WARNING: This liveblog is rated R for unsavory moments, violence, and WTFery that is never seen or heard of before. Viewer discretion is advised.
Hello, fellow livebloggers and readers!
...wow. I can't believe that I made The Series That Shall Not be Named alive. And, you know, I'm going to miss my friends. Maybe one day...
Ahem! From the batshit insane mind that brought you ten different titles comes...a weird-ass film from Macedonia that tries so damn hard to be artsy, and comes so far; but in the end, it doesn't really matter, as it comes off as ridiculously pretentious. So much so, in fact, that it would leave Hideaki Anno laughing his ass off and even Stephenie Meyer rolling her eyes.
Does it mean that the film we're about to see is good? Or bad? Well...at the end, you make the call. And yes, this film was covered by Kyle Kallgren before—once when he livetweeted (yes, it's a thing), and another time on an episode of Brows Held High. I will try to make my liveblog different, i.e. not ripping him off, however, as it'll be my thoughts, and mine alone.
The film we're going to see? The 1999 film Goodbye, 20th Century!. A harrowing tale of war, stories that come across time (literally), and...questionable shit.
And in the liveblog, I'll review...around either fifteen minutes or close to that (i.e. at the end of a scene) for each part. It may be lengthy or not, we'll have to see. But I will say that there are three stories to this thing.
Be prepared to question your humanity, kids, because...it all begins now.
We begin with some credits. Fun fact? This film was actually supported by the Ministry of Culture in Macedonia. And yes, it was a what-would-have-been nominee for the Academy Awards. Three guesses as to how it all turned out, and the first two do not count.
...I don't know which is worse: the film being supported by the Ministry of Culture in Macedonia, or the time where a former Minister of Culture (in Slovakia, no less!) played a character in Hostel: Part II. (Yes, that did happen.)
After the credits, we get a quote from Genesis.
- "So the Almighty Lord said, with all of His rage: 'I will destroy all evil hearts. Human and beast and creeping things and birds on the sky, for I am sorry that I have created them.'"
I bet you're wondering, "why the fuck is this quote here? This is not The Series That Shall Not be Named!" Believe it or not—and yes, I kinda-sorta do know since I have read Kyle's livetweets and watched the episode—it's somewhat relevant. But I will not spoil it for you.
So we fade into a desolate land, where the trees do not grow. Where there is sand, miles of sand. The words "Macedonia, The Balkans, Year 2019" show up, revealing the time period for this first story in the film.
...how much do you want to bet that there's no way in hell that Macedonia will look like a wasteland by 2019?
But genre-savviness of the time period and how it all turns out vs. what's shown here aside, it's also revealed that only the animals survived. And no, we do not get a cutesy, Disney-styled (or Dreamworks-styled, whatever suits your fancy) story with talking animals surviving an Inferred Apocalypse. Though, I bet some of you may think that this may be a better story.
After we get a view of the torn Macedonian flag, cut to a group of people walking. A...kinda-catchy drum beats as the characters walk, the bad guy leading the pack, and we get the rest of the credits and, yes, the title.
One of the henchmen makes a strange call, and the bad guy—who, I should note, is bare-chested, wearing a cross around his neck (prepare to see a shitload more symbolism in this film, guys, it's one of those movies), and holding a pretty badass scepter of sorts (that also has a cross!)—pauses as he looks at his henchmen on a cliff. Then he walks, and with him, aside from some more of his henchmen, is a long-haired, white-clad hero.
Macedonian Tommy Oliver?
Nah, if so, he'd have spiky hair, a goatee, and semi-obligatory tattoos that he covers with long sweatshirts.
The group climbs over mountains, and by the way, we get a shitload of angled camera shots. I'm...hoping that it doesn't also lead to using different colors for the backdrop. Admittedly, unlike Battlefield Earth, it actually doesn't go overboard with the angled shots, as we do see scenes from time to time where it isn't angled.
The hero pauses when he hears a noise, and yep, they're still going. And no, I'm not going to bother keeping track of how long they're going for. As it goes on, the soundtrack becomes more and more disoriented as the group finally reaches their destination.
Which is, apparentally, a makeshift cross at the top of the mountain.
THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS YOU!
The bad guys stare at the cross in silence, especially their leader. So, I'm guessing that he kicks ass for the Lord?
(is booed for the over-referenced mentions)
Oh, come on, you know it's true!
Two women come across the leader, and he wears...a scarf of some sort. Yes, it also has crosses. And yes, he is kneeling down, arms wide open. And yes, it is futile to make a drinking game out of the SYMBOLISM, for the sheer number of Christianity references and crosses will get you stone-cold hammered in no time at all.
...aaaaand the women are pouring salt or something into his hands. And the salt falls to the ground. Um...huh?
Oh, and it's interspersed with the hero giving one of the lackeys a cigarette, I guess, and making small talk with him. And yes, he's blindfolded. He mentions about how hot it is, and then, as soon as the leader makes the Sign of the Cross, the...ritual, I guess, ends.
Another lackey, I'll name him "Joe", states how there was a tree last year. One of the women warriors, who I'd imagine to either be the Dragon or Dark Chick—and I'll name her "Crysta", takes Joe by the head and tells him that they made a deal...okay, asks what their deal is with the trees. The answer?
