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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Veg & Mash: The Vintage Cave Restaurant and Downfall Parodies

from the Honolulu Weekly:

Paging Dr. Strangelove! Have we found a bistro for you


Before we get to Film of the Year . . .

Somehow it didn’t feel like coincidence that Honolulu’s ultimate luxury restaurant, The Vintage Cave, went into launch mode the same month that the grand old party of the One Percent crawled into a cave of its own. With memberships starting at $5,000 on up to $500K, and a meal for two costing about $1,000 in its underground bunker beneath Shirokiya, The Vintage Cave ought to fit right into Mitt Romney’s Recovery Tour. No view, but you get a couple of walls of Picassos and a triptych of an artwork called Hiroshima. Paging Dr. Strangelove!

Sometimes words fail. Sometimes I feel like Terminator’s young John Connor turning to Arnold and asking, “We’re not going to make it, are we?” But then the Cinema Gods whisper: “Just wait, the mashup will be along in a moment.”

As we all know, in just a decade the mashup has become a new art form. Digital editing technology and the internet are doing for film what the Fender Stratocaster and the Marshall amplifier did for popular music: blowing it up.

Today, the mashup ensures that good films, or at least great scenes, live on in ever-shifting forms. And in this shuffle, crazy truth emerges. We see Brokeback Mountain, and then, thanks to mashups of every buddy film ever made, we see gay cowboys everywhere. (And you know what? They are everywhere.)

The mashup is now not only an art form but a way of thinking. Instead of groaning when I read about Honolulu’s uber-rich partying like there’s no tomorrow in an underground bunker, I just followed my nose straight to a popular Election Day mashup. Based on a scene in the movie Der Untergang (Downfall), it takes place during the last ten days of WWII as Der Fuhrer and the Nazi elite live it up under the streets of a burning Berlin. When Adolf finally finds out he’s surrounded by Russians, he explodes in a memorable outburst, which in the mashup (“Hitler finds out Obama has been re-elected”) becomes a hilarious rant blaming New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Donald Trump and “that damn robot” Mitt Romney for the loss of the election.

And that’s why, before calling out my Best Film of 2012, I’m giving a special Golden Wally to an entire genre, for its contributions to world sanity.

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