You were wondering if this movie about the woman who
shot Andy Warhol could be as strange as the famous 60's pop artist
himself? Wonder no more; this movie is f*&%ing weird. It's also
engaging and entertaining and does an incredible amount of justice
to the sense of surreality that the late 60's had. I SHOT ANDY
WARHOL was predominantly based on fact, but is too weird to
have been entirely true. Its cast of characters includes hippies, drag
queens and a man-hating lesbian.
Played by Lili Taylor, the lesbian is the focal point of the
story. As we catch up to her in the movie, she's graduated college
with honors and is supporting herself through prostitution while
writing plays and books on the side. Her claim to fame thus far is a
book called The S.C.U.M. Manifesto, a propaganda piece for her
one-member organization, the Society for Cutting Up Men. She's
convinced men are biologically inferior to women -- the Y
chromosome is after all an incomplete X -- and that the female of
the species will soon retake their rightful position by force. Light
reading this isn't.
She wants Andy Warhol to produce her second-most-
interesting work, the play Up Your Ass, an equally Y-chromosome-
bashing piece of art. The only scene from this play we hear
rehearsed involves a woman looking for a "yellow turd" for dinner.
Her in-road to Warhol is a she-male friend who has long since
forsaken his testosterone in favor of wigs and makeup. Taylor
doesn't cut this guy up because she doesn't consider him a real
man, and I doubt very few males would disagree with her.
Taylor leaves the play with Warhol, who reads it aloud with
a few ladyfriends who find the work of the "dyke" repulsive. Warhol
doesn't want any part of this play either, but keeps in touch with
Taylor anyway because she has this cool hippie vibe about her
(everybody did back then). Meanwhile, Taylor keeps trying to sell
copies of her manifesto on the street and soon signs a contract with
a publisher to write a novel.
Some of the scenes in I SHOT ANDY WARHOL are slow
and dragged out, kind of like the trippy hippie experiences that
influenced Taylor to try to kill Warhol. Ironically, Warhol and his
open-minded self provided many of these drug-induced ideas that
eventually pushed Taylor over the edge, convincing her that Warhol
and her publisher were conspiring to oppress her life-changing
Taylor's character is the very definition of mental illness,
but still has a lot of interesting and / or amusing observations about
society. A lot of the scenes that aren't even relevant to the Warhol
plot are the most intriguing in the film. She relates one story toward
the beginning of a man who paid her to walk on his chest in golf
shoes for his own sexual gratification. It's a strange world. Even
stranger, I still have scars on my chest from that.
Copyright © 1997 Andrew Hicks