At The Movies With FALnet

The Pauly Shore Is Dead Premiere

Director: Pauly Shore
Starring: Pauly Shore, Ashley L. Anderson, Todd Bridges...
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1 Tom Hanks

by Tom Working

Let me make this perfectly clear: I haven't ever cared about Pauly Shore's career, connections who he knows or who he blows. I tolerated him back in the early 90's but that's not saying much -- MTV and "established" hip youth culture was on my periphery; I'd come up to speed when I could. Still, I admit to knowing who "Downtown Julie Brown" (of "Wubba Wubba" fame)was at the height of her popularity and even the later Famine Circus that was the rail thin Jesse. Yes, I was not aggressive in certain facets of my pop culture diet but it all got consumed eventually, and much of it spit back out in my comicstrips of the time.

To understand why last night I found myself at 8:10pm sucking down overpriced "kegger cups" of Sierra Nevada in the Crest lobby, we must rewind to saturday night of last week. It was this evening that I Can't Believe It's Not Comedy's Keith whatshisface thrust a flyer notifying me that Pauly Shore was back with an "indie" film, after a sabbatical from the face of the earth.

Keith, who is a funny human being, perplexed me. Why was he hocking this Shore flick? Was it Harry Knowles' quote on the flyer suggesting that "Pauly Shore Is Dead" is "A GREAT FLICK!"?

No. Of course not. Any thinking person would immediately recognize anything Knowles said of a film as being a ringing indictment. The large man gets excited by things too easily for his opinion to be taken. Seriously or otherwise.

I got the sense that Keith needed the money. That, and his I Can't Believe It Doesn't Have A Longer Name Than This comedy troupe would benefit in some way. The first few times I met Keith, he made me very nervous. It was later that a mutual friend explained to me that Keith was in fact looking at my wallet and sizing up his pickpocketing chances with me, not... well, not what I thought.

About midweek, my boss won't shut up about the film premiere of Pauly Shore Is Dead. He kept bringing it up at every opportunity. This, more than anything, contributed to my attendance. Friday night and I lay on my bed in my studio apartment at 6:30pm. Alone. Again. A whirl of recollections from the day and this last week floated through my mind as I negotiated the garden burger I'd decided to try consuming in a completely horizontal posture. Again and again my boss' disembodied head kept floating over me, repeating, "Going to the premiere of that Pauly Shore movie?"

"It's playing at the Crest on friday."

"Going to it?"

"Are you going?"

"Pauly Shore will be there."

"It's playing at the Crest -- limited engagement!"

I finally pleaded with the Obi Wanesque apparition.

"If I go, will you leave me alone and not ever come back?"

"Sure. Did I mention Pauly Shore will be there?"

Several phone calls later and I was out the door, on my way to the gala event of the... month. No one I knew was available to go. About halfway into it, I was kind of glad I went alone. "Pauly Shore Is Dead" was a big ol' stupid sandwich with a side of thought. It wasn't the typical Pauly Shore movie (I base this opinion from my accidental viewings of Biodome and Encino Man and his VJ stint on MTV) but that doesn't mean good either. There were so many cameos that Pauly Shore was unable to miss with every single one. Like shooting film in a barrel he was.

In his opening dialogue with the audience, Mister Shore asked us if we like "dark comedy" and "black humor". I distinctly recall the call of a "Fuck YEAH!" from somewhere in the theater. "Fuck YEAH!" is the way you respond to the next round in a wet sweater contest. It's what's said when your favorite Sepultura song plays on the radio. It's what mulleted midwesterners exclaim in the height of passion. All these things, but NEVER in response to, "Do you guys like dark comedy? Want some black humor?"

The film was pretty much everyone as themselves, except for Clint "Balok" Howard, who played Shore's accountant. We had Todd Bridges as the surrogate Denzel Washington ala "The Hurricane", interspered out-of-nowhere soundbites from the likes of Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Ellen DeGeneres, and the ghost of the late great comedian Sam Kinison. A whole galaxy of stars, a stargasm if you will, provided the tapestry for the Hollywood milieu that was Shore's first writer/director/actor effort.

The Hilton Sisters were in it too. Did I mention that already?

I had no clue what to expect when going into this film and I have no clue what to expect next from Pauly Shore. Shore didn't seem to want to leave "The Weasel" behind, in the film or in person. With a title as pseudo provocative as "Pauly Shore is Dead" I thought there would be some heavy grappling with what it is to be a sensation that's fading way in the public eye. I thought there would be some biting satire on the insides of Hollywood. Almost. Enough for me to want to see what's next and hope that Shore considers other co-writers. His directing wasn't bad.

It should be noted here that I have never professionally directed a motion picture so I have no business critiquing directing.

I think Shore should release "Dah Weaze" onto a nature preserve and kindly part ways. This could be a step in a better direction for him. We'll see. The one attention grabber of the evening was Shore's strong connection with Sam Kinison and the handful of words he shed on the subject. It struck me that Pauly Shore might have a unique insight into Kinison that could become a biography, in word or in film.

copyright 2008