There's nothing like a good sociopolitical satire a week before Election Day to get the juices flowing, especially in a year with a presidential race as bitterly contentious as this one. And while we've seen our share of documentaries this election season on everything from the Iraq War to swiftboats to Dubya's inglorious past, a good satire can be an even more effective means of getting a point across, if only because the message comes wrapped in a cloak of entertainment in which the first priority is laughs.
Such is the idea with the independent feature Terrorists, a satirical comedy on life after 9/11. Set in the fictional City of Junction, any small-town America, the story unfolds when overzealous police Chief Curtis Gorfurter gets the notion that the town is ripe for a terrorist attack and raises the alert level from brick to tangerine. At the same time, an unwitting graduate student arrives to study the town's ludicrous stool -- a three-legged example as tall as a water tower -- that sits on the edge of town and verify it as the world's largest. His suspicious behavior -- being swarthy and taking pictures -- is enough to send the chief and half the town into a frenzy.
Written and directed by Jay Martel, who consulted on Fahrenheit 9/11 and has worked with Michael Moore on other projects, the idea for Terrorists is a good one -- like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Barney Fife deputizes Otis and Gomer to catch a big-city criminal. But with amateur actors delivering unfunny dialogue and overused jokes (like a line about "partying on the stool" that's barely humorous the first time around), there are not enough laughs to hide the director's true conceit -- to expose the absurdity of homeland security -- and the film falls flat. Filmed in digital video, Terrorists has the look and feel of a show produced for Comedy Central that didn't quite make the cut. (5:30 p.m. Sunday, October 31, Regal Delray; 5:30 p.m. Sunday, November 14, AMC Coral Ridge 10; 72 minutes.) -- John Anderson
Still Doing It
To hear these ladies tell it, sex after age 65 is incredible. Wrinkles be damned! There are no periods, no menstrual cramps, can't get knocked up! Orgasms come easier, last longer, and blow your mind more readily. "I became much more sexual after menopause," one senior citizen says. "I think I'm going to get involved with some kinky stuff."
True -- a movie about grannies getting it on has serious gross-out potential. But Still Doing It, a documentary starring women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, black and white, gay and straight, comes off as fascinating and funny. Face it: Old-people sex is a subject we'd be ultracurious about -- if we weren't so afraid of it.
Unless you count the naked 65-year-old taking a shower, the visuals aren't particularly exciting -- footage of women gardening, writing, or taking the grandkids for a walk. But that's OK, because it's the interviews that suck you in. Subjects opine about plastic surgery, death, and pleasuring themselves: "Thank God for these little vibrators! They're marvelous!" A woman in a wheelchair talks about nookie in the nursing home. Lesbians describe their decision to come out to their adult children. The 73-year-old poses nude with her boyfriend -- a six-foot-tall 26-year-old. "I don't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks," she says. "I've never had a more compatible lover."
Mostly upbeat but sometimes sad, the movie does convey the isolation of old women in a youth-obsessed world. It offers grim statistics about the unbalanced male-female ratio of older adults (widows outnumber widowers five-to-one) -- but interesting predictions about what might happen when the liberated baby boomers hit retirement age (man-sharing, anyone?). Since we're all slowly marching toward the AARP and then the grave, we might as well deal in a no-apologies way -- and keep on "doing it." (5:30 p.m. Saturday, October 30, at Regal Delray; 5 p.m. Friday, November 12, AMC Coral Ridge; 54 minutes.) -- Deirdra Funcheon
Prey for Rock & Roll
You know the deal: To gain success in a rock 'n' roll band, it helps to have looks. Once men hit that certain age when they might want to hang up their axes and retire to the garage, it's still acceptable for them to stuff themselves into leather pants and flick their tongues at teenage girls. For women, though, the industry is not so forgiving. Such is the dilemma of Prey for Rock & Roll, a film about Clam Dandy, an all-girl glam punk band in L.A., and its leader, Jacki (played by Gina Gershon), a tattooed and bleached tough-as-nails broad whose impending 40th birthday makes her reexamine the years she's spent playing her heart out at clubs.