Thursday, March 14, 2013
Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: The Tin Drum (1979)
"There once was a drummer. His name was Oskar. He lost his poor mama, who had eat too much fish. There was once a credulous people... who believed in Santa Claus. But Santa Claus was really... the gas man! There was once a toy merchant. His name was Sigismund Markus... and he sold tin drums lacquered red and white. There was once a drummer. His name was Oskar. There was once a toy merchant... whose name was Markus... and he took all the toys in the world away with him." - Oskar
"My dear Oskar, trust an experienced colleague. Our kind must never sit in the audience. Our kind must perform and run the show, or the others will run *us*. The others are coming. They will occupy the fairgrounds, they will stage torchlight parades, build rostrums, fill the rostrums, and from those rostrums preach our destruction." - Bebra
"Look, if you please, at this extraordinary potato... this swelling, luxuriant flesh, forever conceiving new shapes... and yet so chaste. I love a potato, because it speaks to me." - Vendor
Completely forgot about watching this one really late at night in complete darkness way out at Castle Greyskull with Lucian and Sadat while writing our new album back in December or January. Its pretty much a dark comedy, one of Lucian's old favorites. Its a German flick we watched o.g. style with subtitles. Its about this kid who doesn't want to grow up so he just forces himself to stop at age 3. Starring David Bennent who you'll remember as Honeythorn Gump from LEGEND. Creepy as shit, I present to you THE TIN DRUM!!!
Here we have the tale of Oskar, a little boy who was born a mother who fucked her cousin until she met this other dude while she was a nurse during WWI. Then she married him, but still kept up the secret relationship with her cousin. In the beginning they set up this story of this dude (Oskar's grandfather) who was running from the cops and hid under this chick's skirt in a field. He ends up getting her pregnant and then drowning trying to evade those cops. So we have this little wartime story of this couple who run a grocery store, the wife cheats on the husband with her own cousin and they have this shrimpy little kid. Well the kid gets a drum for his 3rd birthday, and sees his folks drinking and partying and decides he never wants to be like them, and he wants to stay 3 forever, so he throws himself down some stairs and somehow he manages to permanently stunt his own growth, and at the same time setting up a rift between his folks that will ensure they always blame each other for the ordeal therefore allowing him to act like a complete asshole indefinitely.
So time goes by and neighborhood kids get older and bigger but Oskar stays the same height. Its frustrating to him because they pick on him and around age 12 he gets an interest in the opposite sex. Girls just a bit older are taking care of him like he's a baby and he's got a completely different agenda on his mind. The film remains controversial because the star David Bennent was 12 at the time and has sex scenes with 3 different ladies. A young girl who gets pregnant, but we don't know if it was from Oskar or his father, an old neighbor lady, and ultimately a midget dancer he falls for in a midget wartime revue. Oskar figures out early on that he has a special gift in which he can squeal and break glass. The famous midget "Tom Thumb" tells him to hone his skills early in the film and asks him to join his traveling show to which Oskar declines the first time. I'm forgetting to mention that he beats that goddamn drum all the time and goes through them like hotcakes. Every time he fucks one up, he has a complete freak out till they go and get him a new one.
The mother continues her affair with her Polish cousin and one day Oskar, his mother and "2 dads" go to the beach and this dude is pulling eels out of a horse's head. GROSS!! The mom is puking her guts out. The real dad buys some, and cooks them for the mom. She reluctantly eats them and then for some reason punishes herself by binge eating raw fish for days. Then she gets food poisoning and croaks. After other scenes like Oskar ruining a Nazi rally by playing his drum, we see another showing the political climate of the day when The Jewish drum maker/toy store owner gets told to split from the mother's funeral. This sets up the rise of the Nazi influence in the Danzig area. There's a scene where they are trying to get the workers in this Jewish post office where the cousin works to leave, but they are trying to hold their own and they get bombed continually until its rubble. Oskar seems to care more for his drum than any of the shit going on around him.
At a certain point, Oskar joins the midget wartime revue and has a relationship with this midget girl. She is killed and he ends up coming home to Danzig which is mostly destroyed at this point. He meets up with his now 3 year old son and cyclically gives him his own tin drum. The Russians come into town while his family is hiding in a cellar and rape his baby mama. The dad dies while choking on his own Nazi pin. Oskar decides to grow up finally after everyone is made to leave town. I'm pretty sure he crawls under his grandmother's skirt while she's sitting in a potato field as the train taking everyone out of town rolls away. Heavy flick. If you're into war movies, this is a great one to check out from the people's point of view rather than the soldiers.