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Review- Billy T: Te Movie, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Incendies, Of Gods and Men, How I Ended This Summer, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Something Borrowed

By Cinema and Reviews

Billy T: Te Movie posterProspective new migrants to New Zealand should be shown Ian Mune’s movie Billy T: Te Movie in order to weed out the uncom­mit­ted. Of course, we needn’t tell them that the coun­try has changed bey­ond all recog­ni­tion in the the last 25 years – that would spoil the fun. We could stick a hid­den cam­era on them and giggle (I think I know what the giggle should sound like too) as the full hor­ror of New Zealand’s unsoph­ist­ic­a­tion in the 70s and 80s is revealed.

Billy’s suc­cess was symp­to­mat­ic of that strange imma­ture cling­ing to over­seas ideas that riddled New Zealand cul­ture at the time – he was inspired by awful Northern com­ics like Bernard Manning and Les Dawson – but he was also a cata­lyst for the change and Mune’s doco tells his story well. My only com­plaint – for a change – is that it isn’t long enough – some of the most inter­est­ing aspects of Billy’s life are skir­ted over pretty lightly. I could have done with more from Jim Moriarty, for example, about what it was like as an act­iv­ist to watch the only Maori on tv per­petu­at­ing ugly ste­reo­types. In fact, they could have swapped more ana­lys­is for some of Billy’s lamer jokes and I wouldn’t have minded.

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