By: BabyRuth (Six Pack) –
Recently, a movie trailer made its way into the consciousness of social media and became The Worst Thing in the World for a few brief, shining moments.
That trailer was for a film titled Loqueesha, which centers on a down-on-his-luck bartender who pretends to be a (stereotype of a) black woman to land a radio advice show gig and to his surprise, the persona ends up becoming a local celebrity. Calling it tone-deaf would be a polite understatement. Even C. Thomas Howell was like “Dude, what are you doing?” (probably)
Many people wondered how in the hell something like this could even get made in 2019. The answer is, it is the singular vision of yet another delusional auteur. But this person is different from the beloved Tommy Wiseaus and Neil Breens of the world. This guy, named Jeremy Saville, calls himself a “comedian.” A quick internet search reveals his Instagram and Twitter feeds full of “characters” he portrays via Snapchat filters and some “comedy” shorts on Youtube. I’ll save you the time, it’s all awful. It’s racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, etc, etc, etc, all without a single iota of irony, satire, or self-awareness and would have come across as outdated in 1995. Someone, likely while under the influence of a mind-altering substance, probably told this guy he was funny once and he ran with it and decided to start referring to himself as a comedian. He’s also done some stand-up (surprise, he does accents and makes the most obvious and already done-to-death cultural observations. Note: What appears to be his phone number flashes at the end – do with that information whatever you will.)
Saville wrote, directed, produced, and starred in his first feature-length film in 2012 called The Test, which is available for free on Prime.
Because I’m a masochist, I sat through the thing. The premise is that his recently engaged character is concerned that his fiancee may not be the right one so he, along with his dipshit friends who only exist to discuss his love life with him, devises various fictional scenarios to test her worthiness. The first is to see if she would be swayed to cheat with a handsome, wealthy, stranger. It’s telling (on his part, as the film’s writer) that she struggles the most with this challenge over all the others which include his losing his job, losing her job, a break-in/robbery at gunpoint, and a fake coma and subsequent amnesia (that he drags out, FOR WEEKS), which she handles like a goddamn saint.
But even after traumatizing her to a point that would require years of intensive therapy, he’s still not convinced that she is worthy of him. Yeah… She’s not worthy, of him. So, she finally finds out, on their wedding day of course, and reacts appropriately, by calling him a motherfucker and breaking up with him. And he ends up miserable, pathetic, and alone. The End.
Just kidding, he pulls the whole “if you don’t take me back I will kill myself” routine right when she’s finally moving on and she realizes not only just how much she loves him but how she is just as bad as he is (just ignore the steam coming out of your ears right now) and they’re both so crazy they must be right for each other and they get married. Um-hum. It plays out even more fucked up than it sounds, and the whole time Saville expects the audience to root for his irredeemable character like he’s some Sandler/Stiller/Carrey-type lovable asshole, but he doesn’t even come close to pulling it off. It’s mind-blowing levels of lack of self-awareness. The one bright spot was when he used the same public-domain music as the opening to Birdemic during the fake-coma scene.
So when I received an alert from fellow Movieboozer, Hawk Ripjaw that Loqueesha had been released on Prime weeks before its original release date in July (because of what Saville called “intense interest” – okay, that’s one way to spin it), my hopes were not high that the controversial subject matter would be handled with any shred of insight or tact.
Still, I poured myself an extra large glass of wine and hit play.
When the trailer first dropped, many people thought this was a big budget, studio-produced, wide-release film and demanded it be boycotted at the multiplex. It becomes quite apparent early on that that is not at all the case, and that this film was very cheaply made. There are all kinds of technical issues with editing, ADR, and superimposed images (keep an eye out for the bus!).
And this is the only remotely and (unintentionally) funny thing about this movie.
My favorite part is when Saville’s character, Joe, gets an email from Oprah Winfrey (yeah, he drags her into this mess) and there’s a shot of his gmail account.
Instead of taking ten minutes to create a fake page, Saville used his own personal account, blurred out the real emails, and badly photoshopped “Oprah’s” email at the top, making the email look like the redacted Mueller Report.
There’s so much wrong with this thing I’m not sure where to even begin. I guess let’s start with Saville himself. Aside from every male member of the Trump family (except Baron, but ask me again in a few more years), I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone with a face that’s begging to be punched as much as this guy. It’s obvious that he thinks he is absolutely hilarious. He even goes as far as to include other actors in the background of most scenes laughing at his antics. It’s cringy and pathetic and smug all at the same time. I don’t know who told this guy he has any comedic talent, but I so wish they hadn’t and spared us all.
Like in The Test, Saville casts himself as the protagonist we the audience are supposed to get behind. We’re asked to see him as a likable every-man in a crazy situation and empathize with him on his journey, but it never works because he’s so loathsome and uncharismatic. It’s hard enough to find anything pleasant about him even before he starts with the whole Loqueesha thing (partially because within the first five minutes he’s already doing bad clichéd accents), but once he starts with the “Aw hell naw girl” shtick, it’s flat-out impossible.
Speaking of, he never, for one moment, is believable as a woman.
So the whole thing about Joe is that he’s supposed to be this incredibly wise person who gives out great advice, both as himself and his alter ego, but it’s terr-i-ble advice.
