For Your Consideration: BIG MONEY HUSTLAS (1999)

Months ago, I sat through a portion of a unholy union of filmmaking and the Insane Clown Posse called Big Money Rustlas. Should you need a recap, :here you go.

Its an awful, awful film and I couldn’t even finish it. So what made me visit ICP’s first film? Its not an interesting story, but it does involve me watching an episode of MTV’s True Life which focused on a couple’s Juggalo themed wedding and their parents’ disapproval. Most bands would kill for the kind of loyalty ICP sparks, so I thought I would give this a shot.

Before we visit this, let me remind you 1999 was a banner year for movies – this was the year that gave us The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, Toy Story 2, Election, Office Space, etc. While these movies were being painstakingly crafted and lovingly made, this thing happened.

Its generous on our part to discuss Big Money Hustlas “plot” but since it calls itself a “movie” apparently, we have to use terms like this. I suppose its best described as a “homage” to 70s blaxploitation movies, given the very sad use of Dolemite and Fred “Rerun” Berry. There’s names like Big Baby Sweets and he’s running a crime syndicate in New York, while someone named Shaggy 2 Dog (back when mothers were liberally writing things on their child’s birth certificates) works for the police and solves crime. Or something.

Everything about this movie makes me sad – from every stand point. Creatively, emotionally, physically….

….the fact they got Harry Potter’s uncle to be in this.

Look, I realize that my not being a Juggalo prevents me from enjoying this film the way it was meant to be seen. But I put it to you – how do sit through this thing and not be distracted that the two leads wear bright white clown makeup and stare straight into the camera to deliver lines?

 In order to establish the storytelling genre, let us establish scenes with large cars from the 70s in bad neighborhoods.

You can’t hear it but there’s some funky music, brought to you courtesy of ICP. Its hard for me to admit, but its really not that bad.

And then a Lincoln navigator in a suburban neighborhood.

What was happening in this scene, you ask? Well, a clown in a suit swears a lot and there’s some dialogue with hip hop dancer rejects.

Seeing this guy makes me long for the quiet dignity of Kim Kardashian’s performance in Temptation.

One thing you may wonder, is if Big Money Hustlas passes the Bechdel test

Um, no. Not so much.

This character enjoys eating. She’s overweight and therefore comedy gold. Stand aside, Mary Tyler Moore.

A cop eating a donut? Folks, stop writing comedy now. The pinnacle has been reached and will never be topped.

In our story, Shaggy arrests Big Baby Sweets, some cohorts named Big Stank and Lil’ Poot but law enforcement fails everyone and lets them go (frankly, I would think any law enforcement establishment would be willing to allow those nicknames as evidence.)

Shaggy 2 Confused has been on screen, has done music videos, but when it comes to emote or show emotion on screen, he comes off as more perplexed than anything else.

Spoiler alert, there’s ninjas involved at this point. There’s no point to it, its just worth mentioning.

 And then this happens:

Rudy Ray Moore shows up. He mugs for the camera and gives the impression that he’s forgotten how to be in front of a camera. Which is entirely possible.

Which may also explains why he wears sunglasses in every scene.

Also in a twist of ridiculous plot, Big Baby Sweats All the Time….

…brings in Mick Foley to wrestle. I don’t follow wrestling, so I don’t consider myself a fan, nor do I find myself impressed by the cameo.

Not that anyone told Mick why he was there, you can just see that he’s genuinely happy to be where he’s wanted.

I’ll kill the surprise – this was the criminal mastermind the whole time. Now I know where Christopher Nolan’s true inspiration for storytelling comes from.

Here’s my favorite bit of trivia from this film, courtesy of its Wikipedia page:

“Big Money Hustlas was shot in New York.[1] Most of the crew disliked the movie and the cast. They went on strike twice, while only a few crew members continued to work.[1] The movie was shot in two months, but went way over budget.[1] Halfway through the movie, Bruce had to pay $100,000 of his own money to continue filming.[1] Island never paid the crew for the last two weeks of work due to the film going so far over budget.[1]

Remember, folks. Just because you can shoot a movie, doesn’t mean you should.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – Big Money Rustlas (2010)

Every now and then, a film is released that’s so edifying to the human soul, so poetic in its dreams that it wraps itself around your heart and lifts your spirit in such a way that is completely unexplainable.

And then there’s Big Money Rustlas, which made me want to hurt this movie so badly. The tragic thing is that I can never hurt it in the way its hurt me. I went toe to toe to brash ugly stupidity, and lost when it reared its hideous head, cornered me, then pummeled me with the lowest common denominator of the human experience.

In the end…I was defeated by this movie. I just couldn’t finish it. I crawled away from it and thought of happier days – the pull of the tide, the laughter of children.  Its hard to say when I’ll feel like me again.

There’s a plot – the members of the Insane Clown Posse, still confused on why no one will take them seriously, put on westerny clothes and pretend they’re making a movie.  There is a plot that I assume was hastily written on a napkin, which was used to wipe off wing sauce, which then fell on the floor. I’m also assuming the editing floor was surprisingly clean after this was deemed good to go.

Here’s some moments. I hated all of them.

Separately, I could tell you what these words mean.  Put together, I just don’t understand.

 

You can make me read all you want, movie, still going to hate you.

Tom Sizemore shows up for no reason. Don’t you have a urine test to fail somewhere?

 

Here’s what you need to know about this scene. Purple and gold are complimentary colors.  Unlike this man and acting talent.

Let’s say you’re involved in a shootout and want to stay hidden. Might I suggest you don’t where bright white clown makeup?

I’d make a horse’s ass joke here, but its just too easy. Also my soul was hurting at the time.

Hey guys – let’s decide who we’re shooting at before we commit to putting this scene on film.

I hate everything about this movie.  I hate the fact that people got up at dawn and brewed coffee, sliced bagels so that the crew would have the energy to film this movie.

Once upon a time, this was a mother’s little miracle. And now I hate everything.

Bridget Nelson and Jimmy J Walker finally together in a scene that nobody asked for, doing things that nobody wanted.

The well crafted dialogue and cinematography blend so perfectly together in this story, its hard to pick up on the subtle racism that peeks out of the blankets of filmmaking, then hits you over the head with a oversized clown hammer.

I…just can’t.  If this had been a real injury, I’d just assume that we were watching God’s judgement unfold in real time.

“Hey guys! What if we have a guy in leather shoot lasers out of his eyes during one part. Because I saw it in a movie once. There’s money in the budget for that, right?”

Everytime a clown laughs, a child’s dream dies a dark humiliating death.

This movie made me wish for the deceptive simplicity and heart strings tugging approach of Convoy.  May this film be translated to film stock then stored in a dark damp place. Like a cheese factory. Or the ample mouth of a member of the Insane Clown Posse.