Randy Quaid bares all in Vancouver
Robert Collins, ctvbc.ca
Published Saturday, April 23, 2011 12:29PM PDT
Is the Randy Quaid circus losing steam? The line stretching down Broadway on a sunny Good Friday evening would suggest otherwise. The smattering of genuine fans, mixed with the curious and trash-culture geeks, were buzzing in anticipation of being the lucky few about to witness the world premiere of Randy and Evi Quaid's docu-drama, Star Whackers, at Vancouver's Rio Theatre.
For the paying customers filling three-quarters of the Rio's comfortable seats (tickets were being offered for free outside), the evening started perfectly normally, with a showing of the 2007 comedy thriller, Real Time, ably demonstrating that even with his current reputation for nuttiness, Randy Quaid is still a badass actor when he puts his mind to it.
This fine movie was merely a warm up for what the crowd had really come to see: Star Whackers. Documentary? Drama? Autobiography? Speculation was rife. The correct answer, none of the above, was made apparent in an opening scene where Randy, standing in a park and wearing nothing but a fur bathrobe repeated Shakespearian lines as his manhood dangled in the breeze. At one point he picked up a patch of hair from the ground and placed it inside his butt cheeks.
This is not an exaggeration. This is really what happened.
The journey into the grotesque and allegorical continued for the next hour and a half, although it seemed much longer. The narrative, if it could be called that, involved Quaid, playing a full-frontally nude version of himself, being pursued by hitman in black (also played by him) and an illuminati-type figure, distinguished by fishnet tights pulled over his face and a deer's skull on top of his head. This character, you've guessed it, was played by Randy Quaid.
At one point the hitman character threatened a donkey. Randy, playing himself, ate straw.
For the most part, the crowd greeted the series of bemusing imagery with derisive laughter. But this good spirit disappeared during a scene of breathtaking tedium where, in an unending close-up, Quaid delivered the entire ‘To be not to be' soliloquy two and a half times. By the time the Randy character greeted his inevitable star whacking with Hamlet's "I am dead", his words were met with cheers.
The assault on the eyes over, Randy swaggered on stage after the film's completion to assault our ears with his band, The Fugitives. They performed three songs, including the autobiographical ‘Mr DA Man' and ‘Star Whackers'. There was a look of confusion on Quaid's face when the cries for encore rang out after the latter. The solution? Play it again; this time with a bunch of burlesque dancers joining him and the band (who all happen to be lawyers by day) in a spectacle as bizarre as the movie that preceded it.
By the time Randy and Evi Quaid sat down for the long-awaited Q&A session, Friday was turning into Saturday. Fans and conspiracy theorists lauded the couple, while awkward questions were deflected by The Rio Theatre's MCs and the Quaid's drummer/lawyer. When one filmgoer, Natalie Von Rotsburg, pointed out that an alleged documentary was nothing of the sort, Evi barked that she should get her money back.
Is Star Whackers the worst film ever? Probably not. It is, as Evi insisted on telling us, a work in progress. And although it is undeniably an irredeemable work of self-delusion, paranoia and pretension, there's enough unintentional comedy and genitalia to make up for the many moments of mind-melting tedium.
There's still a fair chance that Canada's most famous refugees will reveal that it's all been a spectacular hoax and the joke is on the media and those that consume it. That may happen. But it will never alleviate the fact that an audience in Vancouver has seen Randy Quaid stuff a clump of hair up his bottom. That is an image that can never be washed away.