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A chance meeting in a parking lot in 1979 between filmmaker Trent Harris and a young man from Beaver, Utah inspired the creation of an underground film that is now known as Beaver Trilogy. But the film itself is only part of the story.
At a public records office, a seemingly normal boss has hired a new employee named Bartleby. Bartleby however, is eccentric and with each passing day, he begins to refuse his boss' orders which only gets worse. Eventually, the boss finds himself clueless as to what to do about Bartleby as he discovers even stranger things about him.Written by
My first reaction to "Bartleby" is that this movie is much like a previous Crispin Glover effort, "Rubin and Ed" about a strange, directionless man with little background, who plods his way through life carelessly. Some of the awkward moments and surreal dialogue and movements within Bartleby seem to be forced, trying to hard, to capture a campy feel. The film doesn't quite reach a campy status though because of this. Although Glover captures his quirky behavior perfectly, from staring at the air vent for hours, to endlessly saying "I prefer not to.." to every work request, and the dynamics of the working relationship with his boss are interesting at times. Joe Piscopo and Maury Chaykin have some strange roles as co-workers who are up to no good... how these guys stay employed are a mystery.
Bartleby has two major problems. One is, it just gets boring. A good slow movie can do and say a lot, but Bartleby just seems to be obsessed more with how weird it can be, how far it can push the surrealism of its cast and the corporate buildings on the hills. Another thing is, why does Bartleby's boss take such an interest in him? What is the motivation? Perhaps this is best explained in Herman Melville's book, from which this movie is based. For a Crispin Glover fan, this is even barely worth watching.
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