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Monday, July 8, 2013

Blogging the Hulu Plus Criterion Collection: Babo 73

Babo 73

And now for something completely different. This entry answers a question I never thought to ask. I love Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man but who is Robert Downey Senior? Turns out, a pretty funny guy. Babo 73 is a very short underground comedy shot a micro budget.

It's about the President Sandy Studsbury, his advisers Chester Kitty-Liter and Lawrence Silver-Sky and his secretary Phillipe Green. There's no plot to speak of. There are hardly any sets. When the cast isn't running around the real Washington DC he and the other characters are either at the beach or a rambling wreck of an old house. The jokes come one after the other. For starters Studsbury is president of the United Status. In the first scene they murder the ambassador of Luxemborg who threatens to "drain their gold." It doesn't make a whole lot of sense and the jokes are specific to the 1960s. There's the threat of nuclear war and the fight to desegregate schools. Studsbury isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer either. One adviser is rabidly right wing the other a weak and ineffectual liberal. There are a few F bombs which are rare for the 1960s.

There area few jokes that are really memorable. Phillipe Green is constantly shouting and later declares he's having a nervous breakdown. The interview with a white man who tried to enroll in a black college is unforgettable. The finale is something I laughed at despite myself. This looks just like a student film. The cameras were handheld and the stock was fast. The sound looks like it's non synch.

There's not much else to say. It has no plot. Honestly it starts to run out of steam pretty quickly. This would have been awesome as a short. Twenty minutes or less the energy and humor would have been outstanding. It runs a little less than an hour but honestly I found that to be too long.

If a director wants to see how things used to be done, on old 16mm fast stock, this a fun film to check out. Writers may find some of the jokes funny. But a lot of them are dated and the movie runs way too long. The important lesson here is don't overstay your welcome.

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