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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Giuseppe Makes a Movie [Blu-ray]


(Adam Rifkin, 2014)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Blump International Films

Video: CineliciousPics



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:22:08.456  

Disc One Size: 18,307,871,331 bytes

Disc Two Size: 19,506,099,116 bytes

Feature Size: 17,638,490,112 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.81 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 14th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 matted to 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English, None



Disc 1

• Audio commentary with director Adam Rifkin & producer Mike Plante

Trailer (3:08)

Disc 2
Bill Nowlin Lives - 
Giuseppe interviews Bill Nowlin  (14:06)
• "The Fifth Wheel" TV pilot by Giuseppe Andrews (22:10)
Directed By Giuseppe - clips from Giuseppe's other films (5:11)

Garbanzo Gas (1:15:04)

Schlong Oysters (Extras Scenes from Giuseppe Makes a Movie) (25:02)

Visual Medium Observation - Giuseppe Andrews interview (28:56)



Blu-ray Disc one



"Garbanzo Gas" from Blu-ray # 2



Description: While the rest of America slept, DIY filmmaker/musician Giuseppe Andrews (a one-time teen actor in Independence Day and Detroit Rock City) has made over 30 experimental features with titles like Doily’s Summer of Freak Occurrences, Trailer Town and Utopia Blues. Set in some demented alternate universe (i.e. Ventura, California), they are populated by real-life alcoholics and drug addicts, trash-talking senior citizens and trailer park residents dressed in cow outfits and costume-shop wigs, acting out booze-fueled vignettes of severe psychosis filtered through Giuseppe’s John Waters-meets-Harmony Korine-meets-Werner Herzog sensibility.

Director Adam Rifkin (Look, The Dark Backward) creates a wildly surreal, outrageously funny and strangely touching portrait of a truly Outsider Artist inhabiting a world few of us even know exists, as he follows Giuseppe and his seriously impaired troupe on the production of his latest 2-day opus, Garbanzo Gas, starring Vietnam Ron as a Cow given a weekend reprieve from the slaughterhouse at the local motel. Beyond the sun-stroked Theater of the Absurd madness of Giuseppe’s vision, there is a remarkable and endearing sense of family among the director, his amiably bonkers dad Ed, patient girlfriend Mary, Sir Bigfoot George and the rest of his surreal Trailer Park rep company. As skate-punk Spit sagely observes about Giuseppe’s movies: “They’re just like, nothing really makes any sense, and I don’t know, that’s kinda how reality is, and nobody really cares to accept that.

The stranger-than-fiction documentary explores the Giuseppe universe, showing how the self-taught filmmaker captures an unexpected level of humanism and creates a family unit for a group of people who need one.

An Official Selection of Hot Docs 2014, Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) and the Rooftop Films Summer Series.



The Film:

More ragtag video diary than incisive feature documentary, "Giuseppe Makes a Movie" takes a swift, at times riotous walk on the wild side with the ultimate independent filmmaker, Giuseppe Andrews. Never heard of him? Let's just say this guy's cinematic oeuvre makes the early output of John Waters and Andy Warhol look like the work of François Truffaut.

Directed by Adam Rifkin ("The Dark Backward"), the doc is set around the making of Andrews' 2007 trash opus "Garbanzo Gas." It involves, of all things, a cow given a weekend pass from the slaughterhouse.

Rifkin introduces us to the wildly fringy world of the Ventura-based Andrews; his dad and devoted producer — and onetime Bee Gees guitarist — "Big Ed"; and their stock company of so-called actors. These "performers," who go by such names as Vietnam Ron, Sir "Bigfoot" George and Spit, are an array of marginalized folks including the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts and ex-cons.

Working for booze, fast food and a few bucks, they're fed their nonsensical, often über-foul dialogue by Andrews as he points, shoots and races on. ("Garbanzo" was proudly filmed in two days.).

Excerpt from the LA Times located HERE

Giuseppe Makes a Movie, Adam Rifkin's eye-opening portrait of trailer-park underground filmmaking, reveals its moral character about halfway through, when Tiffany Naylor—one of many unknown eccentrics employed for on-screen purposes by DV-tape moviemaking wizard Giuseppe Andrews—confides of her musical ambitions to the camera. "I wanna be able to touch peoples' lives with it," she says before launching into an a cappella rendition of one of her songs in front of her fellow cast members. Her singing is occasionally off-key and warbly, but Rifkin hangs on this impromptu performance until it becomes an endearing display of vulnerability, even letting the song become a non-diegetic score to the subsequent scene. For a less sensitive filmmaker, this soul-bearing moment might have led to mockery; imagine a premature, dismissive hard cut, if not elision of the scene altogether. But Rifkin's concentrated inclusion of it here suggests the fundamental compassion with which he approaches all of his subjects—even characters as goofily named as Vietnam Ron and Spit.

Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Giuseppe Makes a Movie comes to a package of 2 Blu-rays from CineliciousPics and will remind many of Chris Smith's 1999 documentary American Movie chronically low-budget filmmaking at its most 'exposed state'. Giuseppe Andrews' reference to important filmmakers (aka Bunuel) supports this comparison to American Movie. This is in 1080i - which I presume is how it was shot - so there are some 'trailing' (combing) artifacts during camera motion, but, truly, this film is less about video quality and more about it's content. This Blu-ray image is weak, but so was its original source. The versatility of the format adds the vérité exposure that subject embraces and few will make issue with its appearance once they see the feature.


















Audio :

The audio is only in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 channel but that is okay because it is almost exclusively dialogue and anything too pristine probably wouldn't suit the impression the filmmakers were achieving. It's clear and clean with only natural scattering and little in the way of remarkable music (Tiffany Naylor singing left an impression) to offset the speaking. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc as confirmed by the back cover.


Extras :

CineliciousPics make this a 2 Blu-ray package with plenty of extras (although both discs are single-layered and all the content would have fit on one dual-layered BD). So on the feature disc #1 we get an audio commentary with director Adam Rifkin & producer Mike Plante which, if you enjoyed the film, is more of the same amusing, grassroots, discussion. There is also a 3-minute trailer. On Blu-ray #2 we get 1/4 hour of Giuseppe interviewing Bill Nowlin, 22-minutes of the "The Fifth Wheel - Naked Dating" 2001 TV pilot by Giuseppe Andrews, for those curious the entire of 2007's Garbanzo Gas with Walt Dongo, Miles Dougal, Tiffany Naylor, Bill Nowlin etc. plus a 'telling' 5-minutes of brief clips from Giuseppe's other films entitled "Directed By Giuseppe". Schlong Oysters is 25-minutes of, erratic, extras scenes from Giuseppe Makes a Movie and the 1/2 hour Visual Medium Observation is another Giuseppe Andrews interview - this time dressed in costume.


Blu-ray Disc one


Blu-ray Disc two


I get Giuseppe Makes a Movie - I do, and I like it.  Giuseppe Andrews is a rare breed - those who live for their art without compromise. Nothing, including critical analysis, will stand in his way of the creation process. It is as real to him as breathing. The filmmaker I can most readily compare to Giuseppe is Ed Wood Jr. . Seeing the value in his own work - is his only essential. There are probably plenty of individuals like Giuseppe in the Art world, but he just happens to have evolved in the cinematic medium. I bet he is a lot of fun at parties - I'd love to meet him one day. Deluded? Aren't we all. The CineliciousPics Blu-ray package gives us something NEW - and that alone gives it value. I will watch this again - and show to friends! 

Gary Tooze

July 6th, 2015


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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