Western Watchins #121
What I first suspected after last watching ¡Three Amigos! I have now painfully confirmed by taking in Life is Tough, eh Providence? It’s a spaghetti western comedy released as La vita, a volte, è molto dura, vero Provvidenza? in its place of origin which was surprisingly Italy and not three shits deep in Satan’s second colon as I would have guessed. It was a huge success though, spawning an immediate sequel.
And I can’t give you one adequate reason why.
I’m a comedian. It’s easy for me to make people laugh and I enjoy all kinds of comedy from way up on high right down to “suck my dirty balls you dirty ball sucking bastard.” Falling down can be funny, getting up can be too. Thoughtful paragraphs of words, or just one word or no words at all can be used to generate a great deal of giggles and guffaws but Life is Tough lived up to its title and will be remembered as one of my toughest challenges to date. From 1972, it seems to have once been a fresh and hilarious product that has by now certainly spoiled. Yum. Ready to dig in? Great. Meet Providence:
If you took the Three Stooges and made them terrible, you’d get this guy. If you took Buster Keaton and made him irritating, you’d get this guy. If you took Hitler and made him worse, you’d get this goddamn guy. This movie didn’t make me laugh once unless you count the time I started pissing all over myself because my central nervous system was shutting down in a desperate attempt to save me from this film. Now that was funny. Tomas Milian portrayed this eponymous asshole with asshole like aplomb. He’s a part time bounty hunter with the rest of his time filled up being a fucktard, which is all the fucktarding time.
Traveling to and fro he’s got a scheme to capture, collect upon and then free before capturing all over again, one unlucky lawbreaker nicknamed “The Hurricane Kid.”
Greg Palmer brought him to life and would soon reprise the role for the sequel because he hates you. His character wasn’t as grating as Providence but the material both he and Milian had to work with was so awful from the get-go right up through the final go-fuck-yourself that in the end there was little difference between the two. Palmer would go on to star in a movie late in his career called Early Warning which is something I would have appreciated before starting this one. I was more comfortable and found more humor watching these two interact on screen than at any point Providence and The Kid were forced upon me.
Later in the same decade as this release, Mel Brooks would reach his apex with a series of classic productions. A similar style of humor to those films, and even to this one, would carry pop-culture comedy by itself for another twenty years. So what went wrong whilst Providence was looking down in a failed attempt to grace us all? Admittedly, the script’s translation went a long way towards building the handbasket that Life is Tough reveled in riding all over my sanity. Several joking references and puns were included to appeal to American audiences, many of them anachronistic and none of them funny. The story itself had merit but was so inundated with idiocy that is was all I could do to pay attention to the overall narrative. So, the dialog lacked that age old x-factor of “being good” but words were not entirely to blame here. Every pratfall and physical gag was overdone, stretched out and utterly painful to observe much like an old porn star’s dick. Except in this movie you got two dicks. And they were always getting into wacky situations:
LOOK! The Hurricane Kid fell down and made an absurdly hollowed hole! Because he’s a fat, clumsy hole making motherfucker!
WITNESS! Providence is going to school some local tools with an old fashioned hustle. But ordinary hustling is for strippers and Paul Newman, oh no, he’ll win a wad of cash acting like a wad of fuck!
BEHOLD! Milian and Palmer apparently reviewing the script:
“Hmmm, hee-hee, ahem! It says here we’re supposed to be funny in this scene!”
“Huh-hah-a-golly! Why start now!”
In this scene they were actually discussing the breakup of their partnership which the movie had never even established. This confusion would matter not. In short order the film flung us into the abyss of an ending I can only describe as “indescribably fucking horrible on all levels.”
The goofy, jack-assinine and even mildly incoherent…I used to love this kind of stupid shit but this shit was so stupid I must now be a stupider shit for having seen it all. I just watched the rhino birthing scene from Ace Ventura 2 and still found it highly amusing and recently re-watched Johnny Dangerously finding that it has similarly weathered time’s tempestuous tossings rather well. Sadly, I have noticed that some of what used to crack me up only disappoints me these days. Even master Mel can’t avoid it as Spaceballs simply isn’t as great as it used to be and History of the World: Part I is outright unwatchable. The aforementioned ¡Three Amigos! is another casualty of my changing tastes. Perhaps I would have laughed my ass off at Life is Tough, eh Providence? back in the day but as I saw it now, over four laborious viewing sessions, the only thing it gave my ass was interminable pain. Not one chortle, snigger or hee-haw in sight for either me or my buttocks.
1 round in the cylinder for Life is Tough, eh Providence? There is a time for everything. The time for laughing along with this movie has long since passed. It was off-putting the way modern convention culture is. This movie is the dude who pairs goggles with any costume and declares himself “steampunk” (a fuck), this movie is the cosplayer who never breaks character (a bigger fuck), this movie is that person attending a convention who looks down, often past his neckbeard, on all others as if he’s not a nerd like the rest of us (the biggest fuck of them all!)
The only redeeming thing to come out of this movie will be next week’s surprising review. Can’t spoil it right now amigos so y’all have to come on back then ya hear? Just keep your distance from Providence in the meantime.
I guarantee it’ll be a happier ride for you if you do.