I suppose if one were to consider the ongoing legacies of former New York City mayors, you’d have to agree that Ed Koch remains an intriguing presence on the cultural landscape (at times annoying, others endearing), especially when compared with the likes of David Dinkins or the perpetually jack-ass impersonating Rudy Giuliani.
After a short stint in the late 1990s at the bench of the People’s Court, Koch is now reviewing movies. No film critic is he, but some will find his frankly honest, folksy delivery quite funny, and charmingly reminiscent of the late, great quintessential grandpa Al Lewis, or really any aging male that loves to kibitz and name-drop.
Mayor at the Movies is shot inside the office of the law firm where Koch is currently ensconced as a partner. In some installments Koch will address the camera directly, at other times with eyes wandering towards a non-existent cue card, and still others referring to a printed page held over his desk. The Mayor is never coy about coming clean: “I liked it!” he says about Inglorius Basterds. “Go see it, you’ll love it!” he adds with his still-present-at-85 Bronx-Jewish accent and a reassuring nod, in reference to the cathartic killing of Nazis as his review draws to a close. Koch also doesn’t deal with thumbs. He ultimately ends each review with: “This movie gets a plus (+)” or “This movie gets a minus (-),”
There’s an intimacy here that fans of Old Jews Telling Jokes will find familiar and others will find endearing. Koch is by no means polished. His reviews come complete with a plethora of uh’s and a steady patter of stammering, just to let you know that here at Mayor at the Movies, everyone acts casual and we’re all friends.
But if you want to watch some real action, you’re best off with Koch’s sole commentary episode, where our informed, yet still morally schticky attorney comments on the Roman Polanski hullabaloo circa last October. Here you’re likely to learn of some carnal details about the act of offense you’re not likely to be familiar with. And along the way, you’ll get a nice name-check of a few of the many in-defense-of-Polanski supporters, ‘the elites’ as Koch calls them: “Whoopi Goldberg…who I know, who I like, I like her humor…” he points out before describing flaws in her worldview.
Mayor at the Movies is the kind of web series that may only hit a very niche demographic, but for the most part, it feels good just to know it’s out there, and we can leave it at that.