Blogs & Columns
2 min

The Meat Street Beat: Ratatat … Chainsaw Maid…and a review of the “Thank You” Girls…

Did anyone else hear what sounded like a shotgun firing in the West End around 10:30 pm last night?

While you ponder that, here's "Shempi" from Ratatat:

This is really the type of video to get you thinking about life's great rhetorical questions, like:
♥Dear Agnetha, it's me, Sean…can you hear me?
♥Did a shotgun really just go off?
♥Why is Ratatat bringing Shemp into this after all these years? Jesus…leave the dead in peace already
♥Is there such a thing as a Bjorn Benny? Should I ask for one at the Elbow Room?
♥Why do I always have the urge to put my hands up in the air and throw em around like I just don't care? 
Wednesday's screening of The "Thank You" Girls at Vancity Theatre was interesting. Emphasis on the "rest". I thank you.
It was the first international screening of the film, which speaks to the Vancouver Film Festival's reputation as a stomping ground for new global cinematic talent. Much like with certain selections from the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, I've found that with some foreign films, there is disconnect between cultural interpretations of what's funny and what's not funny.
in the case of The "Thank You" Girls, I felt that the claymation short that preceded the main film, was actually better (in execution), than The "Thank You" Girls. The claymation was titled Chainsaw Maid and it turns out that I found the whole thing on YouTube. Please watch:

Now if you didn't laugh at that, something must be right with you. Way too right.
As for the main film, it was shot as a documentary, but with actors. So sort of like The Hills. If you like that TV show, you may like this film. In it, we follow the stories of a gaggle of transvestite and transgendered Filipino beauty pagent performers as they tour the Philippines trying to win first place at the many beauty pagents of "The Third Kind." The documentary flavour is strengthened by the ensemble, most of whom have never acted before and were pagent regulars (much like the film depicts).
Is this a coming of age story between a father and son? Is it a love-gone-wrong tale between the father and his jilted boyfriend? Is it a tale of exploitation and sexually abused teenagers? Is it a comedic tradgedy depicting the hard life of transgendered boys and men?
To be honest, I'm not sure because it felt like all of these things…and then none of these things…with a couple scenes stolen from Priscilla Queen of the Desert thrown in just to give it an ooh-la-la gay twist. In my opinion, it tried too hard to be too many things. I questioned why the director included certain scenes (where dialogue and action failed to contribute or move the plot of the movie forward or introduce any conflict between the characters). Several scenes were repeated at different times throughout the film, sometimes without using a different camera angle. Again, I'm not sure if this repitition added anything of value to film, especially since the plot was so hard to follow in the first place, or if the repitition was there just to make the film longer.
If you have an opportunity to see this film in the future, the performances of the actors salvage some of the concerns I listed above. It is also an interesting snapshot of life in the Philippines. If you want my reccommendation: say no thank you to The Thank You Girls …