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ISSUE #110
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Features

ArrowThe 10 Most Ridiculous Things about the Midterm Elections
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Worst Show on Television
An election night diary
Matt Taibbi

ArrowFEELINÊ HAGGARD
Forget the gay hooker; was Pastor Ted a tweaker?
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowCrush, Kill, Destroy
Screw bipartisanship; it’s time for revenge.
Allan Uthman

Local BEAST

ArrowCult Classic
Pseudoscience and Psychedelics in the Church of Scientology
Ian Murphy

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Terrorist Emboldener

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Borat, Saw III, Flags of Our Fathers, The Santa Clause 3

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Tool Box, Another Einstein Weighs In, Army Ad's Still Got It, A Real American Hero and more

Kino Korner

 


Borat | Saw III | Flags of Our Fathers
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

BoratComedy is a fickle thing, because everyone has their own notion of what’s funny. Some find the show “Reba” to be a hoot. Others like “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I know people (including myself) who find the film Blue Velvet to be a work of not only cinematic, but comedic genius. Whoever you are, one of the funniest things to ever witness is someone slipping and falling in a public scene. Whatever they may be, they’re all blips on the comedy spectrum.

And at the far end of the spectrum we find Borat, the feature-length film based on a character from “Da Ali G Show,” just one of the amusing roles Sasha Baron Cohen plays. Cohen poses as a Kazakh telejournalist who brings his mangled grasp of the English language and jarringly archaic misogynist and anti-Semitic views to the US in order to learn about the American lifestyle. On Cohen’s show, the Borat segments only lasted maybe five minutes as he painstakingly tested the patience of his interviewees before usually offending and eventually being discharged by them. While this in itself is highly entertaining and extremely funny, what was best about Borat was that he was also able to bring forth the ignorance of his mark—all without them catching on.

With the Borat movie, Cohen pulls out all the stops, leaving seemingly no boundaries and taking the words inappropriate, uncompromising, fearless, appalling and shocking to new levels.

Borat is told much like the segments from “Ali G,” with an unsuspecting, well-meaning and somewhat tolerant rube attributing the ensuing debacle to a culture clash and language barriers before pulling the rip cord and excusing themselves altogether. But with the move from few-minute feature to feature length film, Borat enlists a mockumentary plot: He’s going to the US to make a documentary on American culture. While in New York, Borat catches a rerun of “Baywatch” and, under the guise of making a better documentary for their home country, he convinces his morbidly obese producer Azamat they should head cross country to Los Angeles, where his true intentions are to wed Pamela Anderson.  

Along the way, Borat shocks, freaks out and pisses off just about everyone he comes across. Making this all the more entertaining is the fact that he travels through southern states, making his stops at such locations as rodeos, country club dinners, car dealerships, gun shops and my favorite, a Pentecostal church, with only his good nature and naiveté to guide and protect him. As much as I hate the phrase, Borat truly needs to be seen to be believed. Without breaking character, Cohen exposes and proves every possible stereotype throughout his journey without rousing suspicion, which is hilarious in itself, not to mention an accomplishment in comic genius.

Possibly the climax of bad taste and truly disturbing imagery comes from a scene where Borat and Azamat have a disagreement in their hotel room. I won’t spoil it for you but what ensued was something so truly unsettling that I’m not even sure a grisly suicide or self-lobotomy could undo the damage done to me while watching that scene. But the most twisted thing was not necessarily the scene itself, but the fact that I couldn’t look away. Please e-mail me if you can help me get past it.

While Borat is highly entertaining, you may have more fun trying to figure out if all of Cohen’s… victims knew they were being toyed with. The reactions of some are so genuine that they cannot possibly be faked, whereas the responses of others seem to indicate a possible heads up. Not to mention how many times Cohen himself was arrested during the filming of Borat. Regardless of what went down during the making of Borat, one thing’s for sure—it’s going to be a bitch getting another one made with the same results.

 

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