Friday, April 1, 2011

White Elephant 5: The Pain. The Pain.

(I'm taking a brief break from Raimifest to join in the "fun" of The White Elephant Blogothon. An April Fool's Tradition since 1908.)

Yeah but I mean this chick what a freak--- I mean to have the nerve to… WHAT she DID and call it LOOOVE??? I mean, she she she---- kills her boyfriend, and I’m sorry--- Eats Him? And then has the NERVE to call it love??? Cuts his head off--- cooks his, liver his his his ---…kidneys and has the nerve to call it love?... What a fucking beast piece of trash...

“What do you know about love Morris? Have you ever loved a woman?”

“What the hell are you talking about?... Women!!!”

Actual Dialogue Exchange in Diary Of A Cannibal. Presented in all its Shatneresque glory.

I didn’t watch Diary Of A Cannibal, it happened to me.

Checking the run time as I am want to do, I went “Oh good only eighty minutes this will be a breeze.” Three excruciating hours later, I awoke in a pool of my own blood and bile. I reached for the remote to check how much time had passed and found that only twelve non subjective minutes had gone by.

There are certain movies that are tonic to would be independent filmmakers because they inspire with how much the filmmakers manage to do with so little. There are other films that make you realize “Holy shit if this can get a distributor there’s no way I can fail.” And then there are the films like Diary Of A Cannibal. The types of films that make you not like films anymore.

To call the filmmaking merely amateurish would be a great insult to incompetents of any stripe. To call the acting in the film soap opera-ish is an insult to the fine people who have been bringing us Days Of Our Lives for all these years. Saying that the characters and direction feel like outtakes from The Room profane that Wiseau touch. Don’t even bring up Ed Wood in the same sentence as these guys.

The film starts off with references the paintings of Goya. Way to aim small guys, nothing to draw attention to your shitty sub par DV then some of the most lusciously detailed paintings in the Western canon. We then cut directly to a hospital, where we get… well I don’t know what we get. I’d summarize the movie but there’s no way I can convey the brain bleeding narrative shredding of it all. If your community theater staged a remake of David Lynch’s Inland Empire I doubt it’d end up any more incoherent then this.

This is the type of movie that uses an intertitle to introduce The 405. Though perhaps it makes sense since such a nigh unbelievable amount of the film is people driving on said freeway. You haven’t seen a movie pad out this much of it’s runtime with footage of people aimlessly driving to nowhere, shot from within the car, since Manos The Hands Of Fate. A droning score plays over this. It sounds alternating like someone bashing the shit out of an oil drum with an omni mic and the cheapest Garage Band tricks available, is by I shit you not, “Moon Sombre.” Not having to encounter people named Moon Sombre being one of the best things about moving from LA.

Ulli “Name Above The Title” Lommell displays his name several times before the title and then, as his nickname would suggest, prominently above the title as well. Which is kind of like taking out an ad in the local paper announcing you’ve had incest.

The film can never properly said to begin, but it does lurch into Frankenstein motion once the first ten minutes of the runtime have been burned through. Occasionally Intercutting itself with actual slaughterhouse footage for that extra strain of unbearable jackassery. Nearly every seen has Cross Dissolves. That and Bible Quotes. And Cross Dissolves. And Montages. And Oh so many Cross Dissolves.

But it’s easy to see why Ulli “I’m actually proud of this” Lommell would pay such slapdash attention to the visuals when he had such dialogue like this. It’s the kind of dialogue that would happen if somehow Aaron Sorkin could have a baby with David Mamet. Here let me give you a sample

“I wish I could have helped paint the Sistine Chapel.”

“One Thing I could never get over was the death of my father.”

I started typing down every exchange of terrible dialogue, but had to stop fifteen minutes in when I found that doing so had given my finger’s Leprosy. But I did manage to get just one more in. Consider this exchange that I managed to get down before I lost my fingers up to the knuckle to Hansen’s Disease.

“You have taken control of my hospital!”

“If you continue to Interupt this interview it will take MORE time!”

“If you are not out of here in five minutes. I’ll Call The Police!


There is a moment when the lead carries on an obviously improvised conversation with a real alcoholic, schizophrenic, bum who claims to be a former San Quentin/UCLA/MOCA alumni as he nurses what appears to be his seventh Steel Reserve Tall boy of the day. It is my sad duty to inform you that he is by far the most coherent person in the film.

Joe. I’m coming for you. Not even kidding buddy. A cross country drive is a small price to pay for revenge. And I ain’t gonna eatcha buddy.

I’m gonna make you watch it again…

What a fucking beast piece of trash.


Erich Kuersten said...

Isn't your blog called 'things that DON'T suck'? You LIED!!!

Bryce Wilson said...

Well I AM a liar. I mean come on! ; )

Paul C. said...

Wow, this sounds terrible. Glad I didn't end up with it. Entertaining review all the same

Thanks again for participating.

Stacia said...

Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. I had blissfully gone through about a dozen White Elephant entries on films that didn't sound too bad... then I read this. Awful, just awful. And in the middle of Raimifest, too, when you can't help but compare this dreck to the Raimi films you've watched.

le0pard13 said...

Oh, thank you for warning me off of this one. Thanks, Bryce.

Caroline said...

Would it make you feel better if I told you I'm glad it was you and not me?

No? Not at all?

My condolences, anyway.

Steve C. said...

I am going to use this review to talk Simon Abrams into an Ulli Lommel podcast. YOU WILL NOT HAVE SUFFERED IN VAIN!

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Paul C.: You dodged a bullet there. And yet I'm looking forward to next year.

@ Stacia: Yeah it was like getting stabbed in the eye.

@ Le0pard13: If I can save one person from watching it. It's worth it.

@ Caroline: Cold Comfort.

@ Steve C.: I will look forward to hearing it. Unless it causes Lovecraftian Madness.