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AKA: Good To Go
Directed by: Blaine Novak
Starring: Art Garfunkel, Harris Yulin, Robert DoQui, and Richard Brooks
In Washington, D.C. in the 1980’s, Go-Go music was huge. Go-Go is an urban cross between funk, R&B, soul and dance music with extended songs meant for the largely African-American audiences to dance the night away to. Some of the most famous practitioners of this genre of music include Trouble Funk, Redd & The Boys, and Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers. Max (DoQui) is a music impresario and label head who is trying to make this music go global and has a large record deal in the works for Redd & The Boys.
Spoiling this dream, a rape and murder occurs outside a club that caters to the music, called, you guessed it, The Go-Go. Or did it? Trying to get to the truth, alcoholic newspaper reporter S.D. Blass (Garfunkel) calls Chief Harrigan of the local police precinct. Harrigan leads Blass to believe Chemist (Brooks) was involved in the crime. But along the way, Blass befriends Chemist’s little brother Beats (Daughtry) and begins to question Harrigan and his motivations. After a lot of chaos and confusion, Blass begins to sort things out - but he’s going to have to do it fast before a race riot occurs in D.C. Can he do it?
Please read in a gravelly, portentous, gravely serious Don LaFontaine-like movie trailer announcer voice: Art Garfunkel. Has a: SHORT FUSE. Coming this summer. When we think of actors that could be chosen for the lead role in a movie entitled Short Fuse, names like Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson or Jason Statham come to mind. But for some reason yet to be fathomed by mankind, they chose noted badass Art Garfunkel for the role. And true to form, in this movie he’s such a wet noodle that he makes Toby from The Office look like The Ultimate Warrior. But in all fairness, this movie was originally titled Good To Go (and characters do say that a lot and there’s a song of the same name on the soundtrack as well). Adding weirdness to inappropriateness, the main thrust of this movie is urban, street-level crime, in the era of boomboxes, graffiti and Kangol hats. Again...Art Garfunkel? But seriously, we could see what they were thinking because “Bridge Over Troubled Water” has some fresh beats.
And if they were so gung-ho for Garfunkel, why hire Harris Yulin as the only other White guy in the cast? They look very, very similar. So much so it’s hard to tell them apart in some scenes. But the tell is Garfunkel’s bizarre combover. It makes Donald Trump’s look positively normal by comparison. Plus the movie has a lot of product placement for Pepsi. It’s practically a 90-minute commercial for Pepsi. But it’s hard to imagine the Pepsi people being very happy that a movie about a drug-fuelled rape and murder with a bunch of shootouts and car crashes is so tied in with their product. That observation aside, by far the best thing about Short Fuse is not, as you might expect, the length of the fuse of one Arthur Ira Garfunkel. It’s the music!
In all seriousness, the soundtrack and the live performances are uniformly excellent. All the bands mentioned above are excellent, both musically and from a showmanship perspective. We really were dancing in our seats! As a concert film documenting the Go-Go phenomenon, Short Fuse is actually an important “Art”-ifact. Robert DoQui, who was in Diplomatic Immunity (1991), and resembles Richard Roundtree but is an accomplished actor in his own right, is always worth seeing, as is future Law & Order star Richard Brooks, who also appeared in Shakedown (1988). Short Fuse is listed in some sources as a “concert drama” and seems to be little-seen, even though it was released on the Vidmark label. But the cast, as well as the musical performances keep it from ever getting boring.
Witness Art put the “funk” in “Garfunkel” and watch this oddity today!
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett