the advice of making a snobbish movie of a certain art quality. Not only that, but Phillips remembers Craig from a previous pitch about a casino that gets flooded and invaded by sharks – Card Sharks.
Fuck… I want to watch that too!
Craig talks with his friend and collaborator, Neil (Jake Norvell), who suggests trying to find the exact form of exploitation flick that will appeal to Phillips. Neil, still trying to figure out how to get the money for Black Angus, or Card Sharks, or another flick they ramble off the top of their heads called Welcome Back Cutter (trust me, that one also sounds awesome), initially comes to the conclusion that they should just make an art flick much to Craig’s dismay.
But then inspiration strikes Neil – they need to go see Gene (Noah Antwiler). Gene’s got lots of money – “like, Reese’s Pieces rich.” He can help them get the money needed for locations and so forth for Black Angus to get made. Gene, being an affable dude, he’s down for helping them out. However, he asks a very important question. One that might be a huge blocker to make Black Angus… Do Craig and Neil even know any black people?
As it turns out, they don’t, but Gene does. They meet Vladimir Jackson – basically the only black actor in town…? I dunno. They finagle it and get him on board. Gene also comes through with a location to shoot the roller derby rink for the disco scenes. Gene comes across as a bit of a savior.
Problems soon arise when Vladimir has to ask for time off from his theater job. His boss turns out to be none other than Dan Phillips. Phillips conspires to give Vladimir a better role in a dicey, reverse race version of Black Beauty. He also tells Craig and Neil that they will not be able to get their permits because all requests need to go through the film commission that he basically controls. Again, they turn to Gene, but he’s not as much help this time around. He once butted heads with the commission but it turned out that they got their revenge by sending his sister to a porno audition.
Using the movie Soul Man as inspiration, while incredibly drunk, mind you, eventually the idea comes up for Craig to infiltrate the film commission as a snobby film expert. He’ll tell them that they are making a movie about the plight of an African American in a small town with the thought that the commission wouldn’t want to look racist, so they would have to give them the permits.
So now, the plan is in motion to infiltrate the film snob group. They just have to figure out the character Craig will play. He runs through several various critics like Roger Ebert, Rex Reed, Leonard Maltin, and even Gene Siskel (funny enough, he uses a bald cap to illustrate he should try the Siskel look when now, well… Brad Jones shaves his head clean). Then, suddenly, it hits Craig like a bolt from the heavens…
That is immediately shut down by Neil. So, Craig remembers a time when he went and saw a screening of Monkey Shines with George Romero in attendance at the Art Institute of Chicago. He remembers a guy who made an insanely over-thought comment to Romero about the relationship between the guy and the monkey and evolution and all sorts of shit that got laughed off by Romero. The man was wearing a black suit with a black shirt, slicked back hair, and “Jeffrey Dahmer glasses”. After a shave and a haircut, the Cinema Snob, aka Vincent Dawn, aka Craig Golightly, aka Brad Jones, is born…
“Vincent” begins mingling with the various other snobs. He struggles at first when references are made to non-exploitation filmmakers. Luckily, when he gives his name, no one really knows he is using a pseudonym of Italian filmmaker, and schlock master, Bruno Mattei. Vincent also meets Nancy (Jillian Zurawski) who seems a bit too cool for this school, but claims she is only there for obligations. The group watches Being John Malkovich – which they have watched and discussed multiple times over.
The following week, it’s Vincent’s turn to bring a movie. He decides to push what envelope he can for these snobby jerkoffs. So what movie does he decide to bring? Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. This is a movie about fascists in World War II Italy subjugating adolescent boys and girls to all sorts of torture – some of it sexual, some of it worse. Even through all the shit eating scenes and degradation, the group loves it. Vincent is brought before the group to give a rousing discussion of how eating shit is not much different than eating the highly processed foods from a fast food joint. He’s fully accepted in the group
However, Nancy is dubious of Vincent. She knows the name he’s using is one of Bruno Mattei’s. We learn that Nancy is cut from mostly the same cloth as Craig, but she is also Dan’s wife. So it appears Dan has two things Craig wants – doze permits and dat aaaaaaasss.
The movie takes on a new angle. Where the first half of the movie was mostly a comedy about a couple guys wanting to make an exploitation flick, we now enter into the giallo stage. One of the film buffs, Arch (David Gobble), was killed after coming home from the Salò viewing. Two cops question Craig about the murder, but Nancy comes to save him. She tells Craig that she’s actually kind of excited that the group has something else for once to talk about.
Craig and Nancy chat over drinks and get to know each other. In fact, she actually admits that she’s kind of into him considering they are both exploitation people. All the happiness around new love discovered soon evaporates when another member of the film club is killed shortly after peeping on a neighbor by having his flip phone shoved in his eye. Meanwhile, Dan confronts Nancy when she comes home drunk, suspicious of her extra-curricular activities.
