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You could corner the market, or even create your own market entirely from scratch, which is what Leopardo has done. He returns from the land of windmills and Amstel beer for a third time with another International Retro Review. This time…
Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman
So, how about after a good (Flodder) and a bad (Do Not Disturb) Dick Maas movie, we look at a movie that he had almost, but not entirely, completely no involvement in? Also, let’s go forward in time a little. We’re all nostalgic for the 80s and 90s but other decades exist and some of the movies they produced are not terrible.
Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman is Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil’s fourth movie they directed together. They’ve done some TV stuff too, and international viewers will be most familiar with their work with New Kids.
New Kids started out as a webseries called New Kids on the Block. It got picked up by Comedy Central and lost the “on the Block” part for obvious reasons, and ran for a few seasons of short episodes. It followed a group of young imbeciles who forgot to leave the 90s as they fail their way through daily life.
Two successful New Kids movies followed, and Ron Goossens is Haars’ and van der Kuil’s second movie project outside the New Kids universe (although there are many references). The first one being the raunchy rom-com Bro’s Before Ho’s (not my typo, they got rid of the apostrophes for the poster) starring Sylvia Hoeks of Blade Runner 2049 fame.
Haars and van der Kuil tend to work with a lot of the same people often, so if you’ve seen their earlier work, a lot of the cast will be familiar. There are also a lot of celebrity cameos that won’t work outside the Netherlands because you won’t know who most of them are. The main cast for this movie are:
- Tim Haars – Ron Goossens. Titular character. Alcoholic, overconfident loser. Actor is one of the directors’ brother.
- Bo Maerten – Bo Maerten. Former child celebrity, now actual celebrity. The movie’s MacGuffin.
- Michiel Romeyn – Berrie Bolwerk. Ron’s agent.
- Henry van Loon – Peter. Ron’s best friend and enabler.
- Dennie Christian – Himself, kind of. Hoeba hoeba hop.
And a bunch of other somewhat random characters, mostly celebrities playing fictional versions of themselves, that show up for a bit to do their stuff and go away again. The weirdest one of these is Chris Zeegers,. He is an actual actor and closest to what passes for A-list over here. He plays a fictionalized Winston Post, a real Dutch actor who you might call C-list if you could remember him.
Ron is an alcoholic loser who takes pride in doing stupid stunts to entertain his friends. In the opening scene, a car jump goes hilariously wrong and Ron narrowly survives. A video posted on the internet by best friend Peter goes viral and Ron is an instant celebrity. He makes a proclamation:
“Ik ben echt kei lam” (“I’m like totally shitfaced”)
This becomes a catchphrase. This gets the attention of Berrie, an agent, who decides that hiring Ron to do stunt work on movies is a great way to save money as Ron doesn’t seem to care about stuff like costly safety measures.
Ron’s wife has had enough though. Ron is always drunk and pays no attention to her. She’s bored and apparently slept with half the town, and is slowly working her way through the other half. She offers him an ultimatum: sleep with bombshell actress Bo Maerten (playing a fictional version of herself) and she won’t kick him out for being a boring drunk loser.
Don’t worry, this is not some cultural thing. It doesn’t make sense in Dutch either. It’s just the setup for the rest of the movie. Ron accepts the offer to become a low budget stuntman (hey I just got the title!) so he can work on the same movies that Maerten is working on, to try to sleep with her.
From here the movie just goes from movie set to movie set where Ron does his thing and tries to complete his mission. It’s all pretty random sometimes.
Is It Any Good?
In short, yes, it kind of is. It does require you to suspend your disbelief a little. The wife’s ultimatum is kind of dumb, of course. You also have to believe that the whole Netherlands is populated by selfish assholes with no concern for the well-being of anyone, while that is actually only the case in the area called de Randstad.
I, of course, am not from de Randstad but from the best province in the Netherlands, Noord-Brabant. The main characters are also from Noord-Brabant and like in New Kids, they speak in their native accent. It’s awesome. Eindhoven de gekste!
This next part might be a little spoiler-y.
The plot of Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman is razor thin, and you should really watch it as a series of comedy sketches. Most of the movie follows Ron around various movie sets, and all movies being shot there are based on real (semi) current events. They are intentionally handled as insensitively as possible. The humour is dark, and it’s kind of weird to see so many respected professionals from the Dutch movie scene go along with it seemingly without any regard for the actual people involved. I was a little shocked first time I saw it.
For example, the first set Ron works on is Straight Outta Alphen. This is a movie about the Netherlands’ only (to my knowledge) mass shooting that took place in a shopping mall. It’s not a documentary or a biopic, but it’s shot like one of those gun-porn action movies. It’s directed by Dick Maas (there he is!), playing himself as an insensitive… well, dick.
Another one is De Naald, about a failed assassination attempt on our Royal Family a few years before this movie was made. Also shot like an action movie – why else would you require a stunt man – but while the attempt failed, people died and dozens were injured, including children. So it is a little weird to see celebrities, playing themselves to some degree, make light of that.
Of course international viewers might not recognize these as actual events. Do any of you know who Bokito is? So that won’t matter to them. There is one though that might trigger some of you. One movie being made is called Twelve Years a Piet and it references how more and more in the last couple of years, the Dutch tradition of Zwarte Piet has been equated with blackface and minstrel shows, and slavery. I won’t go into it here but my opinion on this can be summed up as:
“Fuck you, Jordan Peele and Colton Dunn!”
I just realized that video is already 20 years old and we still get crap about our culture from foreigners every December…
I think most of the Last Movie Outpost crowd will like Ron Goossens, Low Budget Stuntman. It’s rude, insensitive, VERY cringy at times, but everyone involved seems to have a really good time. It’s a short movie that feels like it could have been shorter. There’s quite a lot of padding, but the jokes mostly land, the crazy stunts are pulled off very well, and while you can guess the end of the movie in 3 minutes after Ron sets foot on the first set, the plot holds the randomness together just fine.
You just have to be the kind of person that can laugh at violence, accidents, drunk driving, alcoholism in general, misogyny, infidelity, drug use, paedophilia, and celebrity culture.