Existo | Chicago Reader

Existo

Bruce Arntson (a veteran of the Ernest movies) stars as the title character, a retro-beat performance artist who returns to his southern Baptist hometown with his comrade in revolution (Jackie Welch) to initiate a parade of outrageous antics and pronouncements. Arntson and director Coke Sams collaborated on the script for this tongue-in-cheek parody of the culture wars, supplying many pop-culture references and leaving few cliches unexploited, from the underground intelligentsia who suggest The Dirty Dozen to a giant penis reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange to a pompous televangelist modeled after former education secretary Bill Bennett. The satirical jabs grow tiresome after a while, but Arntson's infectious, mostly R & B sound track carries the action along, climaxing in a neo-swing song-and-dance finale in which libidos run wild as the hipsters celebrate victory over the capitalist pigs. This 1999 film, shot in Nashville with local actors and musicians, clearly aspires to cult status, though it may be too bewildering and gentle for that. With the late Jim Varney. 90 min.

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