… And God Spoke (the making of …)
Not rated, 83 min. Directed by Arthur Borman. Starring Michael Riley, Stephen Rappaport, Soupy Sales, Eve Plumb, Lou Ferrigno, R. C. Bates.
A mock documentary about a producer and director of exploitation flicks who try to do a class adaptation of the Bible. Borman's behind-the-scenes spoof might be said to show the un-making of the film ...And God Spoke, since the production starts strong, with studio backing, a multi-million dollar budget, and promises of big stars in those burly Biblical roles. But as it goes, the thing keeps losing power, and by the end, the studio plug has not just been pulled but jerked from the movie, Jesus' birth has been shot in a cheap church Nativity scene, and it's Soupy Sales who's brought down God's commandments -- with a six-pack of refreshing Coca-Cola (It's a product placement thing.). Borman “captures” disaster after disaster on camera, doing for bad filmmakers what another faux documentary did for bad metal bands. It's nearly impossible to discuss this film without mentioning This Is Spinal Tap; Borman's satire shares that movie's tone, structure, and style. But to criticize this comedy for too closely resembling that one misses the point. A pratfall can still be funny even though Chaplin made them sublime. What's important isn't that the same gag is done but that it's done with skill and spirit. ...And God Spoke does its mockumentary thing with plenty of both. As the cheesy filmmaking team, Riley and Rappaport ooze ineptitude. You wouldn't trust 'em to give you four quarters for a dollar. And their boundless pretensions to genius are dead-on. The rest of the cast is equally adept at nailing the inflated personalities of the film biz, from studio exec to caterer (look for former “Funniest Person in Austin” Chris Bonno as a gaffer and ersatz apostle), and Austin cinematographer Lee Daniel merrily mimics the looks of shaky 16mm “talking head” films, Tinseltown epics, and dim, grainy sex 'n' slash pictures. It looks like the folks on this film really drew from experience, summoning up all the egoistic chuckleheads that have made their moviemaking lives hell. That sense of personal payback helps make ...And God Spoke a little bit of comedic heaven.
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