Johnny America


Film: Sex, Love & Z‑Parts


Sex Love & Z‑Parts (The Pre­quel) is a short film writ­ten and di­rect­ed by Mar­cus D. Rus­sell and pub­lished by Big Hit Pro­duc­tions. The thir­ty minute pre­quel in­tro­duces a siz­able cast of sup­port­ing char­ac­ters and in­tro­duces us to Dis­co and Mitch, two friends who’ve bun­gled the rig­ging of a base­ball game to the dis­plea­sure of a group of gang­sters who dis­cuss busi­ness while play­ing Uno in the back room of a pool hall.

Open­ing se­quence: a voice over asks, “how do you tell a man what you’ve done? How do you say I’m sor­ry?” The cam­era cen­ters on the spin­ning wheel of a sports and the ti­tles progress. Move­ment through the city (pre­sum­ably Los An­ge­les) is im­plied. I no­tice the pic­ture qual­i­ty; it looks to be gen­uine film stock — not DV. The car, a yel­low Dat­sun “Z” breaks down. Its dri­ver (Dis­co) push­es it to a re­pair shop and bick­ers with the own­er about monies al­ready past due. So far, so good.

Sud­den­ly: WHOOSH WHOOSH the heavy hand of an ed­i­tor blares across my liv­ing room in liv­ing stereo as the scene cuts to card-play­ing gang­sters de­cid­ing “how to deal” with a trou­ble­mak­er. I’m pleas­ant­ly re­mind­ed of the ban­ter of Lock, Stock, & Two Smok­ing Bar­rels.

WHOOSH WHOOSH, we see Dis­co the pro­tag­o­nist struck in the back with a 2 x 4. That was fast.

WHOOSH WHOOSH the cam­era cuts to Mitch, who we’ll lat­er find is Dis­co’s best friend, apol­o­giz­ing to a very styl­ish dream-im­age of his girlfriend.

WHOOSH WHOOSH we again see Dis­co bick­er­ing with the re­pair shop own­er, “the least you could do / (in­ex­plic­a­ble jump cut) / is pay me what you owe me / (in­ex­plic­a­ble jump cut).” It’s as if the edit­ing were fil­tered through a cloud of hashish.

This dis­tract­ing WHOOSH WHOOSH tran­si­tion be­tween scenes con­tin­ues as we fol­low Dis­co though a se­ries of amus­ing mis­ad­ven­tures, grad­u­al­ly mak­ing his way to the pool hall to con­front his Uno-play­ing fi­nan­cial back­ers. His friend and co-con­spir­a­tor Mitch si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly makes his way the the pool hall show­down, though his progress through the city is de­pict­ed in on­ly in too-short scenes of the “Z” rac­ing through traf­fic that fail to de­liv­er any sense of ur­gency. The dy­nam­ic be­tween Dis­co and Mitch will pre­sum­ably be one of the cen­tral el­e­ments of the fi­nal full-length fea­ture, yet sur­pris­ing­ly it’s bare­ly ex­plored at in the pre­quel. The pre­quel fin­ish­es with a show­down at the pool hall, a clos­ing voice over, and a clos­ing shot of Mitch and Dis­co es­cap­ing in a speed­ing Z.

The cin­e­mat­ic qual­i­ty of Sex, Love & Z‑Parts is rough­ly on par a cop B‑Grade Hol­ly­wood cop movie from the ear­ly 80s, which puts it above the ma­jor­i­ty of low-bud­get pro­duc­tions. While much of the act­ing is stilled, this sin is for­giv­able giv­en the high cost of the medi­um — there’s sure­ly an up­per lim­it on takes that can be af­ford when every inch of film adds to the pro­duc­tion cost. The ob­tru­sive edit­ing is not so eas­i­ly for­giv­en, and will hope­ful­ly be smoothed over in the full length feature.

I wish there were more sex in Sex, Love & Z‑Parts (there was none).

I wish there were more love in Sex, Love & Z‑Parts (there was little).

I did not see many re­place­ment Dat­sun Z parts in Sex, Love & Z‑Parts (though to be hon­est, their pres­ence was not great­ly missed).

I look for­ward to the fi­nal fea­ture, which will hope­ful­ly in­clude more sex and love, less edit­ing, and more of the row­dy fun hint­ed at in the prequel.

Filed under Films on December 25th, 2006

Care to Share?

Consider posting a note of comment on this item:


Previous Post


Next Post


Join our Irregular Mailing List

For very occasional ramblings, word about new print ephemera, and of course exciting investment opportunities.