Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Monster Road"

"Monster Road" (2004) - Directed by Brett Ingram

The film centers on two men: Bruce Bickford, an artistic genius, the in-house clay animator for Frank Zappa from 1974-1980, and his father George Bickford, the self-proclaimed “smartest person around.”

The film captures a short period of time in the lives of father and son. Footage of Bruce’s earliest work is woven with stories of his childhood. His most recent work, which he spends hours creating in his studio (the basement of his childhood home outside of Seattle) is a window into the mind of an artistic genius. He is childlike, in the sense that he seems unaffected by the stress of typical American adult life (as he has managed to avoid it) and is captivated by the wonder of it all. A huge element of his work is his fascination with being a “little dude.”

George, a former Boeing engineer, faces the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. What remains of his vast knowledge and skill is behavior reminiscent of Cold War era paranoia. The walls of his home are filled with magazine cut-outs of “honest men” and hand-written notes like, “what will we do when the oil runs out?” The moments where George speaks are some of the most profound moments of the film. Bruce speaks about his father’s disappointment in him, and how he couldn't get over the fact that Bruce didn't have a real job until he “got Alzheimer’s and forgot.”

Bruce’s animations are surreal, psychedelic, beautiful, terrifying, and utterly otherworldly. Everything George says is a perfect little gem, worthy of hanging on the fridge. The original music by Shark Quest is brilliant. The pace is perfect.

It’s hard to talk about this film. Just see it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


"Cinemania" shows us the lives of a handful of obsessive film watchers. One guy is so dedicated that he eats food to constipate himself so he can keep to his viewing schedule with no prolonged bathroom breaks. Each person is quirky, fascinating, and definitely not quite "normal".