Western Watchins #125
A short list of better things to do than watch this film:
Go shopping for groceries in another state
Debate politics on social media
Lick a donkey’s balls
Have a donkey lick your balls
Shit your pants
Eat that shit
Eat that shit and then die
Holy Water Joe (Acquasanta Joe or Weihwasser Joe if you’re one of those Spanish or German foreign people) is a masterfully inept presentation of something desperately trying to call itself cinema. If I had to guess, here’s how it was made. Somewhere in Italy in 1971, trimmed or otherwise excluded material from several late-in-the-era spaghetti westerns were written upon index cards and then thrown onto a writer’s desk. He stapled them together in random order before asking a prop guy to rent a cannon. Armed then with a cannon (that went ‘boom’) and his script (that went ‘bust’) the writer, one director, two producers, and several people who thought themselves actors, proceeded to push this mess out of their collective rectums and into our faces.
Like so many others save for the very worst, Holy Water Joe here contained pieces of what might have been an enjoyable puzzle. The film as a whole however was like taking a dump, spotting a quarter buried in the turd, then quickly realizing it just isn’t worth your trouble as you pull firmly down on the flush lever. There were only tiny treasures here and none of them worth sifting through the slop to recover. It was overstuffed with ideas that went nowhere featuring plenty of plot but no pertinent points. The costumes were the best that the early 1970s and a minuscule budget had to offer (kepis with shiny vinyl visors for instance) and the score was much the same making the entire movie feel like it could turn into a Blacksploitation flick around any bend. Should they ever decided to release a special edition Blu-ray of this one they’ll have to include this clip I found of the composer hard at work.
Almost all of Holy Water Joe is terrible and then the finale is amazingly worse. Our titular ho-hum hero faces off against some jerk who got his hands on the cannon. Of course Joe runs right at him because it’s just one guy right and he knows that even a highly trained compliment of soldiers are only able to manage three aimed shots per minute. The jerk fires off four in the same time span, three of those in thirty-eight seconds. Multiple chances to hit the protagonist plus ramp up the intensity yet he misses on both counts. Four damn shots and almost a fifth but thanks to Joe with a quiver full of arrows, that “I’m not sure I can do this” look in his eye and his many questionable decisions including standing still ten feet directly in front of the cannon before repeatedly taking his eyes off the jerk attempting to fire said cannon, the good guy prevails! Yay, the movie is almost over! A few more poorly scripted, poorly acted and ridiculously portrayed things happen and then it really is over. But mayhaps not for those closely involved…
Of the three leads (not including the cannon) one’s career (Lincoln Tate) petered out well before he died prior to collecting any social security, one (Ty Hardin) felt so bad he became a preacher in Arizona cleaning up the sins of both your past and your kitchen, and the third (Richard Harrison) went on to “star” thirteen times as “Ninja Master Gordon” in various ninja themed/certainly horrendous movies that still probably don’t suck quite as much as this one.
Neither preaching nor mystical teachings could have saved this one though and maybe Lincoln just decided to croak before having to ever watch it again thus proving himself wiser than us all. 1 round in the chamber and it’s probably the wrong caliber if anyone bothers to check. There is so much I could have done other than spend time watching this like anything other than watching this so I’m glad someone else on the internet took it upon themselves to post a warning for everyone about Holy Water Joe and whether or not you should partake. When you see the following know that it is better produced, more finely performed and singularly less retarded than the film of which I’ve just written:
I am not joking in the slightest when I say that the priest was more animated and the puppets more convincing than nearly everyone in this week’s Watchins. Which brings me to next week’s. More than a hundred movies are in the books. We been on this road a long, long time and traveled so many, many miles. Some of ’em great, some of ’em ungodly, but every last one of ’em lending something to my experience.
And that amigos, in the end, is what life must be about.