The Something Something Film Review

Some films have that special something, and some films seem like they stepped in something. Allow me to help you know the difference, and maybe find you something good to watch.

Some Absurd Films (Part 1)

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to put together a list of some great, strange, absurd films that I know about, and now, after having watched WRONG (2012) I feel it’s time to start that.

But before I do, let me preface by saying I’m going to ignore David Lynch. He’s great, he’s amazing. But everyone knows this. He is the go-to guy for absurd film. I’m also going to ignore (with an exception) most of Charlie Kaufman’s work (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION, ETERNAL SUNSHINE) for the same reasons. He’s great, he’s weird, and you already know this.

On with the show.

wrongposterWRONG (2012) is the story of a man who wakes up one day to find his dog is missing. Not so weird, right? Pretty normal. The genius of this film is the tone of surreality is so ubiquitous that it becomes the new normal. It rains inside the office where he works. And I mean downpours. But no one ever mentions it nor explains it. The great William Fichtner plays a mysterious, face-burned-with-acid character with an insanely muddled accent named ‘Master Chang’. I don’t want to spoil any more details for you, but suffice it to say, he is so wonderfully weird in this, everyone is. From beginning to end, this film is a parade of surprises. WRONG is so right. This is directed by the same guy who made RUBBER in 2010.

???????????????????RUBBER (2010) is the story of a car tire in the middle of the desert that gains sentience and goes on a killing-spree … what?! Yup. Telekinetic tire making your head explode a la SCANNERS. In a lesser film-maker’s hands that same premise would be reduced to a schlocky B-movie horror where the emphasis is on the tire and the killing. But the director (Quentin DePieux) is better than that. I mean, he does that too, but he also plays with the fourth-wall by allowing a large group of strangers to watch the carnage from afar, and follows their conversations about what is happening. RUBBER is meta-maniacal brilliance.

slipstreamcoverSLIPSTREAM (2007) is Anthony Hopkins’ baby. He wrote it, directed it, starred in it, wrote the score, conducted it for the orchestra, and had a dominant hand in editing it. I feel like I should warn you, critics HATE this film. They call it confusing, half-baked, and a failure. I disagree. Vehemently. Well, I’ll admit it can be a bit confusing along the way. But don’t worry about that. Enjoy the ride, stay with it, it’ll become clear. Do you hate the mirror fun-house for being confusing? No. So listen: It’s the story of an aging screenwriter whose characters he’s writing about are starting to invade his reality. Or something. It’s better if you don’t know. I’ll just say: ‘A man has trouble with reality.’ How about that? This has a great cast (John Turturro, Christian Slater, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Clark Duncan), and the whole thing is so creatively crafted. Every time I re-watch it, I am re-surprised that it is so roundly rejected. Ignore the haters. Listen to meeeeeeee!

HOLY MOTORS (2012) certainly deserves a spot on ‘The Weird List’. I’ve already written a review of it, but let me reiterate. This is a parade of absurdity. Crazy, surreal, meta, awesomeness. Watch it.

sweetmoviecoverSWEET MOVIE (1974) – This is some effed up sh right here. In fact, this film is probably too much ‘weirdness’ for you. Made in the 70’s by Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev, this film was banned or severely edited in most countries. Honestly, this is one of the most insane films I’ve ever seen, and there are images and situations in here that will stay with you forever. I won’t provide you with anything as mundane as a plot or other particulars. Just a sweet metaphor before I move on. SWEET MOVIE is like a slap in the face by a beautiful, naked woman wearing a gorilla mask and one yellow rain-boot. Oh, and her hand is filled with poo. And confetti. And then she tickles you.

living_wakecoverTHE LIVING WAKE (2007) is a wildly under-appreciated film that I am in love with. The writing is witty and whimsical, with an undercurrent of darkness that only briefly and sporadically surfaces, and never weighs the story down. I love the way the film looks too, with its faux-formal folk-tale-aesthetic in a ROYAL TENENBAUM’S kind-of-way. This is the story of K. Roth Binew, a charmingly pretentious man who finds out that he is about to die soon, so he travels around (in his rickshaw!) and invites his friends, his enemies, and others to his ‘living wake’, where he will sing and dance and tell people off, whatever. Jim Gaffigan plays his wisely befuddled father, and Jesse Eisenberg is his co-hort, amongst other things.

Of all the films in this list, this is the one that you probably have not yet seen, that you really should.

Once I started actually putting the list together, I found that it was plenty large enough to break up into bite-size pieces. So I will end the first installment of ‘Some Absurd Films’ here.

No, here.

3 comments on “Some Absurd Films (Part 1)

  1. Matthew Champ
    November 13, 2013

    While I haven’t seen all of the movies listed here I have to agree with the Rubber selection – but disagree with Slipstream. The movie was a messy stream of consciousness. I hate when I have to agree with a lot of the critics out there… but the entire movie just didn’t make sense. I just felt like the cast were all there out of respect to Anthony Hopkins, and for no other reason, because if anyone else tried to make this movie – it just wouldn’t have happened. No one would have touched it with a ten foot pole. It felt like Hopkins vanity project was stealing from Lynch the entire film – but couldn’t come close to making it a complete film. But then again – to each their own… right?

    • Something Something (todd)
      November 13, 2013

      That seems to be the gist of people’s complaint with SLIPSTREAM, that it was messy stream-of-consciousness that didn’t make sense. But if you stay with it till the end, it DOES come together. ***SPOILER***It is a man’s mind trying to hold on to life after an accident. His body is dying, and his mind is rebelling against that. What we see are the threads of his memories as they twist and warp and attempt to persuade him to let go. I see it as a beautiful comment on mortality as seen through the lens of a film-maker, a kind of death-bed soliloquy. Yes, it is stream-of-conscious, but that’s the point, and it’s not like it jumps every 30 seconds without ANY continuity. There are traditional scenes, and there are plenty of clues. But when it’s all said and done, really, I just enjoyed the moments as they came (realizing Turturro’s blu-tooth isn’t plugged it, that guy flipping out saying “We’ve lost the plot!”, Slater and Tabor in the diner, I love it. I love the cinematography, I love the editing, I love the madness and the sense of being lost. You probably won’t take me up on this, but I also love the audio commentary Hopkins created for this film. He answers all of your questions and he’s just a pleasure to hear speak about his experiences making this film. As far as “stealing from Lynch” goes, sure. I’ll agree that Lynch is a good match for comparison. But don’t forget that Lynch stole from others, and them from others too. Film-making is an organic thing, and everyone is influenced by everyone. And I would rather see a film influenced by Lynch, than one influenced by, say, Stephen Sommers. Steal from the best! … but yes, to each their own. If you weren’t enjoying yourself during the film, no argument of mine about the over-all point will win you over. And, honestly, I know I’m in the minority here. SOOOOO many people hated SLIPSTREAM. But not me, and I’m sticking to my guns 🙂

      • Matthew Champ
        November 13, 2013

        I’d almost rather have him steal from Uwe Boll than someone like Stephen Sommers… actually… that could be entertaining… imagine Anthony Hopkins directing Slipstream with a Uwe Boll take on things… I could get behind that. In fact, I would probably even watch the commentary then. I could barely sit through Slipstream the first time though, so I don’t think I’m going to venture into doing it with the Hopkins commentary. Good post though – will have to check out some of your other absurdities.

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