Month: May 2007

God’s Angry Man (1980), Werner Herzog, B

This may surprise you, but I actually do have respect for televangelists. I certainly have respect for L. Ron Hubbard. I mean, if I had the cojones to do so (and didn’t have other aspirations) I would totally get in the religion game. It’s like shooting fish in a barrell. In a way, it is a wonder there aren’t more of them out there. Dr. Gene Scott (now deceased) was one of the most fantastic scuzzballs we ever had on our airwaves. He’d actually yell at his audience and browbeat them (all mostly old and sick, I’m sure) into sending him money. In interviews with Herzog we see that he actually is a smart guy — but he isn’t super slick. He’s pensive. I think, at heart, he knows he’s a douche, but he can’t walk away from the pulpit now. . .he’s got too much responsibility and he’s in trouble with the IRS. Shooting fish in a barrell? Try not to feel superior during shots of Scott’s work associates. Oy...

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Huie’s Sermon (1980), Werner Herzog, A-

Wow! Screened on crumbling 16mm at Film Forum today, Herzog’s “from the point of view of the spaceship” verite doc of a frothing African-American preacher blazing nonstop for 45 minutes. I wasn’t counting, but it felt like there were maybe five cuts in the whole piece. Rev. Huie starts fierce and ends positively shreiking — hyperventalating about the power of Gawad! the beauty of the Suwun! and the wickedness of Traaaanssexuals! (The few shots of the neighboring ghetto at its nadir of economic crisis leads me to think there were better topics to rail about, but you aren’t gonna see me interrupting this guy.) Best are the moments when he sticks his hand out and somebody hands him some toilet paper to mop up his sweat. A wonderful...

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A Matter of Honor, TNG 2

Pictured above: Gagh (pronounced Gokhkhkhk) which, we learn, is best when served live. Okay, NOW we’re getting somewhere. Riker on an “exchange program” with the Klingons. Holy crap! The Klingons are nuts! But kinda fun. But they are attacking the Enterprise! How will Riker outsmart the Klingons but still save everyone’s honor? And what about the blue dude, Mordoc, who is just like that other blue dude Wesley met when he bombed out at the academy? Is he evil, or just a putz? This episode zips by —...

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Unnatural Selection, TNG 2

I don’t mean to sound cruel, but did anyone *ask* to see an aged version of Dr. Pulaski? This episode is kinda cool for one reason – we see something fail. The cats on Trek are always making daring attempts to do something, never mind the odds. I can put the antimatter in the warp core chamber, but there’s a chance it could evaporate us all! And it never does. This time, Dr. Pulaski takes a risk and she gets screwed. Neat. What’s not neat is that, it would appear, the Federation is cool with eugenics studies being done on Darwin Station on Gagarin IV. What’s up with that?! Normally the Federation is on the right side of all ethical situations. Anyway, this is kind’ve a bozo...

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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (a/k/a Every Man For Himself and God Against All) (1974), Werner Herzog, B+

I thought this was going to be a like a “Wild Child” or, heaven help us, “Nell,” but it is more like “The Elephant Man” or even “Being There.” A young man raised in a box is thrust into society. Needless to say, he sees things a little off. There’s comedy and there’s tragedy. And it’s a true story! I won’t lie to you, it starts out a little boring. But once it gets rolling, especially with the great Bruno S. in the lead, it is pretty stinkin’...

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Max’s Hot Dogs, Long Branch, New Jersey

Every beach community worth its salt has a place like this. It’s been around since the year of the flood, specializes in just one thing and has signed photos on the wall of half the cast of Barney Miller. Max’s Hot Dogs is one such place. You may think you can avoid the hype, but as you walk closer and begin to smell that pork-i-fied air, I dare you not to get down on your knees and beg for a hot dog. They do it up right at Max’s. Here I am, just giggly at being there. The non-Hot Dog menu is printed up all around me. My Chocolate Egg Cream was super sweet and bubbly. Very well done. Before me are some of the condiments that are already waiting for you at Max’s. (And, yes, I am aware that I am wearing a “Sammy’s Roumanian Steaks” T-Shirt. I’m not always such a chowhound geek.) Pickled Relish. Hot Peppers. I could handle ’em, but they were pretty dang hot. Ann mans the pump. A FOUR LB tub of Guldens adorns every table. In the bg, the enormous pot of saurkraut brought fresh to your table. Awesome. In the fg, the onion rings. I can be very picky about my onion rings — but these were fantastic. Not greasy at all. The key to good onion rings is that they...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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