Few films have truly misleading titles. In fact, the only two I can think of are Howard’s End (I thought it was a gay porno), and Monkey Trouble (I thought it was a gay porno). Well, now we can add Sweet Movie to this axis of confusion. Why? Well, there is nothing “sweet” about it. And it barely qualifies as a “movie.” You know, when I think of movies I think of characters and some sort of narrative coherence. Granted, Sweet Movie does have characters in it. And they sort of do things. But there’s not really any story. Just a bunch of weird shit happens. Yeah, that would have been a more apt title: Weird Shit Happens.
And, as strange as it might seem, I did not particularly care for this film, even though it contains two of my favorite subjects: poop and communism.
When watching Sweet Movie (aka, Weird Shit Happens), I got the feeling that Yugoslavian director Dusan Makavejev was trying to say something about something. Or maybe comment on something. Or satirize something. Honestly, I have no idea what he was getting at. There’s tons of Karl Marx pictures and statues of him in the film (as well as a Marx-shaped tobacco pipe), and lots of talk about a “revolution,” as well as talk about fascism and songs concerning communism. There is also real-life aftermath footage of the Polish Katyn Massacre that occurred in 1940 intercut with certain scenes. These are all heady subjects, but whatever Mr. Makavejev was trying to communicate is lost in an orgy of piss, shit, vomit, and a golden penis. That’s right…a golden penis!
I’ll do my damndest to explain what happens in Sweet Movie without having a brain hemorrhage. As far as I can tell, there are two “stories” intercut with each other. The first one involves a woman who wins a televised competition sponsored by the Chastity Belt Foundation. She’s deemed the most desirable and preserved virgin out of all the contestants by Dr. Mittlefinger (get it? Get it?), who examines her hymen…which shines a light on his face like the opened briefcase in Pulp Fiction. As the winner, she gets 50 billion dollars and has to marry the spastic sponsor’s celibate son, who is some sort of rich milk magnate.
Anyway, on their wedding night, the newlyweds start to get down to business, when, all of a sudden, the husband pulls down his cherry-stem boxer shorts to reveal…a golden penis! Naturally, the wife screams and naturally, he starts to piss on her. Seems like a long way to go for a fucking “golden shower” joke. Anyway…
As expected, the wife isn’t too thrilled with this relationship and soon finds herself knocked out by a bodybuilding black man named Jeremiah, who takes her to a milk silo and tries to stuff her in a suitcase. Then, because it makes no sense, he nude jump ropes in front of her. After this brief exercise session, Jeremiah goes over to the woman and says “You see this chocolate skin? Try it.” Licking his face, the woman looks directly into the camera and says, “It’s sweet.” Then Jeremiah looks at the camera and says “Nice to lick.” Then he stuffs her in a barrel and plays the bongos.
I am not making this up.
After jerking Jeremiah off, he knocks her out with a swift karate chop and laughs. Then he stuffs her into a suitcase again and goes on a trip to Paris, checking her in as his luggage. Once again, because it makes no sense, she winds up atop the Eiffel Tower where a film is being shot starring a Latin lothario named El Macho who wears massive amounts of eyeliner, mascara, and glitter. Instantly, these two are attracted to each other and immediately have sex underneath his cape. Then they get stuck together mid-coitus (which is referred to as “love cramps”) and are taken, on a stretcher, to a kitchen. Somehow their nude bodies are detached from each other and El Macho feels the need to sing…and cry. Of course, this makes the woman crack multiple eggs on her head. Okay…
Eventually this woman ends up in a strange commune or cult of some sort, where these gypsy-looking folks act like a bunch of goofy mongoloids by puking and pissing on each other at a large dinner table. By this time, the woman is nearly catatonic. So what does she do? She grabs a guy’s uncircumcised dick and rubs it on her face like it’s a warm washcloth.
At this point I was thinking, “Man, this movie really needs some feces in it.” Thankfully my prayers were answered.