In the worst example of this, he tells a woman standing on a bridge about to commit suicide to “have a nice jump” and that she’s just looking for attention, pretty much daring her to do it. I’m no expert, but did see the Teen Hotline episode of Beverly Hills 90210 and I know that’s exactly the opposite of what you should say to someone reaching out for help at a crucial moment. Of course, in Saville’s warped world of this movie, the woman quickly realizes that Loqueesha is right and decides life is worth living and the next thing we see is a news clip with the caption “Local talk radio host saves woman’s life.”
As you may have pieced together, this movie is unbelievably racist, partly unintentional due to the lack of self-awareness on Saville’s part. But he clearly realizes that it is at least a little problematic, because at one point near the end of the film, his potential love interest Rachel (Tiara Parker) , calls him out on it. She actually says the words “You think that’s how we talk? You are misogynist and racist!” which nearly made me spill my third glass of wine while jumping up and screaming “FINALLY!” But like in The Test after the fiancee called him a piece of shit motherfucker (which I also cheered for) and dumped his ass, it’s short-lived and his character is yet again rewarded with undeserved love.
I think Saville thinks that as long as he makes a reference to the things that are wrong that that somehow makes it okay. Somebody really needs to explain to him that this is not how it works.
He also casts a black man as his friend/producer (Dwayne Perkins) who’s more than willing to go along with the whole charade as if to say, “see he’s okay with it and he’s black!” (Just like that time he tried to imply that Marlon Wayans endorsed Loqueesha by posting a photo of the two on Twitter. Like Moby, he learned that that approach can quickly backfire.)
On top of everything that is awful in this movie-equivalent of a shart, Saville manages to go one step further. He makes a black woman the villain. You read that correctly. The woman, named Renee (Mara Hall), who Joe hires to pretend to be Loqueesha for public appearances, loves the attention and money that playing Loqueesha brings her and when Joe decides to stop (after a revelation brought on by his “gifted” son’s story about puking up a tuna fish sandwich- sorry I don’t have the time or the beers to go into that), she gets greedy and black-femails (groan) him, threatening to expose his lie to the world.
Wait, it gets worse.
How can it possibly get worse by making an actual black woman who is the exact stereotype of his blackfacevoice routine the bad guy in this situation, you ask?
By having her fail miserably at being Loqueesha and when forced to apologize for her selfish ways with her tail between her legs, say the words “you are a better black woman than I am.”
I will repeat that. She, a black woman, says to a him, a white man, “You are a better black woman than I am.”
This really fucking happens.
Give this woman a freaking Oscar for getting that out with a straight face.
I’m going to spoil the ending right now. After Joe realizes that pretending to be something he’s not is wrong and maybe seeing that it’s kind of terrible and racist, he fesses up and admits to the world that Loqueesha is not real.
Oh wait, before that, I need to sneak this in because I’m already on the last beer (trust me, if allowed, this thing would be a case). Midway through the film, Joe begins to develop an identity crisis and spontaneously starts breaking into the Loqueesha voice, confused about who he really is and it goes to a weird place culminating in him, Joe, getting advice from Loqueesha on-air in some weird Jekyll and Hyde back-and-forth. It’s as idiotic as it sounds.
Okay, so yeah, that happens. Back to the end. So in the most unrealistic turn of events in a movie that is nothing but unrealistic turns of events, the audience doesn’t care that Loqueesha is a white man doing a bad Madea impression and votes to keep “her” on the air. So, instead of having a moral to all the awfulness that preceded it and in case you missed it, that moral is “Hey white people, blackface is not cool unless you’re Robert Downey Jr.,” instead Joe is forgiven and rewarded with not one, but TWO advice show gigs, as himself and Loqueesha. Jesus Christ. My head hurts so much from banging it against the wall.
Please never make another movie.
Loqueesha, in all its feature-length glory, manages to be everything people who saw the trailer were afraid it would be, and somehow, is even worse, which now that I’m thinking about it, is quite an accomplishment, so here’s a belated, flat, piss-warm toast to you Jeremy Saville!
I would definitely not recommend this as a so-bad-it’s-good movie because there is absolutely nothing good about its badness. I’m not sure I’d even recommend it as a hate-watch (though I would recommend The Test as one). It’s baffling that it exists and even more baffling that Prime would even touch it; though, they’re probably banking on hate-watch views given all the vitriol the trailer received, which is another reason I’m hesitant to tell you to watch this one because I’m not clear on how/if views equate to money in Jeremy Saville’s pocket, and he does not need to be encouraged to make any more movies.
Loqueesha (2019) Drinking Game
(I’d say drink every time Joe does the Loqueesha voice, but I can’t in good conscience recommend doing that)
Take a Drink: at every bad green-screen effect
Take a Drink: whenever the drunk guy at the bar does
Take a Drink: whenever you want to punch Jeremy Saville in the face
Take a Drink: at every trans joke
Take a Drink: whenever anyone talks about how wonderful Loqueesha is
Do a Shot: the bus
Do a Shot: the gmail account
Chug: during the audition scene
Do a Shot: “You are a better black woman than I am”
Do a Shot: if you make it to the end. Congratulations! Now puke like you just ate a tuna sandwich.