DIRECTED BY: Ivan Tabifulinyu (as Charlie White)
FEATURING: Svetlana Avrora (as Lindsay Linton), Lazar Sukhorukov, Ray Romano (as Andrei Romanov)
PLOT: This film has not been translated into English, and in fact I suspect the dialogue is delivered in a made-up language (the alien “speaks” in a voice that sounds like out-of-pitch alto saxophone with a broken reed fed through a vocoder), so the plot is somewhat difficult to figure out, to say the least. It appears to involve an alien ad executive living in Tallinn who accidentally causes a woman at a cocktail party to miscarry by touching her swollen belly, and is then kidnapped and put through various psychological tortures by a gang before escaping to an orgy where he is eventually ripped limb from limb.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: I never thought I would say this, but this thing is actually too weird and incomprehensible to even be considered for the List. There is a reason this movie has never been picked up by a distributor, and it’s not just because Ray Romano’s agent reportedly asked to have all the negatives burned. This is pure weird-for-the-sake-of-weird nonsense, and we refuse to have any part in promoting it by placing it on the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies of All Time.
COMMENTS: Nobody will love Raymond anymore after seeing him cheer on the dairy-based psychological torture of an innocent lifeform in Mushy Vegetables, an irritating Estonian exercise in arthouse provocation. What was family-friendly comedian Ray Romano (working under the obvious pseudonym Andrei Romanov) thinking when he agreed to take a small part as an alien-terrorizing sadist in this Baltic bowel movement? My theory is that it was a short-sighted tax dodge, a way to write off a vacation in Tallinn as a work expense. At any rate, I lend no credence to the rumor that his people are responsible for Mushy Vegetables‘ unavailability; the movie is quite capable of being ignored on its own lack of merit. Crisp cinematography and clever creature design on the genitalia-free E.T. are the only positives in this utterly pretentious science-fiction experiment from conceptual artist Tabifulinyu, who should have stuck to his original enterprise of creating a line of women’s lingerie fashioned from his toenail clippings held together by hot glue. Film making is not in the artist’s blood, as evidenced by his decision to forgo an intelligible story for a series of tableaux designed to shock and irritate the viewer. Key moments include an grotesque miscarriage scored to an avant-garde jazz rendition of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” an alien whose digestive process is reversed (he sits on a recently-used toilet and suctions up the deposit, pooping eggs from his mouth), and a final (explicitly pornographic) orgy sequence where the alien is torn limb from limb (the blood that spatters on the naked revelers looks like beef gravy). All of this is far more nauseating to watch than it reads on the page, and the sickening feeling isn’t helped any by the screetchy soundtrack which mixes incessant nonsense blabber with wailing horns. Many of our readers will doubtlessly take the description above as a dare to watch the film, but trust me: you can’t sit through this one.
I received a DVD-R of this film personally mailed to me from Estonia by the director, with postage due. Thanks a lot, Estonian jerkface. Although the still reprinted above has circulated in the Internet for years, there’s hasn’t been any interest in pirating or bootlegging this impenetrable and grotesque movie. You won’t find Mushy Vegetables available for download on any torrent site. For all I know, the copy previously in my possession (I threw it out with this morning’s trash) was the last copy of the film in existence, other than the director’s master. The Cremaster series is readily available by comparison.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“Absolute crap, like what would come out of the other end of Harmony Korine if he’d eaten an expired Christ allegory for dinner.”–Lou Ebert (Roger Ebert’s less well-known, less successful, estranged half-brother), “Lou’s Views” (private communication)