I like to refer to the next sequence as the “shit ceremony,” or the “shit celebration” scene. In it, three of these retarded gypsy fellas squat on plates and squeeze out some turds; as though prepping for a stinky picnic. The other cult members cheerfully clap as the poop plates are passed around, which is not realistic at all. The last time I pooped on a plate nobody clapped. In fact, I can no longer come within 200 yards of that particular Olive Garden ever again. Anyway, just like every scene in this flick, the time spent on bodily functions is not long, but it seems to drag on for a fucking eon. I mean, do we really need to see people dancing around with plates of shit for more than, say, three seconds?
Following this is a sequence where a naked man squirms on a dirty mattress while crying and pissing. Why does he act like a baby (complete with getting his ass powdered)? Once again, because it makes no sense!
The saddest part of this is that I have only described one of the stories! I still have one more to go!
This other “story” revolves around a woman named Anna Planet who sails on a boat with a giant Karl Marx face as its figurehead. She’s followed by an eager and persistent sailor riding his bike on the banks of the river who, through some sort of miracle of space and time, ends up on the boat…even though it never docked and the sailor never swam to it. I guess he teleports aboard it or something. Yeah, that’s it! He fucking teleports onto the boat! That seems about the most logical answer.
Anyway, the sailor, who is named “Potemkin” (there’s a subtle allusion), immediately falls in love with Anna and bangs her. And did I mention that the boat is stuffed with candy and sugar? Well, it is. These confections come in handy during the most disturbing and uncomfortable scene in the film, which, if you have been reading, is pretty damn impressive considering all the other bullshit that’s transpired.
In this scene, Anna lures three young boys onto the boat (I have no idea where the sailor went. Maybe out for a pack of smokes), sits them down in the “candy room,” and proceeds to disrobe in front of them. She bumps and grinds on the boys, laying her discarded clothes on them, and even undoes one of the boy’s pants. These kids are like ten years old! Then she grabs one of them and says “You can fuck me if you want, Sweetie,” and takes him behind a curtain. While I used to have dreams like this as a kid, as a grown man watching this I just felt…uncomfortable. I mean, haven’t laws been broken or something? Where the fuck were these kid’s parents during the shoot? And trust me, these were real kids. They weren’t like, midgets or anything. If they were midgets, I would have graded this film higher.
Since I’m sick of writing about this film, here are some of the high (or low) lights that I have yet to cover:
-People have sex in sugar.
-A man gets eviscerated in sugar…and enjoys it.
-People get killed, wrapped in plastic and covered in sugar, and are placed on the river bank.
-People come back to life, still wrapped in plastic and covered in sugar, and still on the river bank.
-Nude people, covered in white powder, dance with each other as a clothed man plays an accordion.
-John Vernon plays the milk magnate with a golden dick! John Vernon! The dude from Animal House! And I’m Gonna Git You Sucka! And Killer Klowns from Outer Space! Holy shit!
-The film opens with a woman screaming/singing a song that has this lyric in it “…is it cow stool? Or is it my love?” Substitute “my love” with “this movie” and I think this chick might be onto something.
-John Vernon’s Mom in the movie dances to bongos (what’s with the obsession with bongos in this goddamn film?). And, like every scene in this movie, it…goes on…forever. The best way to describe her dancing? Imagine soaking yourself in a bathtub for about 12 hours until you get “prune skin,” then imagine getting anally probed by a dude with Tourette’s during an earthquake. Her dancing kind of looks like that.
-Apparently, flinging your piss stream at a woman communicates how interested you are in her.
I am sure there are many cinephiles out there who would argue that this film is a surreal comedic masterpiece that challenges viewers with issues pertaining to freedom or man’s bodily functions or some other kind of pretentious bullshit. I don’t buy it. This film is a fucking mess. And a nightmare. Did the movie make me uncomfortable? Yes. Did the movie make any sense? No. Do I miss going to Olive Garden? Hell yes.
Worst of all, Sweet Movie was boring. And that, my friends, is an even worse crime than pooping on a plate.