Enough With The Fooling! By Clifton Howard. In Cashiers du Cinemart #7, Mike White wrote a mock review of his latest effort, You're Still Not Fooling Anybody...
In Cashiers du Cinemart #7, Mike White wrote a mock review of his latest effort, You're Still Not Fooling Anybody. I'm very saddened to say that the sentiment he falsely expressed was very real to me as I watched this unneeded sequel to his ground-breaking 1994 video Who Do You Think You're Fooling.
YSNFA is a case of "too little too late." Back when I interviewed Mike in Cashiers #3 (during the golden Mike Barnett-era of the zine), I asked him if he was going to do a piece on Pulp Fiction. His reply was "No, that isn't my job and Pulp Fiction takes its inspiration from a lot of sources, at least, as far as I know. And, most of the references are passing like that Bonnie is a black nurse, just like Pam Grier in Coffy. Unless I turn on the TV late at night and see a story about two hitmen going after a briefcase, a twist contest, a couple of hill-billy anal sex enthusiasts, and a diner robbery done exactly the same, shot for shot, then I won't have any complaints."
So, what changed his mind?
YSNFA doesn't feature any of the above Pulp Fiction antics. Instead, it focuses on only five, smaller bits; a line here and an idea there. Truth be told, there's nothing of any great significance here - no great revelation like there was in Who Do You Think You're Fooling. Even the most naive cinema-goer is aware that Pulp Fiction's glowing briefcase is a reference to the noir classic, Kiss Me Deadly (or maybe it was KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park's glowing talisman-case). And, thus the impact of White's original is missing from this half-hearted sequel.
I think the entire project was flawed from the beginning. When White first told me about it I thought that the concept was pretty shaky but, with his immense talent, he might be able to pull it off.
No luck. It comes off like the bullshit criticisms that people had for White's original; you would think he would have realized this. The sequel feels like a vendetta with White coming across as a nut with an axe to grind.
I think the only way that YSNFA would have worked is if White had had more references. Then he could have banged them out in quick succession with an overwhelming amount of plagiarism. But a scant five things makes it seem like a pathetic attempt to make Tarantino look bad; which it does, but it makes White look even worse.
Even on a technical level, I had problems with YSNFA. It was done in what White calls the process "Plagiarvision"--a nearly clever name for a simple split screen with over-lapping dialogue. It's really kind of confusing, like those arguments Bruce Willis and Cybill Sheppard had in Moonlighting, each trying to talk over one another with the audience unable to understand a word.
Someone take the car keys away from this drunk - he's not only going to hurt himself, but others as well. I'm rather dismayed that he included a couple of "thank-yous" at the end of this. I cringed when I read the names, thinking that, if I were them, I wouldn't want to be associated with this doomed project!
As long as White just sticks this little ego-trip at the end of his video copies of Who Do You Think You're Fooling then no one should get hurt. But, then again, I'm not even sure about that!
I'm hoping that this review might make Mike thing twice before sending this thing off to festivals and humiliating himself; "Hey, remember me? I was in all the QT bios, well, I'm back!" YSNFA might get some play but if it does, White will be branded a kook forever. Just doing WDYTYF and letting it stand alone would have made for a nice little back-story to any write-ups he might get in the future: I think White has quite a career ahead of him, if only he can put Tarantino behind him and start doing original projects. If this thing gets heavy circulation, however, White will forever be "the kid who whines about Quentin Tarantino."
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