Sunday, April 14, 2013

THE FP (2011)

When the history of "bad movies" is written, our time will be marked as a turning point, like the Battle of Agincourt or Cher's "Believe".  There have always been a select few of us who have the ability to look beyond mistakes and missteps and see the dizzy beauty of SHOWGIRLS, the storm-swept heart of GIGLI, even generate passion for Douglas Sirk.  And there have always been normal people who genuinely loved incredibly awful things: Adam Sandler is still making movies and Fleetwood Mac have not yet had to resort to crack-whoredom to pay the bills.  But, suddenly, the stars have aligned and big swathes of the population are "ironically" repping fatally-flawed or poorly-conceived films and music.  It feelsbadman.jpg.

But it means that movies of this type are now being deliberately courted for release to this sort of nu-midnight movie crowd.  I really don't think that the people who made THE ROOM, TROLL 2, ROBOT MONSTER, or any canonical accidentally-great work really set out to do what they eventually did.  Lots of people are intentionally trying to match their results, though, and most of them are going to fail.  As most of you have figured out, the worst kind of genuinely bad movie is a bad comedy and we're probably about to be hit with a lot of them.  THE FP sits somewhere between that nadir of hipstery bullshit and the great traditions of outlandish miscalculated cinema.

Set in an alternate version of the 90s, maybe, the "FP" of the title is Frazier Park, a town full of trashy kids who live to compete in an off-brand Dance Dance Revolution game called Beat Beat Revelation.  They also use and talk a lot about pagers.  In a transparent BLOODSPORT nod, we open with a tragic game-related death,  followed by vengeance.  THE FP doesn't do a lot to differentiate itself from the other action movies on the conveyor belt of plot.  If you've seen KARATE KID, BLOODSPORT, etc., a lot of this will be familiar to you.  

What is different is the kind of weird potpourri of cultures that The FP has.  Dress and decor in this town are like you flipped the channel from BET to CMT to MTV and then somehow smushed them all together.  Gold teeth AND coonskin caps AND moon boots AND confederate battle flags. The dialogue is choice as well, once you get past the early barrage of "I hope you ready for this shit, cranberry juice!" and "After Btro got 187ed, the FP lost its shit!"-type nonstop noise.  Lines like "We can't take out L Dubba E and his bullshit-ass shit alone!" and "Stop it, Dad!  He's been pulling out, I swear!" work better than you'd think from a first glance, so stop judgin'.  Some of the comedy works, too, especially the absurder stuff like "Goddamn drunks goin' straight edge right on the street!"  And the electrified tennis racket.  And the girl in the background whose clothes keep falling off!

This started off as a short and it should have maybe stayed truer to its short roots, cause there's a little too much of it.  If I give you the premise—messed-up wigga/rednecks use pagers and pay phones to set up dance contests to the death—you'd be happy.  If I took 90 minutes to give you the premise, maybe not so much.  Brilliant design and costuming aside, there isn't a lot beyond the basics here.  It's not as manic as it could have been.  A lot of the jokes fall flat or get repeated to death, so you feel a little winded by the time the movie eventually winds down.

I enjoyed a lot of this, but probably wouldn't watch it again.  Worth a spin for the concept and set design, but not in the league of something like MANBORG as far as recent examples of this "genre" go.  Keep an eye on the film's makers, though, they've clearly got an aptitude for this kind of thing.  

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