.

This week:
Morvern Callar

Filthy says:
"The kids aren't all right. They're fucking boring.
"


Nowadays, everyone's so fucking hypersensitive that there aren't many countries we can still make fun of. What the hell's the point of being a superpower, then? I mean, being a jerk is way more fun than being a bully. Sure, we can still call the Irish drunken brawlers because, well, they are. And when they object, it's usually along the lines of, "When I soberrrup I'm gunna kick yur arse. Waazle whirr bunn ferrr wuzzafuker." The French are pretty easy to pick on, too. Some of them are real assholes. The majority aren't, but they get so indignant when you say they all are that's it's totally worth lumping them all together. The problem is that we really owe the Irish an apology for the DeLorean, and the French have just as many reasons to make fun of us.

That leaves us with the Scots. We never enslaved their people, we didn't put up signs saying "Scots need not apply," and we did them the honor of naming our budget-line products "Scotch Buys." The men wear skirts, their chief export is peat moss and their Scottish Brogue is so thick even they can't understand what they're saying.

But the best reason to use the Scots as comedic whipping boys is there aren't many of them. If they boycotted us, so what? All those prick stockbrokers would have to find something other than single malt to be pretentious assholes about. If they attacked us, what would they do; bite us to death? Seriously, the Scots love to bite. I am a big fan of making fun of weaklings. It's the only time I don't get my ass kicked.

Morvern Callar is a Scottish movie, and worthy of mockery. It's as thick, hazy and muddied as a Scotsman telling a mechanic what's wrong with his car. "Arrrgh, the wee li'l bit o'heather! Aye, she squeals and, hoot-toot, hoot-toot! Yah, and then the wheel fell off." Morvern Caller is a rave movie with little plot and lots of mood, filled with garbled dialog, flashy "raw" cinematography and more lingering blurry shots of irrelevant shit than you'd get from a disposable camera given to a three-year old.

Samantha Morton is Morvern Callar, one of the wayward twenty-somethings we've seen dramatized way too many times. Sure, it's a weird name, but for all I know, maybe it's the Jane Doe of the lochs. In the movies, they are always on some wandering road trip, moody and superficially indifferent while dying inside. It's bullshit, of course. In real life, the wayward twentysomethings watch a fuckload of Friends, are bitter because they aren't rich and try to look superficially indifferent as a fashion statement. In reality, the kids are deeply indifferent and profoundly uninteresting, and superficially big fat zeros.

Anyway, the story opens with Morton finding her live-in boyfriend has committed suicide. Rather than face his death, she goes to a rave and leaves his body to rot. She keeps on living, not saying anything to anyone until, I guess, the stench gets to her. Then she carves him up and buries him. Then she runs off to rave-capitol Ibiza, Spain with a friend. Her boyfriend died after completing his novel, and Morton puts her name on it before sending out to publishers. It turns out the novel is pretty fucking great and worth a 100,000 advance.

That's about it. That's the plot: Morton in denial. There are bumps along the way, of course, but none very interesting. The movie mostly dwells on mood. Dozens of scenes appear to have been framed before their purpose was figured out (if it was). Several more are just so fucking slow that I got the point but still had to sit there for a minute waiting for something else to watch.

But the audience has to sit there, watch the pretty lights and ponder the meanings. Why did she claim the novel? Probably to, for a moment, feel like she accomplished something. We're supposed to ponder her nearly friendless existence, and her zombie-like progression through life. Is it because she has no future? If so, the Clash and 50 other bands covered that ground better and with more energy 25 years ago. Or is her attitude a sort of shock after her beau died, a way of dealing with it?

I wanted to see where this girl went. She's a zero posing as a fraud, so what happens when her acquaintances see she claims to have written a book and her boyfriend, the writer, is still missing? What does she do for a follow up? More about today's kids could be explored through her reactions to these situations than by showing her moping about endlessly.

The problem is that while we are left to think about the movie's unanswered questions, Morvern Callar is more interested in being artsy than pushing us toward any conclusions. That's okay for some points or some stories. The running time is made entirely of indecision and ambiguity; like a hundred balls were tossed in the air and none came down. Director Lynne Ramsay is committed to being noncommittal. And the funny part is that for all she leaves to the audience to determine, it's not a very smart movie. Too little is said for that.

Or, rather, too little is said that I could understand. My hearing isn't so great, probably because I love sticking shit deep into my ears. The bigger the better, I say. Once I got a whole waffle in there. Man, was that IHOP waitress impressed. Even with my limited hearing, though, I couldn't understand half of what these Scots were saying. For God's sake, speak English! And if you can't do that, use whatever the hell language they speak in England. Or how about some subtitles? When the Scottish brogues aren't too thick, the ambient noise drowns out conversations. I guess it's pretty fucking arty to use natural lighting and sound and sets. But, if that's the only way a director knows to make a movie naturalistic, she's not much of an artist. The art, to me, would be making it gritty and realistic while also intelligible.

Maybe Morvern Callar is a good movie for stoners. Everyone in it is always taking ecstasy, there are seizure-inducing strobe lights and lots of casual fucking. The girls get naked frequently enough, and still it's a fucking snore. Not enough importance for all the tedium. Not enough new thought for all the old ideas rehashed as products of the next generation. Two Fingers for Morvern Callar, unless you're a raver who thinks your indifference is really something special. Then you can have three.

Want to tell Filthy Something?

 





Filthy's Reading
James Ledbetter - Starving to Death on $200 Million

Listening to
Stephen Malkmus- Pig Lib

Watching

Marabunta


Shawn Edwards of Kansas City Fox-TV

The Core is "100% exciting! Edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that's a total blast."

Dreamcatcher is "Phenomenal! A first-rate edge-of-your-seat thriller with suspense, whiz-bang action and creepy excitement."

A Man Apart "examines the human element behind the badge."

Dysfunktional Family is "Hilarious! Totally off the hook!"

The Guys is "a smart, superb salute to American Heroes!"

 

©2003 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All fucking rights Reserved