May 15, 2004

Free Enterprise

William Shatner playing himself. The Horrah.

He's actually pretty self-effacing in this straight-to-video pseudo-classic. Free Enterprise really is amusing -- a dialog-driven film consisting entirely of Star Trek references. Shatner's presence in the cast is of course chief among those references. They do have to fill in with Planet of the Apes and X-Men allusions here and there, but they mainly obsess on the original Star Trek series.

Two Star Trek geeks: 1) Mark, who is so geeky that he publishes a magazine called Geek Monthly and does fairly well for himself, is turning 30 and since he's already the quintessential cynic, is having a slightly rough time; 2) Robert, a chronically under-funded aspiring film editor who's always borrowing money so he can get the new special edition laser disc of Dawn of the Dead, has been dumped by his girlfriend but finds the rarest of birds, a geek chick.

(Neither of these guys has any use for Next Generation, only the original series, and the films with Shatner. I think Next Generation is too broad-based and humanistic for most geeks. They want photon torpedoes.)

I learned from this film that laser disc is the apparent preferred viewing medium of ubergeeks. Do they even make those anymore? I wonder if this film is on laser disc.

Any Trekkie should watch this, and just to prove their ubergeekiness, sit down and pause the film while watching to annotate all the references, without looking anything up.

Anyway, the geeks run into their ultimate hero, William Shatner, the real Captain Kirk, the man who inspired them to dream when they were kids. "Bill," as he is listed in the credits, turns out to not quite be the warrior god of their imaginations. Shatner really is pretty funny in his portrayal of himself. With the obvious low-budget nature of this video, you have to wonder seriously about his motivations. Did he really want to make fun of himself, or did he not want to miss another chance to further entrench Captain Kirk in pop culture history? It couldn't have been for the money.

Free Enterprise could be a stage play. It consists almost entirely of conversations involving two or three characters over a table or a phone. Once or twice they are in cars but that's the extent of the action until the house party scene at the end.

I read about this on some blog somewhere, and went looking on Amazon and Half.com. I found a copy for 75¢ and said what the hell? You always have to figure the two bucks or so they charge to ship it. I love finding movies like this. Really good for a Friday night zone-out.

Posted by Wayne at May 15, 2004 10:45 AM
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