Craig talks to Neil about the killings. Neil basically says he should treat each meeting like Russian Roulette and he’ll eventually get those permits they need to film Black Angus. The cops show up to talk to him and reveal they know he’s put on a fake name, but even more important, the two dead guys are connected to Candy, another member of the group. Candy was married to Derek (the second person killed) and was screwing around with Arch. In fact, she was the last person to see Arch alive, and on the phone with Derek when he was killed. But because she was the last person on the phone with the second victim, Candy is ruled out as a suspect.
With two prominent members dead, and a third killed off screen, Nancy and Craig go to speak to two of the lesser known members. One of which is killed right in front of them with an arrow. So, there’s nothing better to do than to go back to Craig’s place and fuuuuuck.
Yet another member of the club is murdered. Neil talks to Craig and Nancy about wanting to follow them around and do a documentary about the killings – maybe even hopefully catching a couple of the slashings. Basically do a two-for-one with Black Angus, but it is shot down for essentially being a snuff film. At the film club, Dan grills Vincent about who he is… Oh and all that business about hanging out with his wife. I mean, jeez… Who knows what the conversation would be like if he saw that scene in which they were fucking.
Craig reveals himself to Dan to come clean and explain why he infiltrated the group. They end up making friends, despite the fact that Craig is, you know… Playing sexy time games with his wife. After the meeting, Dan goes to talk to someone about permits, but is suffocated to death. Later, Nancy goes to see Craig to talk about leaving Dan. The cops arrest her for the murder of the members of the film club – including the recently killed Dan. Neil isn’t so sympathetic about Nancy’s arrest. Craig calls Gene who hopefully can help them get some dirt from the cops.
Vladimir Jackson returns as well. Because Dan is dead, Vladimir doesn’t have a job anymore. He asks Neil if they are still making Black Angus. Basically, Neil convinces Vladimir that he IS Black Angus and recruits him to help solve the murder mystery. At the meeting place for the film group, Craig talks to the only member not dead or in jail, Chester, a guy who prefers movies with Jesus Christ doing sex stuff. Craig gives him some encouraging words before leaving.
When he gets home, Craig gets a call from the killer using a scary voice machine thing. The killer has Nancy hostage and demands $26,000 for her life. Elsewhere, Neil and “Black Angus” search Nancy’s place and ultimately end up interrogating the neighbor that the second victim was peeping on by inexplicably waterboarding her like a fucking pimp collecting his bitch’s money. Craig calls Neil and Angus to lend a hand, and he soon discovers one of the cops dead and where Nancy is being held, but is knocked out by the killer.
When Craig comes to, he’s learns that one of the cops, Detective Adams, is the man behind the murders. He finds out that Adams was let go from the police force some time ago. The other cop wasn’t really a cop either, but just doing Adams a favor. He also learns that Adams’ father was a failed exploitation filmmaker. The movie his father made was poorly reviewed and ruined his career to the point he killed himself. So Adams holds cinema snobs accountable for it all. This leads to a well written exchange between Adams and Craig about box office vs. quality and how the general population is just dumb enough to make trash massive hits.
Black Angus busts in to almost save the day. He gets shot in the arm that gives Craig the opportunity to free himself, grab one of the machine guns that Black Angus brought with him, and chases Adams outside. He coaxes him out of hiding by ripping on his father’s movie. When Adams reveals himself, Craig instinctively fires the machine gun killing Adams. Craig’s heroic turn ends with him meekly saying, “I… just killed a man…”
Neil is ready to start filming Black Angus. Craig isn’t so sure if any of what they went through will be worth it, but he’s kind of keen playing a jerkish, pretentious film critic after all. Maybe there’s a platform he could be a Snob about Cinema on for a weekly program. Moreover, he’s won the girl… at least for now.
But that’s a story for another time.
If you’re a fan of Brad Jones and his Cinema Snob character, this is a good mix of his character and his exploitation sensibilities. A bunch of his friends you’ve seen on Jones’ real review show, Midnight Screenings (as well as his other productions) can be found here too. I have mentioned it before with other movies like Amazon Hot Box and Space Babes from Outer Space that you know exactly what the filmmakers were going for in terms of mood and inspiration, and feel pretty damn happy about what they accomplished at the end.
It’s clear Jones was tipping his hat to the kind of comedies about making movies that were fairly common back in the 70s, 80s, and, to a certain extent, 90s, but he put his own exploitation spin on some of the characters for the first half of the movie. For the second half, you can definitely tell he borrowed from giallo sensibilities for the murder mystery part. What ties the two distinct styles together into one whole movie is a script that is really for the fans of his show. There are a bunch of references about other movies either used to explain what the characters are dealing with or to help sell a joke (particularly during the Salò screening), but that’s a writing style that comes directly from the weekly Cinema Snob series. That said, this is something I’d definitely recommend to any fan of the series. If you haven’t watched any episodes before on YouTube, then I’d probably recommend doing so from various years or “eras” of the series to get a baseline before checking out the movie.
Alright… So it looks like I’ve come to the conclusion of this week’s piece. Next week, I’m gonna try something new. This week marks my 157th B-Movie Enema article. Not once in all those movies have I talked about a anthology movie. Well, that changes with the 158th B-Movie Enema. Join me next time for 1985’s Night Train to Terror!