Loose Shoes

Director: Ira Miller

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Loose Shoes (1980) is a low-budget sketch-comedy feature film in the same general category as Kentucky Fried Movie (1976) & Tunnel Vision (1976). This one's distinction is that it is staged as a collection of movie trailers interrupted with a snackbar ads.

Loose ShoesMost of the bits really aren't funny. "The Howard Huge Story" has as its biggest joke, "He claimed to have invented the tit." Another faked trailer spoofs biker gang films, "Skateborders from Hell," very unmemorable. "Invasion of the Penis Snatchers" is "coming at you in 3-D."

When it gets to "Three Chairs for Lefty" with an early film appearance by Bill Murray, it's seeming like a pretty lame comedy film. This spoof of prison films is the funniest of the first few pieces only because the earlier bits weren't funny at all, whereas this bit was slightly funny.

"The Sneaker" spoofs Woody Allen who is taking advice from a Clark Gable look-alike instead of Bogart. Since the film being spoofed was funnier than this, it definitely makes one wonder "what were they thinking???" in attempting a funny version of a funny film.

"The Magic & Mystery of the Gobi" is a vacation film of a horrible place. Then there's a non-profit promotional featuring Buddy Hacket trying put over a very badly written bit on bed wetters. When we get the Intermission refreshment stand ad for junk food & marijuana, it's hard to keep watching, as this stuff isn't even good for a minor grin.

Walt Whizney returns from the dead as a dog in "The Shaggy Studio Chief," very bad. "A Visit with Ma & Pa" is a promotional film for the next Ma & Pa Kettle movie hybridized with a Francis the Talking Mule film (but with a talking pig). This one should've been shot in black & white to look more like the films being lampooned. Since the biggest joke is Pa snorts coke, it's hard to find the laughter, though the pig has the a couple lines that are worth a giggle.

A silent film spoof of Charlie Chaplin, "Charlie & the Yid," makes a few lame Jew jokes. "A Fistful of Something" is one of the stronger pieces in the set, making light of spaghetti westerns: "Nobody knew where he came from. Nobody knew his name. Nobody knew what he had clenched in his fingers." Everyone in the wild west talks with stereotyped Italian accents.

There are others not worthy of mention, but another one that works better than the average is the trailer for "Welcome to Bacon County," about an interracial couple who wander into a hick town in the south where everyone is disgustingly friendly & helpful. This one made me laugh.

"Billy Jerk Goes to Oz" is also an amusing blend of Billy Jack & Wizard of Oz. It's only tragic that just as the film reaches a point of actually having some effective humor in it, it's almost over.

There's are two trailers left, but hooboy, one of 'em makes sticking it out worthwhile, & I don't mean the Star Wars spoof. This is the the trailer for "Dark Town After Dark" spoofing black-cast films from the 1930s. It's so well done that it almost makes up for the lame war movie spoof presented by Ernie Piles or the opening Howard Huge eye-roller.

Loose ShoesStarting off with scenes of abject poverty & misery in a shack with snowdrifts in the bathroom, it jump-cuts to a jazz club scene. It's hard to know how to describe it without just giving it all away, so I'll give it away:

An extremely fine jazz arrangement is done for an original song that captures the '30s period-mood, a jump-jazz number with a superb recurring lyric that'll get stuck in your head & you may get in trouble when you begin singing it idly walking down the street:

"Tight pussy, warm shoes, & a warm place to shit/ Tight pussy, warm shoes, & a warm place to shit/ Tight pussy, warm shoes, & a warm place to shit/ That's it! That's it."

With creative camera work & sepia film color & a fine uncredited jazz orchestra, this thing just oozes coolness. Flawless in every way, the star is the singin' dancin' David Downing, with so much talent he should've become a household name, but has settled for a long & successful career as New York stage actor & character actor in occasional films.

Few will remember the origin of that hysterical vulgar lyric, when racist & well-named Earl Butz on his way to the 1976 GOP Convention remarked to his fellow Republicans that all the "coloreds" wanted was loose shoes, tight pussy, & a warm place to shit.

Media hog & tattletail John Dean ratted out Butz's racism in Rolling Stone, which got Butz a dressing-down by President Ford, & Butz resigned. A viewer doesn't need to know the political origins of this satire to find it an absolute riot, but it adds a raised brow knowing the origin.

This skit is pure genius & why that genius wasn't seen until near film's end is a puzzle. Nothing else in this collection of satires dressed as film ads is even close to as funny as David Downing's routine.

Downing throws in a lot of Cab Calloway showmanship, & the orchestra is simply first-rate; the excellence of the music heightens how fall-off-your-chair funny this bit achieves. If you've got a clip of this entire sequence, you really don't need the rest of the film.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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