For those who never got the chance to enjoy the pre-Disneyfied Times Square in New York, “The Gods of Times Square” exists as the ultimate trip back in time with filmmaker Richard Sandler hitting the streets and talking to absolutely everyone who will stop in front of his camera to reveal what it was really like before Mickey Mouse pulled those cute little red shorts down around his a*s and laid a nice, steaming log right in the middle of the city.
There is a theme here, however, and perhaps you’ve guessed it from the title of this film. Yes, religion is on the menu tonight and Sandler had no problem whatsoever in finding people to open up about their belief of choice, whether they’re casual believers, foaming at the mouth fanatics, or total space cadets with ideas that perhaps have been formulated by too much LSD. For example, Sandler talks, on a few different occasions, to a guy who believes that he in fact is Jesus and that he’s destined to record a multi-platinum grunge rock album and marry Madonna. Yes, things were pretty interesting in good old Times Square.
This is one of the most entertaining and well-done documentaries I’ve ever seen. Sandler forgoes the usual isolated talking head interviews and boring filmmaker narration by simply walking up to people on the street and questioning them on the spot. Sometimes people even approach him. Whatever the case, what Sandler captures on tape is absolutely priceless.
The fun kinda comes to a halt for a bit as the last third of the film rolls around and Disney waves its big dick around Times Square, knocking down porno theaters and family run businesses. Yes, it’s a sad thing to see porno theaters and strip clubs go, but what really got me was the closing of a family owned restaurant, which was to be passed down to the youngest, handicapped son. But now that the Mouse has taken over, this poor kid’s future has been blown to s**t. You’ll feel like burning all of your Disney memorabilia too upon seeing the family telling a news crew about how they had to close shop with the young son, standing right there, bawling his eyes out. Fuckin’ Disney.
Anyways, from here on in we see that Times Square has cleaned up a bit, but the cast of crazy characters remains the same. No matter how much Disney tries to take control of that area, they can’t do away with the good people of New York City, nor their varied beliefs.
Whoooo-boy! When and if the big JC ever returns to Earth, the s**t will certainly hit the fan. Actually, what I think will really happen is that Jesus will grab a video camera and shoot his own Times Square documentary so he can take it back to heaven with him to laugh his a*s off for all eternity.