Monday, June 22, 2015
TERMINAL USA (1993)
Back in the 90's pretty much everything made by Hollywood was a waste of time so I became obsessed with the works of underground filmmakers like Nick Zedd, Richard Kern and the whole Cinema of Transgression movement. Back then I did see the name Jon Moritsugu pop up in zines here and there but outside of a couple of shorts I somehow avoided seeing any of his stuff. Thanks to a recent retrospective put on here in New York I was able to catch a couple of his strange, punk-rock fueled masterpieces with a theater full of art-cinema weirdos and other assorted oddballs.
TERMINAL USA is a bizarre mix of Nick Zedd and John Waters told from the Asian-American perspective with a heavy emphasis on punk-nihilism. It tells the tale of a not-very typical Japanese-American family made up of two sons(both played by Moritsugu himself) one a drug-dealing "Live Fast Die Young", Sid Vicious-wannabe-sorta fella and the other a bookish nerd who masturbates by humping his rocking horse while perusing gay skinhead porn. There's also the slutty-cheerleader daughter who gives head to visitors in the bathroom, impotent dad, crazy mom and comatose grandpa whose life is constantly being threatened. Besides the Asian-stereotypes other stereotypical characters show up and get mocked including skinheads, jocks and a lawyer who runs a kiddie-porn ring. The dialogue is great and hilarious, which it kinda has to be in a film with a very low-budget, it all has that same kinda shock-value comedic effect that the classic John Waters movies have and everything ends in an insane sci-fi twist that you will not see coming.
I'm really glad I got woken up to the West Coast transgression master and will be seeking out whatever else is out there from Mr. Moritsugu. His greatest feat, to me, is that this film was somehow funded by PBS which boggles my mind that it played on Public Television Stations at some point because even in a censored form I can see this rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.
"Live Stupid, Die Dumb!":