Great Shot of the Week
Amazon Women on the Moon (1987)
(Segment) Dir. Joe Dante
This week’s scene comes from a different kind of source: a mostly terrible film. Amazon Women on the Moon was pitched as a pseudo-sequel to Kentucky Fried Movie, another mess of a comedic anthology film, certainly not without its brilliant touches. Amazon Women on the Moon collected many directors, ranging from the well-known to more obscure TV directors. The segment I’d like to point out though is a brilliant one from Joe Dante, the eternally underrated auteur of Gremlins 2: The New Batch and Matinee, just to name my two favorites. (Yes, I am absolutely serious).
This segment shows Dante’s deft handling of pop-culture criticism mixed with great re-appropriation of film styles, in this instance two riffs on late-night TV standards; A Siskel & Ebert-esque film criticism show and a bawdy comedic roast, both revolving around an average suburbanite Harvey Pitnik, and his eventual demise. In both scenes, Dante revels in over-the-top commentary, a style that came to its apex with Gremlins 2, and he creates an uncomfortable collision of the media invading personal life, something we have definitely only embraced more.
But, if nothing else, juxtaposing Rip Taylor’s corny mugging with a grieving and horrified widow is comedic gold. Enjoy.