The Quaids serve up a tawdry night, complete with Shakespeare, swinging members, and Star Whackers

Comments9

First of all, that was no fake cock. “The bullets are blank and the penis is prosthetic,” said Evi Quaid, in a brief introduction to her work-in-progress, the “avant garde cash-cow docudrama” Star Whackers. Yes, the bullets weren’t real, but the swinging member was all Randy Quaid.

Readers might wonder, as did the enormously excited audience that turned out for An Evening With the Quaids at the RIO Theatre on Good Friday, exactly what the Quaids mean by “avant garde cash-cow docudrama”. In this case, it means the super-low-budget spectacle of an occasionally great Hollywood actor being pursued by a hitman (also Quaid) through a craggy Texan landscape with his wang out, reciting Shakespeare.

If you squinted your eyes and knocked back at least three PBRs, it came off like student Alejandro Jodorowsky, mingled with an acid western by Crispin Glover, injected into Bring Me the Head of Randy Quaid. The Shakespearean parts, including bits of Julius Caesar, Henry VI Part 3, Richard III, and Hamlet, were delivered rather beautifully by the film’s star, even as he was simultaneously shoving a wig between his ass cheeks in an early scene. But this most tolerant of crowds was eventually booing the fifth or sixth consecutive and increasingly bug-eyed rendition of “To be or not to be,” delivered in such extreme close-up that you could almost taste the viscous white spittle on Quaid’s beard.

Anyone looking for insight into the couple’s juicy real-life tale of extortion, conspiracy, and murder, meanwhile, was left empty-handed. So much for the “docu” part of “docudrama”. It hardly makes for a lucid account of things to strap a deer skull to Randy’s head and have him intone, “Quaid the American male human is retarded. We intend to keep him that way,” although it is sort of entertaining in a midnight, cinema-of-cruelty type way. The same goes for scenes of the hitman trying to extract information on Quaid’s whereabouts from various donkeys, or playing target practice with a picture of Quaid at his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony.

A rowdy and fractious Q&A followed four songs by Quaid’s band the Fugitives (they played “Star Whackers” twice), and we were cautioned that the couple would answer only “cool” questions. One unimpressed viewer stated, “I believed I was going to see a documentary; I would like to hear some facts,” and then upbraided the couple for exploiting Heath Ledger’s death. “Please be honest next time,” she said, before striding out of the theatre. This, naturally, was considered “uncool”, as was another punter’s inquiry, “Why would you think you’re safe in Canada?”

So what we really got from an Evening with the Quaids was a dodge. Talking about the disastrous musical in Seattle that precipitated their troubles, Randy muttered, “I think the producers had the insurance scam running on that one. I got a lot of flak from those assholes.” But, typically, there was nothing to support this hard-boiled scenario, and any further probing would have doubtless been “uncool”.

The shame of it – going out on a limb, here – is that the Quaids’ story of extortion is hardly implausible. Tinseltown is a fucking gilded sewer to anybody with eyes to see and a copy of Indecent Exposure and Hollywood Babylon. The media has also behaved disgracefully throughout the entire thing. Even if the couple is simply crazy, why is RadarOnline and its ilk so vicious and tasteless about it? Shouldn’t this raise questions about the relationship between Hollywood’s power structure and the gossip industry?

The Quaids are also to be applauded for donating the night’s proceeds to the Canadian Council for Refugees, Randy was a cheerful presence on stage, and he will always be a fine actor. But it was a tawdry night, and the whole saga is starting to look like a Joaquin Phoenix-sized put-on, at best. Some of us came looking for answers. But, to paraphrase Evi, there was no smoking gun. Just blanks.

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Plaisham
Ok...so the guy is off the wall...but he is NOT joining a gang of immigrants from some oriental place. He is NOT part of our home grown gun toting steel encased cars to deal drug. He is NOT milking the welfare system for free everything just because he got off some boat.
He could possibly actually be a contributor. already is actually...600 hired for show and promotion...donating percentage of profits...YES profits. Not a welfare cheque.
I say we keep him. at least he is harmless entertainment. Tasteless..yes Tawdry..yes Silly...yes But geesh so are our singing political canditates.
7
5
Rating: +2
Jacques Lalonde
I loved the Quaids! I love your description: "Cinema of Cruelty"...I used/created the term "Cinema Of Torture" because at times the film actually felt like Chinese water torture but in a strangely brilliant sort of way. The audience was an amazing blend of people chatting through the film "Why am I still watching this? Why aren't we leaving?" and people who REALLY wanted to experience it: "Shut the ##%* up, I'm trying to watch." I am thrilled to add Randy and Evi to our Cultural scene here. I hope they stay forever. Oh....and I agree...I think Randy was showing us the real Beef....I'm not sure why she said it wasn't....maybe she was just trying to keep people away from her man!
9
5
Rating: +4
East Van Arts
Regardless of the peculiarity of Randy Quaid's personal life these days, one over-riding fact remains: he is an actor of tremendous gift and versatility.

From the silly cousins and Amish bowlers and space alien jet pilots one might not expect to have seen his Joe Aguirre. This was a brooding and malign character, propelling much of the fear and foreboding, in the masterpiece 'Brokeback Mountain'. He conveyed the menace and coarseness of Aguirre to a degree that was pitch-perfect.

It may have helped to have Ang Lee as his director, but somewhere Mr Quaid found that character and made us believe. No actor can claim higher ground.
4
7
Rating: -3
Mr. Beer N. Hockey
More proof, as if any more were needed, that Randy Quaid is the perfect choice to replace Don Cherry on Hockey Night In Canada.
7
7
Rating: 0
starwhackerz
This is really a great summary of the event. I had to tweet about it @starwhackerz

Thanks for following this.
6
6
Rating: 0
Chet
He seems to be reprising his role from Quick Change ..
( methinks it's a deversionary tactic so CBSA doesn't hand him over @ Blaine)
6
7
Rating: -1
somegal
I think the Quaids are most entertaining eccentrics and a great addition to Canada. In Vancouver, they fit right in and are way more fun to watch than the endless bloody election coverage.
PS - The biggest loonie (Canadian reference) of the pair is wife Evi and she is a bonafide Canadian citizen! It makes me proud!
8
9
Rating: -1
Two Faces Have I
And they can both make you laugh, even when facing the dreaded starwackers I get the feeling the Quaids will get the last laugh.
I am thrilled that the Quaids have made Canada their home and look forward to any performances that the couple puts on because I want to be in on some of those laughs.
6
6
Rating: 0
Corinne from the Rio
The fact that the Quaids have such a great sense of humour after the press continually mocks them is proof of their enduring creative character and good spirit. Evi Quaid sat in the audience and watched the entire film and she LOVED the audience response. The next day Evi told me re: the woman who wanted the facts - "I actually wish I had said "thank you" to the lady who wanted her money back she gave me the gift that people want the facts in canada and that is the first time I have ever felt like they want the truth this is great." - Evi Quaid. The Quaids have informed me Evi already has over 60 hrs of documented facts about Star Whackers, she will deliver the Star Whacker Documentary you've been waiting for coming soon...
10
5
Rating: +5
Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.