Every single day of the week, we -- the nation of internet-land -- are constantly bombarded with advertisement, after advertisement, after advertisement. So what do we do about it, huh? Buy more products? Shy away from society? Or better yet, do something like my mate, John Rubino, did -- and poke fun about this nefarious business, in filmic-form? Here, check out a conversation he had only the other day, whilst bashing a marketing executive in the face with his own ego.

1) In your own words, John, how would you describe ‘Vodka Rocks’? And can you compare it to a film or a combination of film?   Vodka Rocks is a wild, culture-jamming satire about branding. Business is war, and war is an action movie. American comedy tends to lean heavily on the fart and dick jokes, but a few films such as "Natural Born Killers" and "Network" take rides into the netherworld of satire. They don't really f*ck with the viewers experience of watching a movie in the same way as Vodka Rocks, though. Might need to throw in a dose of Jodorowsky's "The Holy Mountain".

Sexy Vodka
2) What are your own origins John? Plus what path did you take in life to get into this movie making business?   Origins, wow. Well after the sperm and the egg got together, I grew up back and forth between Europe and the US, majored in philosophy in college, traveled around the world, renovated a couple of buildings, and then made a movie. I'd always directed theater in high school and college, but I never went to film school or made a short before I jumped into my first full-length feature "Lotto Land". Not much of a path. Agreed. More like jump off a cliff and swim.

3) If 'VR' was a song, what song would it be and why?   "I'd like to teach, the world to sing, in perfect harmony" -- Coke has written the history of much of American corporate existence. It's business is based on a product that is 799 parts sugar water to 1 part "essential flavoring". Their product is nothing but advertising, from the first image ad, "delightful, refreshing," that was such a radical departure from the snake oil patent medicine business that spawned the cocaine laced Coca-Cola. Patent law, liability law, franchising business law: all written by Coke. And their jingle was a #1 pop hit. So, VR would take that jingle and pervert the lyrics for fun, to perform a psychic jujitsu.

4) Without a shadow of a doubt, your film is having a laugh with the marketing industry. But did this concept come from a media inspiration or from some other source entirely?   In all honesty, I wrote the script in a fever heat just trying to transcribe a wild acid trip, with a bottle of Jack to help me keep my feet on the ground. If I knew where the story and its jam-packed fireworks show of ideas came from, I don 't think it would have bothered me enough to write it.

5) What are your own aspirations for this project? Plus how did you cast your actors?   My aspiration for the movie is simply to give it a public life, so that those who might be receptive to it have a chance to find it. It's clearly a film that could never get mainstream theatrical distribution, especially now that channels for indie film distribution have dried up. A few people have walked out of screenings of the film, profoundly offended. Others have loved it, and end up thinking and arguing about it. I want more of them to see it.

The actors were cast through weeks of auditions. Again, indie films are generally four people in a room talking. They're not supposed to have 80 speaking parts and hundreds of extras.

6) From what I have seen of it already, ‘Vodka Rocks’ is a very slick production. How was this accomplished?   We followed the usual indie playbook of "beg, borrow, and steal," to which I would add "plan, plan, plan". To satirize advertising, which spends millions of dollars on 30 second TV spots, we had to achieve some approximation of that lush, expensive look. Grainy, smudgey, hand-held dv wasn't going to do it. Much of the credit for the look of the film goes to James Callanan, our director of photography; Paola Ridolfi, our production designer; and Edina Seleskovic and Heather Jordan, our costume designers. Nothing like making a silk purse out of a sow's teat. Russ Terlecki, who produced the film with me, got us access to some really high-end clubs and restaurants, and was crucial to populating the crowd scenes with extras.

Indie films aren't supposed to have car chases and special effects, but somehow we managed to pull it off.

6) If you could assign a smell to your movie, what odor would it be, and again, why?   Perfume: another product that is nothing but advertising. I'll have to piggy-back on the big money and go for Chanel #5 -- the knock-off version sold on Canal St.

8) If you could get a well celebrity – either living or dead – to promote ‘VR’, who would you get, and why would you choose this particular person? Charlie Chaplin. He could pull off fabulous satires like the anti-corporate "Modern Times" and the highly political "The Great Dictator", get blacklisted by Hollywood, and still manage to get people to go see his movies.

9) If there was a message behind this movie, what would it be, and why would you want to convey it?   Well, I'll start out with a line from Vodka Rocks: "If it stinks 'message', you're dead!" Message implies some degree of pontification -- for me -- which is really not what I wanted to do with the film. I want to make people think about how advertising has literally become woven into the fabric of our dreams, how corporate-driven consumerism has infiltrated our desires, and how complicit we all are in that process.

Wow! Thanks for that, John. What you had to say I liked a lot, and what I like a lot I encourage my dear readers to click on. So go ahead. What are you waiting for? Check out ww.vodka-rocks.com today! Plus don't forget to do the tweet-tweet / face-face thing as well. 

VODKA ROCKS - ADS SUCK - AND FILMS SATIRISE VODKA ROCKS - ADS SUCK - AND FILMS SATIRISE Reviewed by David Andrews on January 11, 2013 Rating: 5
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