An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
"I'm a Rubber Suit Guy." - George Romero
For a good example of everything wrong with American movies compare the novel "Forrest Gump" to the movie Hollywood made out of it. No, no, Kate Hudson's not in it or anything as trivial as that - The book has a sequence in which Forrest goes to Hollywood and gets a job wearing the rubber monster suit in a "Creature From The Black Lagoon" movie that is so crazy and kooky they decided it was too undignified for Mister Academy Award Winning Big Shot Tom Hanks and threw it out in favor of a lotta socially relevant horseshit that ain't even in the book! What the hell kind of a movie director would pass up on a chance to film a lovable retarded dude in a rubber "Creature From The Black Lagoon" suit? Certainly not Inoshiro Honda, the Japanese Genius who gave us "Godzilla", "Mothra", "Rodan" . . . Gosh, if I listed the titles of every movie this nut made that would be the whole article right there. Thanks to Honda, rubber monster suits are so common in Japan they sell 'em in men's room vending machines.
Whenever film critics are forced to write about Honda's movies instead of those miserable Scorsese things they're forever jabbering about they invariably make the same snide remarks about sumo wrestlers in rubber monster suits stomping on scale model skyscrapers and then wash their hands before they get anything icky on their brand new super deluxe "Mean Streets" DVD. And, yeah, "sumo wrestlers in rubber monster suits stomping on scale model skyscrapers" looks really stupid when it's just eleven little words on a page of The New York Times, Vanity Fair, or Kill The Rednecks, but "creepy Italian-American actors cursing at each other for two hours" looks really stupid when it's just eleven little words too and nobody ever wrote that about no Scorsese movie. If Robert DeNiro had been in a rubber monster suit all through that godawful "Raging Bull" I coulda sat through it before going to the drug store for some Pepto Bismol. Maybe a Minotaur kinda thing, that woulda been a trip. Maybe in "Goodfellas" Joe Pesci could have worn a rubber Robert DeNiro suit and Robert DeNiro could have worn a rubber Joe Pesci suit, I dunno - Kill me for having an imagination.
Just a rubber suit. None of that animation, double exposure, or computer legerdemain to create the monsters in his movies, Honda just puts 'em right there in front of his camera and "Action!" (Or however Japanese people say "Action!"). Godzilla may not have the hyperactive zippiness of Ray Harryhausen's monsters but makes up for it with a genuine physical relationship with his environment. I like Harryhausen's monsters but, as great as they look when strutting about like "Hey, get a loada me - I'm a fuckin' CYCLOPS!!!", it's always kind of awkward when it's time to quit with the vamping and to work on the Picking Up And Throwing Stuff which is the Bread And Butter of any respectable Giant Monster movie. When Godzilla picks up a train and throws it up in the air it's obviously a guy in a rubber suit and a little model train, but the fact that he really does pick it up and he really does throw it in the air creates an excitement that Harryhausen's crazy critters can't touch. Movies are all about walking around, knocking stuff down, throwing it around, and falling right down and what we see doing it all is of no importance as long as we believe in all the walking, knocking, throwing, and falling. The monster and the prop may be fake but the ACTION is real. Hhhmmm . . . Maybe I should take the effort to find out how Japanese people say "Action!" after all?
Realism - Feh! Walt Disney was The Most Important Man In Animation until he screwed up and started trying to make animated people, animals, and plants that looked like real people, animals, and plants - That's just STUPID! The real reason The Seven Dwarves took in Snow White was they felt sorry for her cause she's so badly drawn. Bringing real deer and rabbits in so his artists could sit around and study em for "Bambi" - How many of those guys said "Screw this! I'm gettin' a job at Warner Brothers before Walt starts walkin' around in leg warmers!"
A lotta people put Honda's movies down as "Kid Stuff". What's wrong with Kid Stuff? If everything was for grown ups then kids could never watch TV and we'd have to pay attention to the little shits all day long! I have a lot of fun when I go to visit my four year old niece for the weekend but if it wasn't for those crazy cartoons she has to watch for thirty minutes every three hours I'd have to pack her up in a cardboard box, ship her off to Nickleodeon, and let Sponge Bob Squarepants put up with her psychotic antics for a while. My Uncle wasn't as patient as I am - I remember waking up in the Hanna Barbara studio hearing the guy who did Barney's voice on "The Flintstones" going "Annudda kid!? Sheesh!!". Sure, now that I'm all grown up I prefer more sophisticated fare like "The Nanny" and "Dumb And Dumber" but even an intellectual with as discriminating tastes as myself has to let his pants down . . . I mean, let his hair down every now and then for more lighthearted fare like a Court TV documentary about a couple getting sent to prison for killing their baby and then the cops finding out that the kid had been ripped apart by dogs - you know - A lil' Eye Candy?
There's not a lot of information available about Inoshira Honda's life and the little I could find was in Japanese and - from the way Film Study usually goes - it will probably be translated in French before it makes into English so don't hold your breath waiting for cute stories about his first beer or how freaked out he was when his teenage daughter started dating or anything like that. Here's what I do know - He was born in Tokyo in 1911 and his Father was a Monk. Hol' de phone, Kingfish! What kinda crazy religion lets its Monks run around having kids? What religion they got in Japan? Scientology, right? Well, if that don't explain Godzilla right then and there Mo Rocca will turn out to be a really funny guy after all! Young Honda began working in the movie industry but his career was interrupted when he was drafted to fight in World War Two, a very difficult experience for a young man especially one on the same side as Hitler. But Honda paid for this mistake when he was imprisoned by the Chinese. In the future everybody in the whole wide world will be imprisoned by the Chinese so Honda was truly a Man Ahead Of His Time. After the war ended Inoshiro returned to his native land, became a movie director, made a ton of crazy ass movies, and died in 1993 - Too soon to be dragged out of "Forrest Gump" screaming "Where rubber Creature From Black Lagoon suit like in book!?! Honda want money back!! No blonde whore in book!! Shit!!"
