“If you want to live, come with me – and keep in harmony”
Yes, I troll Netflix, the cable channels, and DVDs.
I am like the cinema version of Dostoyevsky’s “Underground Man,” in the sense that I avoid the bright boulevards of major studio releases and hunt in the back alleys of ultra-Indies and foreign films.
I’ll watch just about anything except gore and slasher flicks, and these I’ll even watch when I can fast forward through the blood letting, or I have Diego Nairinsky, my faithful celluloid Kato and digital Tonto, at my side instructing me from his prior viewing when to shut tight my eyes, shove my fingers into my ears and commence humming “Buffalo Gal Won’t You Come Out Tonight.”
(Yes I am that big a pussy about gore on screen, and no, I wasn’t always. Long story. Perhaps another time.)
However I have endured the unendurable in my cinematic quests; Zombie Hamlets, illogical prestidigitators, murder mysteries, mangled remakes of beloved classics, big screen treatments of bad 70’s sit-coms, overblown metaphysical, anti-capitalism westerns dripping religious symbolism, Seth Rogan flicks.
But what makes trudging through all the atrocious auteur-muck and studio-sewage worthwhile are those occasions I stumble over a small gem like The History of Future Folks.
Okay, start with that bloated Sci-Fi muddle Independence Day, only imagine it doesn’t s-u-c-k like an asthmatic Hoover. Now take away Will Smith, Jeff Goldbloom, the guy who was good on Taxi, the gal who’d be better on Battlestar Galactica, and anyone who’d done a major Broadway musical. Then make your big name star Dee Snider.
Next strip away the huge budget and over the top special effects by some schlep who’d never forgive you if you snatched just one beef rib off his Dr. Hogly Wogly jumbo platter.
Then for space helmets use plastic buckets and for the evil alien predator find a medium priced mask that would be on sale the day after Halloween.
Finally imagine it isn’t a laptop that saves humanity from annihilation at the hands of alien invaders but bluegrass music!
And there, more or less, you have “The History of Future Folks”, written and directed by J. Anderson Mitchell.
The “Future Folks” in question are Nils d’Aulaire and Jay Klaitz two performers who had performed together in the Off-Off-Off-Off some more -Off, a little to the right -Off Broadway musical * “Who is Wilford Brimley?”
After the show’s closing d’Aulaire and Klaitz began developing an act featuring the music of two wayfaring space aliens from the planet Hondo. Not so much Hans and Chewbacca as an interstellar Martin and Lewis.
Performing in the East Village, and other prestigious venues like the Westminster Dog Show dressed in duck taped space suits and wash bucket helmets they spun back stories for their characters while composing their songs for the better part of a decade.
Mitchell has fashioned a sweet tale from those basic building blocks of two would be Terminators sent to earth bent on the destruction of mankind in order to supply their doomed race with a new home world only to be stopped in their deadly doings when they find themselves exposed to music – something utterly unknown on their world.
They also meet a couple of hot babes (Julie Ann Emery and April L. Hernandez) which certainly distracts them.
For all the bottom basement production values and a few performances that would have any RADA alumni chasing the guilty parties through the bleak night with burning torches and pitchforks, The History of Future Folks scores big on the “Hearts-in-the-right-place-O-meter” and the “Sweetness-Scale.” – What? The guy who ducks down among the discarded pop corn bags and Raisinet boxes whenever someone with a chain saw and wearing a hockey mask is on screen, also has a “Sweetness-Scale?” This surprises you?
You most likely will need to lower your bar a bit to embrace specific aspects of The History of Future Folks. However, the bar that will probably knock you on your hindquarters is the music the duo yodels.
The melodies by d’Aulaire are toe-tapping delights which he and Klaitz sell with stellar – actually best to say “interstellar” aplomb.
“Over the Moon” the love sonnet, and “Sting Theory” about the giant insects on Hondo who are “pretty polite and never bite” are stunningly crafted airs that carry one up to the stratosphere and beyond, revealing, beneath the wash pail space, gear two remarkably talented musicians.
* Apparently the classic tale of a man meteorite rise to the “pinnacle of Hollywood” fame and his toppling from the lofty heights. Sorta like a Greek tragedy only with cereal box icons instead of Gods. The show was the conceived and staged by Jon Bulette, Klaitz and d’Aulaire, with d’Aulaire supplying the tunes.
The History of Future Folk
Directed by: J. Anderson Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker
Written by: Jeremy Kippwalker and J. Anderson Mitchell
Composer: Timothy Williams
Cast Includes: Nils d’Aulaire, Jay Klaitz, Julie Ann Emery, April L. Hernandez, Onata Aprile, Dee Snider, Nathan Hinton, Robbie Smith, Paul Juhn, Anthony J. Ribustello, Ariel Estrada, Mario D’Leon, Robinson Aponte, Nancy Ticotin, Eddy Privitzer, José Ramón Rosario, Steve Greenstein, Rich Zeroth, Karen Ziemba, Jared Burke
Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy, Musical
Rating: No Rating
Length: 85 minutes
Official website: futurefolk.com
Available mostly everywhere as well as : Netflix • iTunes • Amazon