I couldn’t really explain to you what makes me like a movie. I don’t like them, in general. Going to a movie theatre is one of my least favourite things to do in the world. Maybe that’s fudging the truth a little. Going to a theatre to pay $8 to see 90 minutes of near unintelligible crap is one of my least favourite things in the world. Of course, not all movies are seen in movie theatres. And, usually to my great surprise and delight, not all of them are unintelligible crap. Usually the only chance i get to watch new movies is when i am at home alone with HBO. HBO doesn’t have the greatest selection of movies in the free world, but every so often i see something that i really like, whether it be old or new.
I saw one tonite. When i first started watching it Matthew Lillard was launching into a lenghty monologue while sporting a massive blue mohawk. He looked very punk rock and was cursing at his parents. I vaguely approved and then went to the kitchen to warm up some lasagna. When i came back, the movie was still on, so i sat like the cow that i am and watched it. And loved it. It’s not as though i’m part of the punk movement, or can especially appreciate the lives of the characters, but for some reason i was especially struck by the film.
Lillard’s character Stevo graduated pre-law with honors and was living the life of a random anarchist along with his friend Mike and his at-times companion Sandy. He doesn’t have much direction in his life, and spends much of his time at parties, talking to the camera about posers, mods, and pushers. But somehow, his character changes. Having missed the beginning of the movie i can’t quite account for it. His father gets him into Harvard law school without even asking him and they verbally tussle over whether owning a porsche makes you a nazi before going out to lunch. He soon finds his punk life dissolving around him; he sees a nuclear holocaust light up the sky behind his not-girlfriend Sandy at the end of a meandering acid trip. She leaves him.
So why am i so fascinated with this movie? Maybe it’s the fact that Stevo seems without brain or direction but in reality is the most together guy in his whole scene. Maybe it was his revulsion at one friend finding love (“you’re a fucking poser”) or another getting a degree in botany (“a tree hugger”). Maybe it was when he ran into an old friend who had become a beggar on the street. Or maybe it was the fact that beneath everything else that was happening Stevo was directing his own life’s story, unbeknownst to everyone standing around him at parties. Despite what anyone else might have thought or said, his progression from controlled anarchy to chaotic rigidity seems to have all clicked into place for him. And that was all i needed.