Oh! Here's something for Saleeby to carry on like a goddam fool about - Inoshira Honda's Best Friend In The Whole Wide World was Akira Kurosawa, The Supreme Master Of Japanese Cinema Who Gave Us "Rashomon", "The Seven Samurai", and "Throne Of Blood"! Wow! Can you imagine Orson Welles sitting around talking about nooky with the guy who directed "The Creature From The Black Lagoon"? Okay, I'm such a geek I know that guy's name - Jack Arnold. Hell, I'm so geeky I know Jack Arnold directed a bunch of "Gilligan's Island" episodes! I'm such a geek I know Arnold directed a bunch of "Brady Bunch" episodes! Imagine Orson Welles and Jack Arnold in his "Creature From The Black Lagoon" rubber suit (He always wore it on the set to command respect from union thug technicians and drug addled actors) making homo jokes about poor ol' Robert Reed and all the disgusting things they'd like to do Jan and Marsha in a coupla years - Translate it all into French and then into Japanese and that's what it must have been like when Kurosawa and Honda got together to drink a little sushi and eat some saki . . .
(The Executive Sushi Bar at Toho Studios)
AKIRA: I have completed "Rashomon"!
AKIRA: I am fulfilled!
INOSHIRA: I have completed "Godzilla Versus King Kong"!
AKIRA: Uh . . . Is it raining outside?
INOSHIRA: I am soggy!
AKIRA AND INOSHIRA: ACTION!!!
(Hearty, many laughter)
I wonder which one was the Ralph Kramden-Oscar Madison-Fred Flintstone-Joe Perry half of the friendship and which one was the Ed Norton-Felix Unger-Barney Rubble-Steven Tyler half? But how the heck am I ever gonna figure that out about Akira and Inoshira when after all these years I still can't figure out Chandler and Joey on "Friends"?
Honda worked on the production of Kurosawa's last coupla movies, neither one of which were very good but we were all required to walk around talking about what a coupla masterpieces they were anyway on account of how Kurosawa was gonna die at any given moment - Hey, it was the Eighties! It was a very sentimental time. I think it was that "Purple Rain" record that did it. Then Kurosawa finally left us the hell alone so we could stop holding our breath and go "Oh, man! What the hell was THAT all about? Those movies didn't even have Mifune! It was like a Frank Tashlin movie with Don Knotts instead of Jerry Lewis!" Okay, "we" didn't say that last bit about Frank Tashlin - It was just me. Then the last guy in town who would talk to me got all Ralph Kramden-Oscar Madison-Fred Flintstone-Joe Perry on me and I haven't left the apartment since. Nobody ever put on no airs like that for Inoshira Honda. Whatever was his last movie was his last movie because everybody told him it was going to be his last movie. "Enough of you and your big rubber monsters! We got computers now - Check out the monster we've programmed for the remake of 'Godzilla' . . . Oh, wait - I'm doing a virus scan . . . I'll get it going for you in a half hour."
Every summer for the past decade I'll be sitting around watching the News and they'll tell me "Coming up after this commercial break - A behind the scenes look at how they created the incredible monsters in this summer's big box office blockbuster!" and EVERY time, EVERY summer, EVERY box office blockbuster it's the same nerdy little guy sitting at the same computer clacketty clack clack clacking away at the keyboard just like me sending a nasty email to Wil Forbis about all the money he owes me. That ain't movie making! If D.W. Griffith could see that . . . Well, he'd be too freaked out by Halle Berry and Will Smith to even notice that shit, but I can just imagine what would happen to this simpweasel if Inoshira Honda had hired him to do the monsters on one of his movies . . .
(Nerdy little guy sitting at computer typing on keyboard. Inoshiro Honda enters with a tape recorder, pushes 'PLAY' button, and Godzilla's trademark roar is heard)
NERDY LITTLE GUY: Gracious!
HONDA: Where monster? Toho hire you make monster! Honda no see monster!
NERDY LITTLE GUY: It's right here, Mister Honda!
HONDA: Monster where? In computer? Half foot high monster no good! You bum!
NERDY LITTLE GUY: I'm working on the monster right now!
HONDA: You no work on monster! You look at porn! You look at schoolgirl white panties! Imagine face up schoolgirl skirt! Play with dick! I know!
Oh, is this routine kind of racist?
(Chitlins Johnson, Honda's loyal manservant comes tap dancing in with a big pot o' gumbo)
CHITLINS: Well, nah - Ho' de phone, Mistuh Hondo! Ah'm sho' dat de nice white man be doin' his bes' to make de baddes' monstuh evuh!!
I'm sorry, this is too much. I'll have to put an end to this right away.
(John Saleeby comes in with a chainsaw and cuts them all to pieces)
What happens to Oriental people when they get disoriented? They turn into white people? But they'll be Asian again two hours later.
(Back at his office at Acid Logic, Saleeby is rolling the decapitated heads around when he makes a disturbing discovery)
SALEEBY: Hey, Chitlin's face . . . Why, this is BLACKFACE make up! Now, THAT is RACIST!
For More On Inoshiro Honda's Life And Films Be Sure To Read John Saleeby's Book "Thirty Sequels Over Tokyo" Coming Soon From Awful Waffle Press.
wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand
up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com,
Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication
now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier.
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