October 23rd marks the release of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020). Ahead of the sequel's debut, I wanted to take a look back at the original film and lay out my picks for the Coolest, Toughest, Lamest, and Weakest moments from Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006).
It's been a bit since we've run a CTWL, so here's a reminder on what it all means. Nothing. Or everything. It's beautifully subjective and ripe for argument. Everyone has their own opinion of what's cool, tough, lame, or weak. That means you can really let me have it and tell me how wrong I am.
Coolest Moment: Humor Coach
This one has me in stitches every time. Borat visits a humor coach to learn how to tell American jokes. After discussing the viability of mother-in-law or retardation jokes, we get to the real meat and potatoes, 'not' jokes. Sacha Baron Cohen is stone-cold throughout the entire lesson. He plays off of cultural and language barriers constantly and excels. His comedic timing is on full display as he makes a joke of the jokes. To call it all back at the very end with Pamela Anderson in the parking lot is what locks this in as my pick for coolest moment.
Toughest Moment: Naked Wrestling Match
After a rough day, Borat finds solace in a nice soak in the bathtub. When he returns to his room, he discovers his trusty producer Azamat going to town on himself, using the Pamela Anderson Baywatch book no less. The naked brawl that ensues is hilarious. From the size of the blur used on Borat's nether-regions to the brawl spilling out in a full crowded hotel. At one point, the two naked men wrestle it out on the bed in a very sexual position. Cohen and Ken Davitian had to have literal stones to pull this off. And they did, everyone who watched could literally see them.
Weakest Moment: Frat Boy RV
This has little to do with the scene itself, as it's pretty hilarious. It was the frat boys on-screen who earn it this distinction. They are the only ones, in my opinion, who would have behaved the exact same way regardless of whether Borat was with them. They were all just so very bro, and being in college at the time I knew way too many people who are really lucky they were never so unlucky as to invite Borat into their nest.
Lamest Moment: Borat's Village
Similar to the last example, it's not the actual content that leads to this distinction. The back story of the villagers is as over-the-top as you'd expect, with various rapists, town prostitutes, and livestock all over the place. Lots of laughs to be had, but the people of the town weren't treated the greatest. The town is depicted as being in Kuzcek, Kazakhstan which is Borat's home. The town itself is Glod, Romania and it even attempted to sue the producers of the movie for their depiction. They argue it was presented to them as a documentary about extreme poverty, but the producers claim that it was clearly satirical in nature, hence putting a cow in someone's home. I don't know how many third-world villagers have a firm grasp on satirical film making. Kinda lame excuse.
Hopefully, this list serves as a tasty appetizer before checking out the sequel, which was released on Amazon Prime Video today.