Going...Going...Gone with the Pope

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Serious lovers of cinema are an odd breed.  Most are over critical and hard to please simply because they see so much.  But this pompous bunch has another oddity that at first blush seems rather contradictory.  They love bad movies.  I know.  I’m one of them.  I like good movies but I love bad ones!  If I can’t watch the best, let me watch the worst.  I don’t have time for what’s left in between.

Well “Gone with the Pope” isn’t the worst film I have ever seen but it ranks up there with the greatest train wrecks in cinematic history!  Now the story behind the movie is almost as fascinating as the movie itself and it’s so great that I must share it with you before I go any further. 

“Gone with the Pope” was written, directed and produced by the same man who stars in the Grindhouse flick, Duke Mitchell.  He shot the movie in 1977 as a sequel of sorts to his only other film “The Executioner.”  But Mitchell died in 1981 with only a rough cut to show for his effort.  Flash forward twenty five years and editor Bob Murawski begins a 15 year labor of love to edit what has been referred to as the “holy grail for lovers of B movies” and a “true gem of American underground cinema.”

What we get for Murawski’s efforts is a mob picture that you simply have to see to believe.  The plot centers around an ex con who is hired by the mob to take out several enemies in Vegas and LA.  In return he is rewarded with cash and the release of his prison pals.  Together they embark on a plan that will nab them a fortune.  All they have to do is kidnap the Pope and as ransom demand that every Catholic pay $1 for his safe return.

“Gone with the Pope” didn’t set out to be a period drama but it is, complete with baby blue leisure suits and views of a Vegas strip that no longer exists.  “Gone with the Pope” didn’t set out to be comedy but I dare you not to laugh harder than you did during “The Hangover.”

It is crude, rude and the epitome of bad taste.  It will be too offensive to just about anybody of any morality whatsoever but I have to recommend it to lovers of bad cinema everywhere as this is so shockingly bad that one simply cannot take their eyes off it.  And even after saying all that, I can say that without a doubt it is one of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen.

Gone with the Pope guns down 4 Red Vines for being a mesmerizing train wreck

JUICY TRIVIA:  In death Duke Mitchell got something he never could have in life: the skills of an A list editor for his B list trash.  Editor Bob Murawski’s credits list him as putting the final polish on such films as all three “Spiderman” films and the 2009 Oscar for Best Picture, “The Hurt Locker.”  Oh, yeah!


A preview of this movie was provided to me by the studio but it in no way affects my unbiased review.