It’s been a while since we last checked in with Armond White, the New York Press’s bourgeois bloviatrix of curmudgeonly pontification, mainly because his reviews of late have been… downright lucid. Pedestrian, you might even say. Today I’m happy to report that he finally came back to the radical, thesaurificent ramblifications that made us fall in love with him in the first place. In his recent review of 30 Minutes or Less, he examined the film through the lens of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Spike Jonze-directed video for “Otis”, because OBVIOUSLY. The result? An absolute MASTERPIECE of effervescent Armond Whitian pedantitude.
Of the “Otis” video, he writes:
“The avarice and acquisitiveness in his pop stars’ heads now occupy the unconscious of the recession’s deprived masses, a demography tantalized by the luxe of others.”
“Aw sheeit, you jealous of A-Dubz rings, biatch? Take a number. Skeet skeet!” Oh, but he’s just getting started.
“Danny McBride’s specialty, white proletarian ambition carried to extremes of solipsistic self-righteousness, casual racism, sexism and boorishness, has become an unexpected mirror of the home truths that most mainstream pop culture disguises through the distractions and dishonesty of reality TV shows. (Dwayne’s wisdom: “Sometimes fate pulls out its big old cock and slaps you right in the face.”)”
That. Is. Magnificent. This is exactly what I love about Armond White. The man is a visionary.
What was on screen: Danny McBride saying “Sometimes fate pulls out its big old cock and slaps you right in the face.”
What Armond White saw: White proletarian ambition carried to extremes of solipsistic self-righteousness, casual racism, sexism and boorishness, an unexpected mirror of the home truths (sidenote: what the f*ck is a “home truth?”) that most mainstream pop culture disguises through the distractions and dishonesty of reality TV shows.
I would love to be inside that guy’s brain. If I wasn’t so scared of being executed as a bourgeois sheep, I mean. More:
Ansari also makes a cameo appearance in Jonze’s “Otis.” As wingman to J&K [Jay-Z and Kanye -Ed.], Ansari confirms the video’s satirical element. It is timely casting, just like comedian Chris Tucker’s appearance, after the success of Friday and Rush Hour, in Hype Williams’ ultraflashy, magnificently spangly [MAGNIFICENTLY SPANGLY!!!] “Feel So Good” in 1997—the ultimate bling-bling music video until Williams innovated Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’.” The controversy surrounding “Big Pimpin’” questioned its sexist equation of masculine power with feminine conquest. This irreducible gender conflict flashes by in the bevy of light-skinned hotties in “Otis,” as well as in Dwayne’s epithet (“Quiet down, Slumdog!”) to Chet’s sister Kate (Dilshad Vasaria).
You and I hear an obvious Indian joke, Armond White hears an irreducible, sexist equation of masculine power with feminine conquest with obvious allusions to Hype Williams. You see, that’s why he’s the Grand High Chairman of the Gold Seal Film Appreciation Society of the 1964 World Fair and we’re just assh*les on a computer. KISS A-DUBZ’ ASCOT, PROLE!
Equally sly is Jonze’s visual slapstick deconstruction of a Maybach luxury auto into a vehicle of eccentric progress. This appropriation, a hip-hop form of Jonze’s punk anarchy, means as much as that gleaming white yacht in “Big Pimpin’.” Director Ruben Fleischer unsubtly uses violence for punch lines. His coarseness prevents 30 Minutes or Less from attaining the heights of Alex Cox’s Repo Man and Repo Chick, but he slips in a line that makes this film worthy of “Otis” when Nick is asked about the Internet and Eisenberg, star of The Social Network, answers “You know I don’t do Facebook, I’m off the grid.” That’s not hypocrisy; like J&K in “Otis,” it’s a social reality we need to recover.
WAKE UP, SHEEPLE! THE STAR OF THE SOCIAL NETWORK REFERENCING FACEBOOK WAS NOT SOME CUTE JOKE, IT WAS A CALL TO ARMS! KILL YOUR COMPUTER! KILL YOUR TELEVISION! KILL WHITEY! THE TRUTH BOMB HAS ALREADY BEEN DROPPED!
(*drops mic, walks off stage, parties in Jay-Z’s Maybach*)