Sunday, August 24, 2008

TV Carnage Presents A Sore For Sighted Eyes (2005)

A DVD mix-tape of assorted oddities and weirdness, often edited together in an ironic way, the TV Carnage series is compiled in Toronto, Ontario by a gentleman named Derrick Beckles, and features what is essentially a time capsule collage of pop culture.

A Sore For Sighted Eyes is the fifth in these series of DVDs (all of which are not for sale for copyright reasons, but can be ordered for free off the TV Carnage website), and the irony level is turned up to eleven as we're treated to clips of television preachers, Mr T, erotic exercise videos, Nickelback flogging for McDonalds, some of the worst music videos you'll ever see, and (my personal favorite) clips from the outrageously awful TV movie Riding On The Bus With My Sister (starring Rosie O Donnell) paired with an old John Ritter film. Things don't venture into mondo territory with this collection, and ample time has obviously gone into pairing clips together for maximum efficiency.

But, as with the best mix tapes, these clips are also collected to make a point. My favorite being the beforementioned Nickleback clip where a Muchmusic interviewer asks Chad Kroeger if he ever expected to be working for McDonalds and his denials are repeated again and again as clips of him posing with Ronald McDonald are interspersed. Ridiculous news clips abound as well, from politicians attempting to rap, to Colin Powell singing YMCA and breakdancers performing for the pope. The hour and half long program doesn't pause long enough for the viewer to get bored, as it's truly an assault on the senses.

As would be expected for a collection like this, the video and audio quality varies wildly. The sources of the clips seem to be very inconsistent, but everything is very watchable and the irratic video quality actually adds to the sense of the viewer seeing a pastiche from all over.

There's a full length commentary for the film included, and it's entertaining, though the choice to have the commentary at the same volume level of the clips can make things a little difficult to understand at times. The commentary is definitely jokey, though it's a lot more interesting when it takes some time to talk about the sources of the various clips.

There are a few interesting extras to round things off. Van Bush Barf is the infamous video of George Bush Sr. vomiting on the Japanese Prime Minister (in 1992) combined with Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher", Snake Explains features actor Stefan Brogren who played Archibald 'Archie' 'Snake' Simpson on Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High/Degrassi: The Next Generation doing a commentary over his appearance on the 80s Canadian game show Talk About in an attempt to explain his embarrasing performance (an edited portion of which is included in the main feature).

Bush League features some clips of George Bush Jr., and finally The Greatest Song Ever treats the viewer to the full version of Jan Terri's song "Losing You". It really is just astoundingly bad, but still quite endearing in its own quirky way. Terri looks like a refugee from a John Waters film, and appears to have forgotten most of the lyrics as she desperately attempts to sing along.

The DVD was compiled in classic party-tape style, and would be a great thing to have in the background at a gathering of like-minded individuals. A Sore For Sighted Eyes might be a little much to take in one viewing, but Beckles has a keen eye for the ridiculous of our media age, and has put something together that is at once entertaining and somewhat thoughtful in its own twisted way.

A Sore For Sighted Eyes (and other TV Carnage DVDs) can be purchased through

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