Crysta states to Joe that he isn't the only one who misses those trees. She likes the trees, too, but due to the Inferred Apocalypse, they're gone. Joe says that there will be no more trees—ever.
Keep those scenes in mind, they may come in handy later.
And then it seems that the ritual isn't over yet, for after the leader strikes the ground with...something, he starts reciting the Lord's Prayer. And it seems that the hero is mocking the evil leader in front of a little girl holding a parasol. D'aww, cute kid.
Then one of the lackeys shoots his own. Bwuh? Of course, like any other person who...is now apparentally fine, as the shot actually missed, the man tries to kick the shooter's ass. Okay...
Another lackey gives the hero a lighter. I would go on and make a reference to Bad Meets Evil's "Lighters", but we do get a shot of the Virgin Mary. Okay, several shots as it goes back and forth between that and the lighter. And she's crying blood. Um...
The hero walks over to the villain, bowing in front of him and kissing his hand. He then goes on about, with the passion turned into fire, he lights the holy...brothel? Wait, what? Why brothel? Well, you'll see in a few minutes.
Make that a few seconds, for the white-clad hero states that he's lighting the holy brothel while the whole world lies in confusion like a naked whore. Weirdest. Disimile. Ever. And then he becomes impassioned! And fuck it, I'll give out the name of the hero: Kuzman.
- Kuzman: "And inside me burns a passion of Gods, a suicidal impulse! The Cosmos is inside me! My seed creates planets!"
...A God Am I much, buddy?
Then, as the lackeys prepare their guns, Kuzman walks over to the girl with the parasol, stating that it's the way he is...blessed by eternity. And some nonsense as he goes on about how he'll leave them behind in dust and oblivion. More like mental scarring and confusion, dude, with the way you unleashed so much WTF and TMI. And give her the parasol back, dude.
And then he uses the parasol, imitating the guns. Complete with a "pew pew"-esque sound effect. What.
He opens the parasol, and the bad guy halts the lackeys. And yes, the girl walks away without getting it back. Awww...
We see a grave. A grave that is meant for him. Kuzman states about how it's a hot day to die, and he faces the execution squad, who are most likely wondering why the hell he's rambling on like that.
Then the girl hugs him, looking up. Aww. He shakes his head "no", and the girl still holds on. Is she his daughter? Or is she the leader's daughter, looking for the good in everyone? We don't know, but what we do know is that one of the women retrieves the girl.
The leader announces, "Blood for blood!", and then after Kuzman flourishes the parasol...the execution squad shoots him. In one ridiculous sequence, flailing around over-dramatically, losing the fucking parasol, and some gore splattering out.
...perhaps I was being hard on Kuzman being over-the-top. Or maybe I'm not.
Kuzman falls to the ground, apparentally dead. One more cut to the crying Virgin Mary later, the villains look at him and confirm that, yes, he's gone. With the two women carrying masks of...faces that look almost exactly like themselves...and...mourning.
...my God! This is fucking creepy, like beyond-Uncanny Valley creepy! Why the fuck would they use hand-masks to mourn? To make it seem that there are far more mourners? Isn't the execution squad and the kid enough?
Oh, wait, wait. Kuzman is still alive! And the women react exactly in the way you'd expect them to react. And the execution squad also react in the way you'd expect...kind of, if "what in the living fuck?" is your guess.
The leader, pissed off that Kuzman is not dead, gets out a gun and shoots him. Some blood spatters onto one of the women, leading to the other laughing like a bitch. How is that even funny, dare I ask?
Then the women...kinda-sorta mourn again. I say that because they're doing it rushed and half-assed. To the point where the leader thinks about killing them. But, hey, Kuzman's still alive again.
As punishment, the leader shoots one of his lackeys, killing him instead. Um...wha? Isn't one of the Ten Commandments "thou shalt not kill"? Especially your own lackeys?
(And why do I mention this now and not when they're executing Kuzman? Well, there's a reason for it.)
Then everyone (but the women, obviously) gets into the trigger-happy mood and shoot the everloving shit out of Kuzman, making sure that overkill is the right kind of kill! This feels less of an artistic movie and more of a ridiculously over-the-top action flick. Eventually, they stop...and Kuzman wakes up, alive again.
Which gets me to wondering. How in the hell did he survive that? A likely gun to the head, and then overkill. Just...hm?
Turns out that Kuzman is cursed, for death will not take him. Why is he immortal? Why does he keep regenerating after even overkill does it to him? Well, we do not know, for the leader warns him that if he sees them again, he must run away fast. Should he return, they will bring evil upon him, for they will burn his house and kill him.
That's kinda a shitty warning. In fact, didn't they capture Kuzman? Why would they warn him to run away the next time he sees them? And why would you give him another warning that you'll kill him when shooting him clearly doesn't work? After all, Failure is the Only Option when it comes to killing him...they would think to keep him and find other ways to execute him, presumably something that does not involve machine guns, but...
Oh. We'll end our installment with one final, cryptic piece of information.
- Leader: "And if you want to see her again—sure, you can...as a dead man only!"
After that, the group disbands, with a lackey pretty much telling him that he's on his own. And Kuzman prepares to leave, but he pretty much changes his mind and sits. For a while.
So ends Part 1. Who is the woman that Kuzman will see again if he's dead? What is the secret to his immortality? And will we ever get an explanation to how the apocalypse came to be?
Find out next time on the liveblogging of Goodbye, 20th Century!