Monday, March 23, 2009

On Watching Non-Horror Movies

Once in awhile, I watch a movie that isn't a horror movie. Once in awhile means pretty much never. I don't own a single vhs that isn't a horror movie and most, and I'm talking 99.99 percent, of my dvds are horror or could be considered 'cult.' (Christian informed me yesterday that Pink Flamingos is, indeed, a horror movie, while I maintained my view that it is a comedy. So some titles, you see, are up for debate.) So yesterday was one of those rare occasions in which I watched a non-horror movie.

Christian's friend from back in the day made a movie and it had it's premier here in Richmond yesterday. Richmond is not the roaring metropolis many of you may think it is, so things like movie premiers aren't really the status quo 'round these parts. So that sounds fun and exciting, oh, I went to a movie premier yesterday. And it's always good to support the local artists in any community, so I was all like, yeah, I'll go to your friend's movie.

So we go and it's everything I imagined it. Slow paced, boring as the day is long, and centering on the excruciating daily menutia of one male character, the Builder, who begins the film as a carpenter and ends as a dishwasher. His relationships with female characters fall apart and he becomes increasingly lonely and unable to really make connections with people, try as he might. But he doesn't really try and spends a good portion of the center act trying to build a floor for a camper on a piece of land he recently procured. While it's cool to watch a movie with many shots and locales around of my hometown, this movie could have easily been saved by adding several horror elements, which of course, my horror-centric brain was waiting for at every turn, because that's just how I roll.

For instance, the opening scene has the Builder dude sharpening a pair of scissors. I'm like, sweet, he's gonna slit his wrists with those scissors. He's suicidal, he's going to kill himself. Right in the opening, we'll have a little bit of blood. No luck, he's sharpening the scissors to cut his mangy hair. Then he's in the kitchen, he's making breakfast, coffee, an egg or two, it's as exciting as it sounds. Then he breaks a glass. Cool, another opportunity for blood. Again, no luck. He cleans up the glass and receives a phone call. A boring phone call.

Next, the Builder is at work. He's a builder, get it, so he's using power saws and other potentially deadly equipment. Great, I think, some sort of amputation is bound to occur here, or at least, some bloodletting. Nope. No one even gets a splinter and the most excitement the audience is treated to here is a some measuring and cutting of wood. There may have been some discussion of the wood cutting, but that was about as action packed as this gets.

Meanwhile, I'm going over what I have to do the next day at work in my head and really requiring a margarita, and the Builder ends up on a patch of land that he bought to get out of the city or some shit. Because his life making breakfast, cutting wood, and talking on the phone must be getting to him, srsly stressing him out, man. So the land has a little lake on it - perfect opportunity for either flesh hungry fish creatures of some sort, and since it's in the woods, a nameless slashing killer hellbent on revenge. It could go either way. Or both ways. But of course it doesn't. He takes a little swim in the lake, cuts some more wood, hangs up his clothes on a line, and sleeps. Yes, we are actually treated to footage of the man sleeping.

Then there's some more stuff where he eats food in a diner and doesn't choke or wind up eating severed fingers and some footage of him driving safely with no gory accidents or mysterious hitchhikers, and then enters the challenging and fast paced world of dishwashing. Of course, the dishwasher is just your run of the mill industrial dish washing machine, it's not haunted and doesn't give the Builder disfiguring burns, and there's even a shot of deep fryer, but no one's face or appendages wind up in it. Then there's some bike riding and dog walking, resulting not in a bike crash or a dog attack, it's just bike riding and dog walking. There's also a party scene that doesn't look very interesting and the Builder drinks some PBR and might take bath before the move grinds to a close.

I'm used to watching el-cheapo movies and this was shot on the cheap, but was actually very technically proficient. It just could have been soooooooooo much more interesting if there was anything going on at all, anything, and it doesn't have to be the aforementioned violence I described above. I'm all about somebody making their indie movie and distributing and producing it themselves and showing it in their local community and blah blah. I wish I could say I did the same. The Builder is a good example of the one of the reasons I don't watch a lot of movies outside my genre. 'Indie' movies just come off as so pretentious. I can't see how watching some boring ass shit elevates you in any way. Not that being a horror freak elevates me in any way. I should probably stop. I'm going to blog myself into a hole. I'll start arguing with myself and wind up looking CRAZY. And I don't want any one thinking that :)

So yeah, I think I'll just stick to the horrors. They're much more fun on so many levels. I did sort of have a good time coming up with scenarios where violence could be inserted in The Builder. That gave me the idea for this post. So it wasn't all bad. And I got to have margaritas afterwards.


  1. You watch a non-horror movie and you have to wonder if you'll just end up with some re-tool of "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner". Essentially:
    1. Character has problems
    2. Character has some sort of run-in with a potential redeemer (either from getting cathartic, meeting love interest or run in with authoritarian figures and punishment)
    3. Character has chance to overcome personal issues
    4. Character shoots self in foot (literally - funny, or figuratively - makes me want to shoot them in the literal sense)
    A lot of Indie films are like this. I understand why they exist; but that doesn't mean I have to like them. After all, I would hate that person in real life but in a movie there is no possible way I can run up to them and dump their books.


  2. You should seriously have a job improving lame ass movies. I hate gettin my hopes up for a flick only to be disappointed by its lack of substantial moments. You would make sure the movie had some "bang for your buck" so to speak. Keep up the rockin reviews!!!!

  3. People give these movies standing ovations. I'm sitting in the theatre and looking around, glad the shit is finally over, and people are standing up applauding! I know people really don't like these types of movies, they only pretend like they do to score cool points or whatever it is they are thinking they are scoring. I'm not saying everyone should love horror movies, because then I wouldn't like them any more (hehe), but geez, there is no way watching some loser go thru the trials and tribulations of his boring ass life is entertaining, verite camera work or no verite camera work.