NO... NOT ANOTHER JACKHOLE INDUSTRIES PRODUCTION
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Guess I'm just copping an attitude, having been regaled once too often around the fireplace with the tale of how Jackhole Industries gave my great-grandfather his pink slip in 1916, thereby sending him straight to the front lines, but no matter. It's all ancient history now. Anyway, for those of you burnt out on films like "Ford Fairlane" and "V.I. Warshawski" this might serve as a nice antidote. The setting: Chicago, Chi-town, where the nights are long and the dialogue is hard-boiled. The shamus: Stone Fury, a down-on-his-luck detective who specializes in lost sports memorabilia.
Taking its place among the recent wave of reality shows, reality-based comedy shows (Dom Joly's "Trigger Happy TV" and "Reno!911") and DVD Making Of Extras, 'Windy City Heat' is, as it turns out, a massive practical joke on one Perry Caravello. (gotta make sure I get his name right!) Right away, we see that Perry is a bit delusional, self-centered, self-absorbed, anti-Semitic, strangely all-American (love that acceptance speech at the end), dangerously in denial about his physique, but you can't help but agree that he is indeed just as good as Steven Seagal ever was, and truly the only actor on the planet who can play Stone Fury. If only his fortunes had turned out a little differently in life he could be the current U.S. Ambassador to Italy. We see some of the early formative years of Perry on a cable access show with his friends Tony Barbieri ("Mole"), who is the Mike Schank to Perry's Borchardt in this tale. There's also friend Don Barris, who may or may not be related to Chuck Barris, due to Caravello auditioning for something called "Extreme Gong Show". Together they have been nicknamed "The Big Three" by Jimmy Kimmel, current CEO of Jackhole Industries.
While being a treat for connoisseurs of pranks 'Windy City Heat' does provide a nice inside-the-beltway look at Hollywood, showing everything from trailer politics to the high-tech green screen shoots, and it is kind of nice to see Bob Goldthwait back on his directorial feet after Shakes the Clown.
There's been some debate as to whether or not Perry was in on the joke. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, and while he comes off as pretty dense and na´ve, I don't think he was. He at least knew the Charlton Heston guy wasn't really Charlton Heston. Apparently he's done bit parts in movies before; did he really think he was actually going to have sex with Jiggly Wrigley? Or that a feature length movie can really be filmed in only eight days? And why would they be filming his audition for the Making Of for the DVD if there was a chance he wouldn't get the part? As of this writing, they still don't interview people for the DVD who didn't pass the audition. I bet even the most sheltered Midwestern would question the existence of a "President of Show Business".
On the other hand, who among us wouldn't put up with what Perry puts up with if we actually thought it was our big break? Or for most of the rest of us, at least not question the validity of what's happening? So far Perry's story doesn't have a happy ending, as he hasn't found another job yet, nor a niche within the ranks of Jackhole Industries: no job on Jimmy Kimmel Live, no role on Crank Yankers.. guess that's about all they could offer him at this point.
I hesitate to recommend Windy City Heat to close friends due to the rampant sexual raunchiness, but perhaps it's time we all got used to it and got inoculated for it, right? Why fight it any longer?
The filmmakers say that this project was about eleven years in the making. They certainly prove themselves to be master pranksters, but there's also an important economics lesson here: Caravello at one point is asked to guard a snack table set up for the Japanese investor. People need something worth guarding in this life, even someone as self-centered as Caravello. For most people it's a decent job, a decent house, good health, friends and family, and for some it's a snack table that could affect your immediate employment in a film. Maybe someday economists will factor in decent standards of living into their formulas that end up being used against us by governments and corporations.
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Official website: Windy City Heat
-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan
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