Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blockbuster Trash: Growing Out

You know, I don't like musicals, but I somehow keep seeing them. I would imply some sort of fault about myself, but, having already seen Blood Freak in one sitting, I have no true standard of quality. What do have, however, is a sense of expectation. For example, if I rent a movie called Lucifera: Demon Lover (which I have), I know that I am getting a bad Italian horror movie. That's exactly what it was, by the way, albeit a washed out, VHS print of one in the three dreaded words of any DVD buyer: pan and scan. You get my point though, I think. So guess how I feel when I watch a movie that is billed as a horror film and is not? If you guessed 'really damn annoyed,' then you would be right. In fairness, I should note that this was a Netflix rental, albeit by my brother. The thing, though, is that the movie was not ever near a theater and was a direct-to-video release, hence its qualification. With all that out of the way, let's tighten our grips for...
Growing Out
The film's premise simple, but grows complicated. Basically, this young singer-songwriter is out of work and trying to make a living. He takes on the task of house-sitting an old Victorian home that is inexplicably located in a bad neighborhood. It is sort of like how Lizzy Borden's house is across the street from a bus terminal, I guess. He taks this as a chance to work on his song catalog and performance skills. This was the first sign that something really bad was going on. The movie tries to lure you back with a curious premise, albeit one that feels 100% out of place here. While checking out the attic, our protagonist discovers a human hand growing out of the dirt floor. That's certainly an odd feature. Naturally, he is a little curious and confused about the whole thing. Using a bit of presumption and connective logic, he begins to water the damn thing! You, sir, are no doctor. That or you were given a really weird 'birds & the bees' speech as a kid. That leads us into our movie's second plot, which involves a nice young woman who moves in next door. Hey movie, keep focused!
Unfortunately, our movie has decided that the romantic sub-plot should be the dominant one. Basically, he befriends her, they get romantically-involved and sing together. As my teaser said, the movie really tries to be Once, the musical tale of a couple that sings together on the streets. While I don't particularly like the film (considering that it combines two genres I don't like: the romance and the musical), I can see the quality that was put into it. This movie- which is written and directed by a pair of relatives- is all about flimsy pretenses for the pair to do their songs. Back in the promising plot, the hand grows into and arm & only keeps going. When it grows into a partial person, that being appears to be a fully-functional human. He befriends our hero, who repays him by *sigh* singing his damn songs! He must be thinking, 'I grew out the ground for this crap?!?' The guy actually turns out to be nice and normal...well, all things considered, anyways. This lack of both plot and drama is hurting me.
In spite of my wishes, this movie continues to move at the speed of a government vehicle in a school zone. Our hero ends up having some drama with the girl due to her past (*cough*Chasing Amy *cough*), while he gets along fine with the mysterious entity in the basement. This leads me to the worst part of the movie: the lying. I'll explain it a bit more clearly. Our hero will experience something crazy- like the hand attacking him in his sleep- only for it to turn out to be a dream! This works maybe once in a film as an accent, but even then it is debatable. Case in point: 2009's Halloween II and its use of such a sequence early-on. The problem here is that the movie so boring and the only interesting parts all turn out to be dreams. Given that the film uses this trick at least three times, you and I have every right to be pissed. The last ten minutes tries to gain some horror cred, but at the cost of both logic and story. One word: fail.
This movie hurt. It was that slow kind of hurt, like when you get a long, deep cut on your leg that takes weeks to heal. It lingers and lingers for at least 90 minutes in this case. There is an interesting idea, but it is cast aside for a boring romance and an excuse for this guy to sing his songs. It is bad enough that he sings them in lieu of plot, but they also play it during montages! We all get it- you write songs. This definitely had some promise to it, but no budget, no screenplay editing and no good producer on set to wrangle in the stupid has left this film a mess. I should mention that- like The Displaced- it has its roots in a short film. Maybe you should not do that, guys. What works in short form, does not do so in long-form. If you need any proof, just rent A Night at the Roxbury or The Ladies Man.
Up next, I begin my Holiday celebration. I thought that I would put things into perspective this Thanksgiving season and cover some movies that I am really not thankful for. First on the menu, a Takashi Miike film so bleak and confusing that I needed to go online to figure out what the hell I just saw. Stay tuned...

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