Tromeo And Juliet
I don’t have cable, so my choices are the 3 channels my TV still gets, which means news and sitcoms, both equally vacuous and depressing, or Netflix. So I watch lots of old movies and pilots of shows that aren’t even on the air anymore. This is how I stumbled upon Tromeo and Juliet, directed by Lloyd Kaufman from Troma Entertainment.
We’ve all been subjected to the idiotic lunacy of the Shakespeare original. Now that I’ve seen T&J, the fact that I had to suffer through and try to like the original is justified.
The Troma spin on events is surely more perverted, but it is also more pragmatic. It is set in the gritty punky parts of New York City and is romantic (unless I’m just confusing romantic and pornographic) and hilarious, and tremendously violent. Maybe it’s the sap in me, but thinking back to the two starcross’d idiots and their friends, I can’t help but want my characters to be just a little more thoughtful, even if they impulsively pierce and tattoo things and cause untold violence unto others… Besides, Juliet’s cook is way hotter than her nanny ever was.
And there is at least a reason for the blood feud, in this case, the thieving of a porn flick production company called Lacey Movies (I think) from a certain Monty Que, by his one-time partner, Capulet. So the Ques and the Capulets hate each other. Monty is a drunk, wallowing in his own filth; Capulet is a big shot porn producer who beats his wife and dreams of shoving a butt plug up his daughter.
The film is set up so that the bad guys are clearly identified: it’s the Capulets. There is no real reason for it, the Ques and their supporters are equally depraved, but seem to be more forthright about it. Also, the Capulets are rich, and so the Ques are more sympathetic.
You know what… SPOILERS AHEAD. I can’t do this any other way.
So, we have us Georgie and Sammy; a pair of Capulets, Juliet’s cousins. Says Sammy, as he grabs his sister’s tits, why not a little incest? In a world that’s accepted so many things, lets take that next step and build the rest of it in our image. Georgie beats ‘im up a bit and makes a crack about mutant babies. We leave that there. Sammy’s obviously a freak and sure as can be, he soon gets dead. Good riddance, right?
The plot thickens as Juliet is terrorized by her father, as well as fiancée, who wants her to eat bologna full of raisins and is completely shattered to learn she is macro biotic, also known as strictly vegetarian. After she meets Tromeo at a Halloween party, she is enamored by him despite his goofy cow costume, and they’re soon doing it in a huge plexiglass cage where Juliet’s father chains her up if he hears her screaming because of her night terrors.
Their love is now assured, and they secretly get married by a sympathetic priest who knows what it is to love another… and has a quick day dream of a prancing little boy. Same priest gives Juliet the address of an opium den, where her problems may be solved. Juliet drinks a potion acquired there and is temporarily disfigured. Only her true love sees past her melty looking cow face, and smooches and groping and love win in the end.
But wait! Here is the twist! Turns out Tromeo is actually not Monty’s son! He is the son of Capulet and his wife, who was Monty’s wife first. Ah ha! Despite it all, they can NOT be together! Oh NOES. But here is where practicality kicks in. “Fuck it,” beatifically declares Juliet, ”We’ve come this far.” And they drive off in a convertible to have mutant baies.
And this is where I truly love the movie. Not only am I siding with the breaking of this taboo of taboos, but I am being forced to love two characters for engaging in insect, while hating another pair of siblings for even considering it. Troma, you bastards, you’ve twisted my psyche. So I love Tromeo, I love Juliet, and I even love their horrible mutant children, which you get to see in the epilogue.
Excellent flick, with some references to at least the one other Troma work I’ve seen, Toxic Avenger, which has since hit Broadway as a musical, with some unexpected success.