The Curator of Schlock #244 by Jeff Shuster

Mandy

This is some weird shit. 

It’s October, the time of year when your Curator of Schlock becomes the Curator of Shock. Over the next few weeks, we will be showcasing only the most spine-tingling of tales. Last year, I ended October with a review of The Wicker Man, the one with Nicholas Cage. After I sent that review off to my editor, I laughed uncontrollably for about five minutes. Maybe it was that scene of Nick Cage screaming about a doll that got burned or him drop-kicking Leelee Sobieski into a shelf of pottery or that scene with the bees. Point is that it’s performances like this that cause many people to dismiss Nicholas Cage. Those people haven’t seen Mandy.

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I am so impressed with Mandy that I’ve prepared a letter of consideration to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

Dear whomever it may concern at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

This is Jeff Shuster, the Curator of Schlock. Maybe you’ve heard of me. I’m the champion of all those movies you routinely ignore each year in favor of movies everyone pretends to like, but never bother with looking at again in five years. Except for L.A. Confidential. That was a good Best Picture nomination because I got to see Russell Crowe dunking some guy’s head into a toilet. But now I’m getting sidetracked. My point is I have seen the best picture of 2018 and will now proceed to cram my opinion down your throat. The name of the movie is Mandy from director Panos Cosmatos. He should get best director just for having such an awesome name.

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The movie stars Nicholas Cage as Red Miller, a lumberjack and devoted boyfriend to Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough).

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Mandy is like the coolest girlfriend ever. She reads pulp fantasy novels and listens to Black Sabbath. There’s a tender scene where Red and Mandy are talking about their favorite planets, Mandy’s being Jupiter and Red’s being Saturn. My favorite planet is Uranus. Oh, and there’s this creepy Jim Jones style cult that wants to add Mandy to their congregation at the request of Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). He used to be a folk singer before the heavens reached out to him and told him anything in the world was there for his taking.

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Jeremiah summons some bikers who got all messed up in the head due to some bad LSD. He offers them a rotund member of the cult (for eating I guess) in exchange for help in kidnapping Mandy. With Mandy firmly in the cult’s clutches, Jeremiah attempts to seduce her by playing one of his albums, but she just laughs at how bad his music is. Jeremiah doesn’t like that one bit so he ties up Red with barb wire, pierces Red’s side with a spear, and hangs Mandy while setting her one fire before the eyes of poor Red. One of the cult members declares that “Whores burn the brightest.” Then they leave Red with the charred remains of his love.

The rest of the movie features Nick Cage going on a revenge tear that makes Charles Bronson look tame by comparison. He makes this wicked axe with a spear tip that he shoves down this one cult member’s throat and you can see the blood gushing everywhere as he mutters how Mandy is burning in hell. There’s a chainsaw fight, Nick Cage lighting a cigarette off a flaming skull, cocaine, LSD, PCP, and just a bunch of righteous kills. Plus, you get to see Nick Cage screaming while sitting on a toilet in his underwear. If that isn’t best picture material, what is? Please consider Mandy for various Award Nominations including Best Picture. Don’t even stick it in that new Most Popular Film category. Everyone knows that’s going to Black Panther.

Sincerely,

Jeff Shuster


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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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