by David Koon
Just got a chance to hit Netflix this weekend, and our cup of instantly-available Arkansas-connected film runneth over.
First up is the outstanding documentary "American: The Bill Hicks Story," which is now streaming for the first time on Netflix Instant. Hicks, who died in Little Rock in 1994, is THE comedian's comedian, even though he was only 32 when pancreatic cancer conspired to take him from us. He's a personal hero of mine, and (as I pointed out in a cover story/review last year) "American" does his legacy justice, tracking his rise from teenage prankster to the pantheon of comedy by way of interviews with those who knew him, rare video of his standup appearances, and innovative animation techniques. The doc was a big hit at the Little Rock Film Festival in 2010, including an emotional screening with Hicks' mother and brother in attendance. The film went on to win the Oxford American's $10,000 Best Southern Film Prize at the LRFF. If you're a fan of comedy, rationality, or life on planet earth in general, catch this one soon (along with several of Bill's classic standup routines that are also on N'Flix Instant). Here's some video of Hicks doing his intelligent, philosophical, hilarious, beautiful thing.
On a much, much dumber note is another Arkie-connected film new to Netflix Instant: "Megapython vs. Gatoroid." Directed by Helena native Mary Lambert— the sister of Arkansas's former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln — this made-for-SyFy cheesefest features faded 1980's pop-princesses Tiffany and Debbie Gibson as (respectively) a park ranger and animal rights activist feuding over the Everglades ecosystem when a giant alligator and an equally massive python decide to go snakeo-y-gatoro to see who's the baddest. We wrote about it quite a bit back in early 2011, when it debuted on SyFy. Yeah, it's stupid, but it looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Make a drinking game out of it.