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In the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, social misfit Jimmy Wright always has his video camera - at his psychiatrist's, spying on his parents in their bedroom, and watching high-school senior, Judy Oaks-Kellen. He rescues Judy from a teacher and students who tease and torment her, and showing her his video tape of revenge kick-starts their friendship, which is soon in an overdrive of romance, sex, and pleasure. Jimmy is in and out of mental institutions, and before long, he and Judy are on the run. Cocaine, guns, and a commune of other misfits figure in their flight. How far can their love take them? It's all on video. Written by
[coming into video focus]
Jimmy, we discussed this, you can't tape our sessions, it's not allowed. Does your defiance make you feel more powerful? Filming people makes you feel like you're in control of the situation, doesn't it? Maybe?
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There is a very brief period of many peoples' young lives, usually sometime in junior high school or high school, when it is cool to be a loser, an outcast. The girls like the guys that ditch school and get in trouble with the police and have disastrous relationships with their parents. That period of life does not, however, extend beyond high school, which might be why 21-year-old Jimmy (played by a plump, 30-year-old Eddie Furlong) manages to get a high school girl to fall in love with him.
I love the irony here, by the way. Judy is clearly a smart and successful student who one day is attacked by a group of girls, the bad kids (by the way, do high school girls really do this? Definitely not when I was in school ), which Jimmy catches on tape because he films everything. Later he exacts vicious revenge on two of the people involved in the attack and shows it to Judy, who is horrified but ultimately touched that he would look out for her in such a way. Soon afterwards she falls intensely in love with Jimmy, who is not a far cry removed from the same kinds of jerks that attacked her in the first place.
This is going to be a film that most people will either love or hate, although I happen to have strongly disliked it, but I didn't hate it. It's an extremely simply made film, shot almost entirely from the perspective of a home video camera and cut for the most part to run like an unedited MiniDV tape. There won't be any concern about motion sickness, but it's an intensely realistic portrayal of the lives of a couple of genuinely screwed up kids. In short, for a good majority of the movie it is genuinely unpleasant to watch, as it is meant to be.
Personally, I knew a lot of people like Jimmy (minus the killing) in high school because I hung out with the wrong people for a couple years. These are the guys that never go home because they hate their parents and are always drunk or on drugs. I don't know why people hang out with people like that, they are highly unpleasant to be around, particularly the nutty ones like the crackhead that Jimmy and Judy shack up with for a couple hours midway through the movie. I like movies that bring back fun memories from high school. Jimmy and Judy brings back memories, but all the wrong ones.
I bought the movie, by the way, because I was curious to see what Eddie Furlong was up to these days. He was phenomenal in Terminator 2 but his career never really seemed to go very far after that, except for his outstanding role in the spectacular American History X. I don't know much about his personal life, but he is a little TOO good at playing a dirtbag. It's also interesting that he looks so handsome on the cover box, because little Eddie has become quite the meatball.
Anyway, his Jimmy in this movie is an unhinged lunatic with absolutely no redeeming values whatsoever, while Judy is pretty and smart. Whether you like the movie or not, believing her interest in him is no small feat. They are polar opposites and it's nearly impossible to understand what she sees in him, but their chemistry works well enough so I guess it doesn't matter. We do, however, see in great detail why Jimmy is so twisted (we are, after all, products of our environment, and his parents' relationship is one of the sickest marriages I've ever seen, in a movie or otherwise), but we learn nothing about Judy's past, including why she was being bullied at school.
But the worst part of all, by far, is this ridiculous commune at the end of the film. It is a mixture of a twisted cult group and what I imagine Woodstock must have looked like. You see, there is some insane fanatic known as Uncle Rodney who has started this as a place for trashy people to go live. I think his exact words were "garbage people," meaning they are the garbage of society. Nice. I can see the appeal already.
This Rodney is played by William Sadler, who must never have had a more pointless role. The only purpose he serves here is to make this already trashy movie look like preachy crap. You can feel yourself being punched in the face with the transparent "social commentary" when he gives his goofy, fiery speech near the end of the movie. You see, apparently he believes that by providing this retreat for the trash of society, they'll become stronger with each new addition, while the "outside world" gets weaker with every one, until they become so strong that they can rain garbage on the world that threw them away and then "fornicate in their ashes." Are you hearing this? WOW.
I would hate to be the one to burst his balloon, but I have a feeling that the subtraction of a lot of criminals and junkies and drunks is not exactly going to make society weaker
Ultimately, the movie starts off as a serious downer and goes downhill from there. I was thoroughly depressed by the time it was over and couldn't even take my afternoon nap. I hate that.
Note: Another IMDb user called this the best film at the San Fran Indie Fest. Boy am I glad I missed that one. And by the way, some lunatic from the San Francisco Chronicle has claimed that this is the movie that Natural Born Killers wanted to be, and at 1/20th of the cost.
Yeah, right. They spent $500,000 on this? Scary. I would say that not more than about $1,200 made it onto the screen .
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