DIRECTED BY: Paul Andresen
FEATURING: Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope
PLOT: Sugar Wolf, son of slain sheriff Grizzly Wolf, returns to restore law and order to the town of Mudbug, now in the grips of gambling baron Baby Chips.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Despite the fact that both hero and villain wear “insane” clown makeup and speak in hip-hop patois, it’s the existence of this movie that’s really strange, not its content.
COMMENTS: If you assumed there was no way a Western performed by washed-up white rap stars in greasepaint could fail to deliver some sort of camp value, then you’ve seriously underestimated the lack of wit of the bizarre cultural phenomenon known as the Insane Clown Posse. (So you’ll know what you’re getting into, in the DVD commentary, clown Shaggy 2 Dope confesses that, to him, a closeup of a horse’s anus is the funniest feces ever [to paraphrase]). Starting from a script that would have been rejected by Troma studios as too lowbrow, tasteless and juvenile, Big Money Rustlas ambles its way onto the screen with all the charm of a syphilitic cowpoke and all comedy value of Eminem doing a vaudeville routine. Since they’re merely inserting their generic gangsta personae into a generic Western revenge tale, the insane clowns need to stuff the movie full of gags to keep up the interest for ninety minutes; but the jokes overwhelmingly fall flat. The incongruity of two dudes in Stetson hats and evil harlequin makeup speaking dialogue like “give him his f***in’ money you platypus lookin’ motherf***er!” only goes so far. The novelty value fades away after about fifteen or twenty minutes, and Shaggy and Violent’s boastful, grating personalities take over instead. To be fair, there are a few decent jokes in Rustlas: Sugar Wolf’s mother, the town prostitute, also wears clown makeup, and there’s an Indian who sits by the town entrance with a jar of corn liquor and changes the Mudbug population sign every time a villager is killed. There are also isolated weird moments to jerk you awake: a gunfighter who inexplicably shoots laser beams from his eyeballs, and an S&M whipping scene with a mini-dominatrix lashing a clown wearing a baby bonnet. Most of what little entertainment value there is here, however, comes from watching the parade of near-celebrity cameos: besides relatively big roles for cult star Jason Mewes (the “Jay” of “Jay and Silent Bob,”) and retired dwarf porn star Bridgette Powerz, we also catch sight of Todd Bridges, Jimmy Walker, Brigitte Neilsen, wrestler Jimmy Hart, Dustin Diamond, Vanilla Ice, Tom Sizemore (!), and Ron Jeremy (it just wouldn’t be a crappy low budget comedy without a Hedgehog sighting). Most of the cast is made up of rap “stars” unknown outside of the Insane Clown Posse galaxy, guys like Monoxide, Boondox and (I kid you not) Blaze Ya Dead Homie. There is no rap music outside of the opening credits. More surprisingly, in a movie packed with profanity, violence, homophobia, toilet humor, and macho posturing, there is no nudity; this must be because of the Insane Clown Posse’s enormous respect for bitches.
This movie is a more expensive remake of/prequel to Insane Clown Posse’s 2000 effort Big Money Hustlas (which told the same basic story in a faux-blaxploitation style). Insane Clown Posse is a rap duo who had some success in the late 1990s. Until this movie, I was unaware that they still had a dedicated cult following (emphasis on “cult”) a decade later. ICP have created a small media empire for their fans, consisting of a stable of all-white rappers on their own “Psychopathic Records” label, an internet radio station, and a pro wrestling venture. Followers call themselves “juggalos,” emulate their hero’s makeup, and have their own private lingo revolving around “clown love.” If this internet petition is to be believed, some of them consider being a juggalo to be a religion. There have been so many violent incidents involving ICP fans (including the stoning of former bisexual reality star turned failed rapper Tila Tequila) that “juggalos” have been defined as a gang in some school districts. The fact that the mediocre music of these two arrested adolescents could inspire such slavish devotion in thousands of susceptible youth, without the band having scored a charting single since 1998, is far weirder than anything Shaggy and Violent could ever put on film.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“…what the movie is essentially about is how much more awesome the two guys in clown makeup are than anyone else they encounter. That’s the movie’s worldview: women are objects, and anyone not wearing clown makeup should hand over their money and then be killed, presumably for not wearing clown makeup. Or maybe because they’re ‘insane.’ The Rational Clown Posse would never act that way.”–Patrick Bromley, DVD Verdict (DVD)