Gavin Larson's band, The Zebras, is on top, living every rock and roll fantasy until Gavin's band mates perish in a fiery plane crash. Tormented by the memory of his band and the fading of ...
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Gavin Larson's band, The Zebras, is on top, living every rock and roll fantasy until Gavin's band mates perish in a fiery plane crash. Tormented by the memory of his band and the fading of his once bright star, Gavin begins a downward spiral of denial, delusion, and self-medication. His only chance at redemption rests in the people he's screwed and the bridges he's burned. Gavin's plan? To form a new band and rule the world.Written by
The buzz about "180" rolled in like a great crescendo to Springfield, Missouri around late 2010. Likes on their Facebook page skyrocketed and production updates rolled out by the week as the filmmakers boasted something truly exquisite. And then, days after its 2011 summer premiere, that noise evaporated with a swift and deafening silence.
After one viewing, it's not hard to see why.
The story of "180," a fairly standard redemption tale of a washed-up musician named Gavin Larson, has all of the familiar trappings the genre requires: a roundup of the band, a couple of failed attempts before the final triumph, and, of course, the obligatory romantic subplot.
The screenplay, penned by William A. Price III and director Nathan Pope, has all of the wit and subtlety of a Rob Schneider comedy rewritten by prepubescent teens. The narrative, formulaic as it may be, would have room for potential were it not sheathed in such humorless gags, ludicrous dialogue, and characters who are both nauseatingly idiotic and fundamentally unlikeable.
Gavin, a man who smokes, drinks, cheats, steals, abuses narcotics, and freely uses racist, misogynist, and homophobic slurs, is easily the most unredeemable protagonist ever put on film. He's played with the confident ineptitude only a washed up reality star could bring to the role; that star, of course, is former "Survivor" contestant Benjamin "Coach" Wade, best known for some incredibly dubious claims about breaking kayaking records and fighting pygmy tribes in the Amazon. Swell.
Luckily the bar wasn't set too high against Wade, however, with the crude Randy Evans as lead guitarist Marvin and fellow "Survivor" alumnus Danielle DiLorenzo as the thoroughly unpleasant Tuesday both foundering through their parts. Of course, who can totally blame them with a script so out to sea? These are characters so petty and selfish, one wonders how the filmmakers ever thought anyone would sympathize with them at all. The whole ordeal plays as if they set out to remake "The Blues Brothers" with all of the comedic irony and consequentialism removed--where the Blues Brothers were lovingly anarchist, the players of "180" are bitterly objectivist.
The gags through which these poor characters must suffer are even more demeaning. Nothing--music jokes with Nickelback punchlines, rhyming waiters dressed as caricatured hillbillies, casually lauded thievery, or extreme closeups of bent over asses and exposed crotches--is too obvious, trite, hateful, or vulgar for William A. Price III and Nathan Pope's script. How any of this could have be conceived as comedy is astounding.
What's even more puzzling about "180" is that, for a film about the comeback of a musician, there's a surprising absence of music throughout most of the picture. Even the most basic transition scoring and source music are conspicuously absent from the film. Take, for example, when Gavin plays a scene from his crummy reality show in a hotel room: when was the last time anyone remembers a reality show that wasn't bloated from start to finish with Garageband-quality music? Apparently, the makers of Gavin's show (and the filmmakers behind "180") missed the the most basic Filmmaking 101 bandaid for salvaging crappy scenes with music. Alas, the moment instead plays out with a painfully long silence that only serves to highlight the abounding shoddy camera-work, poor editing, and D-level performances.
Every element of "180" is contempt for good taste. The script has nothing but contempt for its characters, the camera-work nothing but contempt for decent cinematography, the acting nothing but contempt of its craft, and the direction nothing but contempt for quality filmmaking. This is a bad, bad movie. If you have not watched it yet, spare yourself the dime or nickel or penny the filmmakers hope to charge you for the viewing. And if they should screen it for free, hold out until they're offering an hourly rate with benefits. You'll surely need the mental health plan.
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