J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Moonwalkers: Idiots Will Believe It

Conspiracy theory nutters have widely cited the French film Dark Side of the Moon for supposedly exposing the “Moon Landing Hoax.” The problem is William Karel’s ostensive expose is actually a mockumentary poking fun at the very same tone deaf loons taking it for Gospel. Therefore, it would not be surprising if the same anti-social paranoids conclude this silly, somewhat slapstick farce is also a defiant act of Trufe-telling. Break out your tinfoil hat, because Antoine Bardou-Jacquet’s Moonwalkers (trailer here) opens this Friday in Los Angeles.

As the wackos heard throughout Room 237 make abundantly clear, there are people out there who really think Stanley Kubrick dummied-up the Moon Landing footage for the CIA, which makes no sense if you know anything about his iconoclastic aversion to ideology and bureaucracy. Nevertheless, CIA agent Tom Kidman has been ordered to recruit Kubrick to produce said video, just in case. In point of fact, it is indeed true some projections gave the Apollo 11 astronauts only a 30% chance of survival.

Of course, through what is meant to be a comedic chain of events, Kidman is forced to really on Jonny, a nebbish would-be rock band manager and the band of hippy dippy experimental filmmakers he sometimes does drugs with. Jonny also happens to be deeply in debt to a London loan shark, who tried to collect from Kidman’s briefcase full of cash. Of course Kidman had different ideas, resulting in several dead thugs and a whole lot of bruised underworld egos. Further complicating matters, a platoon of Langley Boy Scouts arrive just as the PTSD-suffering Kidman starts to go native.

There is way more blood in Moonwalkers than you would expect in a silly mash-up, which might be the best thing to say about it. As usual, Ron Perlman is seriously bad and drily funny as Kidman, even with all the tie-dyed bedlam going on around him. Maybe you have to have nostalgia for the Harry Potter franchise to get Rupert Grint. Otherwise, his Jonny just comes across as an annoyingly pathetic drip. Robert Sheehan and Tom Audenaert deliver shtick and more shtick as Jonny’s hippy filmmaker pals. At least Erika Sainte generates some heat with Perlman as the counter-culture vamp, Ella.

Buzz Aldrin would probably like to give screenwriter Dean Craig a knuckle sandwich and who could blame him? It takes one of the most triumphant moments in American (and human) history and reduces it to sex and drug jokes. They could have at least been funnier. Yet perhaps most problematically, Craig and Bardou-Jacquet openly invite the audience to cheer with bloodlust for the third act deaths of all the CIA agents not named Kidman. Frankly, both the astronauts and CIA agents who have sacrificed their lives for this country deserve more respect. Not recommended, Moonwalkers opens this Friday (1/15) at the Laemmle theaters in Los Angeles.

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