3 April 2000 | tonyu-2
"I don't shake hands"
Bizarre and obscure little film that charms you into watching it with gusto once a few minutes of it pass your eyes. It's an homage to struggling independent film makers everywhere, and filled with lots of subtle bits of humor and satire and quick-to-pass messages during the F/X. This film looks like it was made for about 40 bucks but don't let that keep you from watching it. What's more, evidently Mike Jittlov cast all his friends (a LOT of them) and his mom in the film as well, and it appears that each and every one of them are having the time of their lives doing this movie.
One of my favorite scenes is when Mike enters the office that Dora Belair (portrayed by Angelique Pettyjohn, sadly her last film appearance) works from, and there's a poster on the wall behind them of her Star Trek character "Shana" dressed in that aluminum foil bikini from the episode "The Gamesters Of Treskelian". It's a nice sci-fi touch... And nobody seems to notice.
Mike has a hard time trying to get his work recognized by anyone of substance (very much like real life) and it seems there's a crooked producer at every turn waiting to rip him off, and it isn't helped by his stigma about shaking hands... which is never really explained other than that he simply "...doesn't shake hands".
Throughout the film we see Mike working on film F/X in what appears to be his own garage and his own tools and props, and we get to see him actually producing the F/X that end up running in the short that he presents as his product, "The Wizard Of Speed And Time".
This is an astonishing little film that deserves much more recognition than it ever got, and it's a gem in the rough for being so matter-of-fact and innovative. It's also a must-have for any cult film or obscure cinema collector to include in their video collection. Of my all-time top 20 films, this would have to slip into the mix somewhere by its sheer tenacity and strength of will and innovation, if not for anything else. I really would have liked to have seen Mike Jittlov do something else similar to "Wizard..." but alas nothing ever came to be. I can watch this film over and over again, and with each viewing its atmosphere and flavor makes me feel like I'm 20 years back in time.
It's not for all tastes. Some people think it's absolutely wonderful, some people think it's amateurish nonsense. Some people simply won't get it at all. I got it. I liked it a lot, and the somewhat silly segments with the terribly cliche'd producer are forgivable if not perfectly allowable for the sake of comic relief, especially seeing as how that's the real producer of this film hamming it up on camera. If you *do* appreciate films like this, you'll feel refreshed after watching it and you'll feel like you'd like to meet Mike and maybe buy him a coke... just don't try to shake his hand.
Then go out and become an independent film maker yourself.
Bravo Mike, ya done good!