Big Money Rustlas review by Matt Fuerst


I've always been attracted to movies outside the mainstream. I remember around 1994 "hearing" about a little movie called Reservoir Dogs, and following along with my parents going out to video store, hoping to ferret out a copy. I realize most of the above sentence seems like nonsense in a 2010 social media world. But 1994 was like another time. 1994 to 2010 for movies is like 1840 to 2010 for the butter industry. What I'm talking about is akin to someone fondly remembering how they used to milk the cow, churn the butter for hours, and then finally enjoying a sweet sweet pat of "8 hour butter" on some toast. But I digress, in 1994, as a 15 year old kid, "hearing" about a movie meant you read about it in an actual physical magazine, one of your buddies saw it, or you saw a new piece on Good Morning America about parents picketing it.

The thing about independent films is, a lot of them are bad. I haven't done a formal inquiry into my personal tastes, but I will give Hollywood some credit: Most big budget films that hit your cinema are at least going to be somewhat entertaining. (And there is a very definite difference between entertaining and good, mind you.) Percentage wise, a lot of independent flicks just can't reach that entertaining threshold, let alone cross it.

So why do I subject myself to films that have a lower fun percentage? Well, mostly because I hate myself. And, I like to think of myself as the Indiana Jones of film reviewing. I like to go into dusty, forgotten lands, and find that rare jewel. And Jackass Critics is my museum, to put such Jewels on display. So, by reading Jackass Critics, you are basically gazing into my jewels. I hope you're comfortable with that fact. When I find a flick like Following, I really want to stand on the rooftops and yell it out. I want to hand deliver copies to friends, put it in their DVD player, and then go on to the next house, delivering awesome, independent film happiness into many peoples lives (with a stern warning that I may drop back in at any time, so they better be watching).

I've had the sobering moments, looking into the mirror, wondering if it is all worth it. Maybe I should just relax, and try to trick my mind into enjoying mainstream fare like Transformers and Transformers 2. But, would Indiana Jones put up his fedora? Hell no! (Even after it's way overdue, *cough*cough*crystalskull*cough*cough*.

That's a very longwinded introduction, which I wrote as an attempt to excuse the very fact that I rented Big Money Rustlas. The very name probably causes half of the audience to roll their eyes in disgust, and the other half is clueless about who exactly the Insane Clown Posse is. (There's probably a faction of juggalos out there, I didn't forget about you.)

Before I talk about the story of Big Money Rustlas, a terse history lesson of who the Insane Clown Posse is, and why it matters with respect to this film. Around the late 90's a Detroit rap group rose to minor prominence both here in the midwest and across the nation. The hook for ICP - well, they wear clown makeup, swear profusely, rap about morbid and dark topics and in turn, developed a rabid fan base, the aforementioned "juggalos". ICP fans paint themselves up in clown makeup, and follow not only the band, but the myriad of peripheral media products that ICP produce.

The ICP cats, named Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have expanded their brand into a variety of consumer products as well as entire wrestling league. They may quite literally look like clowns, but dummies they are not. I fully realize that by this point a lot of serious film watchers have mentally checked out of my review, as I am giving what amounts to "bozos" a serious write up, but I think it's time to pull your nose out of your asses and take a breath of fresh air. Creativity comes from everywhere, and sometimes, from where you least expect it.

Alright, I think I've successfully set the stage for Big Money Rustlas. A dedicated fan base can support a movie, right? Why not bust one out, and see what happens? It would have been quick and easy to make a movie that panders to the audience alone; But surprisingly, Big Money Rustlas is a finely crafted film. Script, cinematography, editing and even, shock of all shocks, acting is all very well done.

Our story is a typical white hat/black hat Western with some Looney Tunes-esque comedy mixed in. Violent J stars as Big Baby Chips, a psychotic gambler who runs the town of Mudbug. Chips is brutal and ruthless to the townsfolk, and with his band of thugs around him, the town is helpless against him. Enter Shaggy 2 Dope, as Sugar Wolf, who returns to his hometown after years of wandering, to find it in shambles. Wolf deems himself Sheriff of the town, and vows to clean it up and set things right.

Chips is amused by a new challenge, and proceeds to send assassins of varying quality to take runs at Sheriff Wolf. Wolf manages to dispatch his would be killers through various, humorous means, thus winning the approval and respect of the town folk. These exchanges are presented like a cross between A Fistful of Dollars, Blazing Saddles and a Looney Tunes cartoon. Half serious, and half slapstick. In my opinion, it's a blend they managed to capture perfectly and successfully.

Since we've all seen a Western, we know where this is leading. The final confrontation between our white hat, good guy (Wolf) and the black hat, bad guy (Chips). Like the rest of the movie, the confrontation is done with a great blend of humor and action.

I mentioned previously how impressed I was with the professionalism of the film, which needs to be developed some. Our protagonist and antagonist, acting while wearing their ICP makeup, do an excellent job. Sure, some of Violent J's lines are hammy and over the top, but this is absolutely intentional. The guys do a great job, and the supporting cast, which includes such luminares as Screech, midget porn star Bridget Powerz, Ron Jeremy, Jason Mewes (Jay from Jay and Silent Bob) and Tom Sizemore all know what they're there to provide - yucks - and they deliver. Everyone was on the same page, and really rose to the occasion, delivering ham when they film needed some ham.

IMDB tells me that they filmed Big Money Rustlas on the Paramount Ranch in California, which has served as the backdrop of many big time flicks. Big Money Rustlas gets a ton of mileage from the scenery and set design. The town of Mudbug is surprisingly rich, and all the interiors have the same old west, grimy feeling of any good western you've ever seen. Once again, I found myself continually surprised at the quality through the movie.

I've said it before, but, in closing, I have to say: I am surprised at how much I liked this. And, I'm absolutely willing to go out on a limb and recommending it to everyone without reservations. I think it's one of the more humorous, entertaining, and good movies I've seen in a while. Note that I'm not even putting a reservation on that, I'm flat out calling Big Money Rustlas, a film starring two clowns that rap with cuss words, a good flick. I'm not afraid to drop the hammer on flicks, way more than half of the movies I review here I give less than a 5 (and I write the reviews as a public service to help people avoid them). Rustlas really deserves a shot. I think you'll have a good time for an hour and a half. And if you're not in the market for entertainment, well, just pass and go back to doin' what you were doin'.

8 out of 10 Jackasses
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