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Slackers is "A funny, raunchy comedy with a great cast!"

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©2001 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:


Filthy says: "There're few better ways to waste time."

 Filthy says:
"We've bottomed out!"

Years ago, I saw a great movie that portrayed the slacker ethos. It did it so well that my roommate was moved to tears. For the first time in his life, he was motivated to pursue a dream, and that was to do nothing. Up until then he had done nothing with the intention of eventually getting around to curing cancer or writing the great Americna novel. After seeing the movie, he realized that doing nothing with no pretension to ever change was what he needed. He stopped talking about law school, started passing out watching television late into the night, waking up in a stupor and pissing in the fireplace. He dropped out of school and dedicated himself to becoming the world's foremost expert on soap and shampoo commercials featuring hot chicks lathering up in showers. He figured if he watched long enough that eventually the camera-men, editors, advertising agencies and network censors would all slip up and show a tit or pussy.

The movie that inspired my roommate was Slacker. Now, a fucking disaster of massive proportions, the eleventh plague upon the Earth, has been released by the greedy pigs at Screen Gems. It's a miserable ripoff of the bankrupt genre of gross-out teen comedies. This movie is called Slackers. The extra S is for shit: hot monkey shit full of blood, corn and glass shards. It's dirtier, more unpleasant and foul than anything Rosie O'Donnell's ass could produce, even after her typical breakfast of eight bowls of Wendy's chili and a side of pork. Unlike Slacker, Slackers will inspire nobody. All it will do is make you want to punch someone in the gut. What a fucking mess; the cinematic equivalent of the Harelip's scabbie lips after she drunkenly picks at her cold sores.

Please rent Slacker instead. It's Richard Linklater's first and best film, a journey through the barely-there subculture of layabouts in Austin, Texas. There is no plot that directs you from A to B. That would be counterproductive to the entire idea of slackers. They aren't trying to get anywhere. In fact, the beauty of slacking is that you're perfectly content to sit at A and think about it. Slackers are people whose lives are suspended forever in a post-college haze. Each day is a ritual of achieving nothing but talking a lot about it. Like the movie's characters, the movie drifts through the city, latching momentarily on to bums, curmudgeons, anarchists, conspiracy theorists and philosophizers. As you leave one person, you join another, and so on, each with something interesting to say. As one character so eloquently summarizes, "Hey, I may live badly, but at least I don't have to work to do it." Those are words to live by. Slacker is simultaneously amateurish and clunky, seamless, flowing and a pure celebration of unique lives. It's about the pure joy of having nothing better to do than fart around with old cars, rationalize that the Smurfs are part of a Krishna conspiracy, or linger in bookstores.

By contrast, Slackers celebrates the idea that sex can be dirty without being fun. Really, it isn't a film at all. It's just someone taking a dump on celluloid. It's also not about slackers. Hell, if they can call this Slackers Peter Pan can be called The Big Tittie Bonanza and be no less misleading. Where Slacker tells a story and saturates you in a directionless world of thinkers and tinkerers, Slackers is a guided missile pointed at an oversized and worn out target as wide as Dipshit Suzanne's ass. And still, it misses over and over. It misses worse than me trying to piss into the Harelip's purse at two a.m. The only thing we learn from the story is that the screenwriter and director are immature creeps who probably giggle uncomfortably when they hear someone say "boobs" or "vagina."

Three asshole college kids are supposed to be lovable because they cheat their way through school and then celebrate by drinking beer and watching a big-screen TV. How cool. They're just like frat guys without the social acceptance. The jig is up when they are caught by campus weirdo Jason Schwartzmann. In exchange for not ratting them out, they have to help him bag the girl of his dreams, the weird-looking James King (yeah, that's a girl but she sort of looks like maybe she was an elf who had a sex change). Guess what? The best looking of the three assholes (sleepwalker Devon Sawa) falls in love with her. Out of jealousy, Schwartzmann goes nuts and tries to sabotage him. He tells King that Sawa was using her to avoid being ratted out. Of course, she gets angry and dumps him. Oh, shit, will they get back together? As in all of these sloppy movies, he wanders around campus until he comes to the realization that to win his girl he must denounce his old ways. Fucking yawn. And like in every other shitty teen movie, he wins the girl with a heartfelt, cornball and totally out-of-place BIG SPEECH. I wonder if this type of crap felt original the first time someone did it a thousand movies ago.

Slacker is like no other movie you'll ever see. It's part Buñuel but mostly distinctly Linklater. You aren't observing slackers, you're in their midst. It's not only about people, it's also about their ideas that are tossed into the air because their authors have no motivation to do anything else with them. To the slackers, it's enough reward to just think. The movie is smart because it treats the nutjob who claims the astronauts found a spaceship already on the moon equal to the old-man anarchist whose spent his entire life contemplating blowing up the Texas State Capitol. And they both get the same respect as the girl trying to sell a Madonna pap smear. Right in the middle is a tribe of kids, running and shouting "Come on, we're wasting time!" as though that were a bad thing.

Slackers is like every other crude teen comedy. Or rather, it's a mimeographed copy; the edges are dull and blurred and it's a cheap copy that smells like bad cheese. The screenwriter and director do a very bad job of aping other gross-out comedies. They mistake being weird for being funny, crude for shocking, annoying for quirky. Most of the setups have no punchline, just a weird sexual or farting situation that falls flat.

For example, a masturbating girl is "funny" to the filmmakers because they think it's outrageous for someone to jerk off. What fucking eunuch colony are they living in? What normal adult thinks jerking off is twisted? And why is it funny that she diddles her clitoris to orgasm. I wouldn't trust a woman who didn't. Later, that same masturbating girl gets into bondage because, as every fucked-up, sexually-repressed director knows, masturbation is a gateway to sadomasochism and eventually autoerotic asphyxiation. We're all going to hang ourselves. Fuck it, the masturbation scene isn't even hot. Nothing is. It's all just creepy and cheap. It's supposed to be a teen comedy, you Hollywood assholes. Teen boys may see it and they will be much more likely to tell their friends about it if we see big young tits swinging and hot chicks acting normal. So would I.

Another scene has Schwartzmann inexplicably giving the ancient Mamie Van Doren's tits a sponge bath. The gag is that she's old. There's no other joke here. Tee hee. If old people having tits cracks you up, go get yourself a copy of "Grannyfuckers 1 and 3" (skip "2", it's a downer) and piss your pants silly.

There are many more scenes that may draw giggles from people who have never seen the opposite sex naked and would die of fright if they did. But the only truly funny thing is knowing the director and writer have and never will get laid.

Slackers occasionally resorts to desperate "fantasy" sequences so they can work in more fart jokes and lousy sex gags. It's not the fantasy of any character just of the shitty director. There's a scene that is shot to imitate the bad lip-syncing of Kung Fu movies. Oh, shit, that sure is timely! Nobody's ever done that before. In another scene that I think was not meant to be fantasy, a character sings a song with his sock-covered penis. His penis has a mouth and its own voice. What the fuck? How does this tie into the movie? How was this supposed to get a laugh? I admit, it's funny, but not funny-haha, more like funny-some-people-should-keep-their-thoughts-to-themselves. It's the kind of sight gag and eight-year-old desperate for attention might come up with.

Slacker is firmly rooted in the real world full of broken sidewalks and vacant lots. Linklater's world is full of imaginative characters that don't need a fantasy life. These characters have different views of reality, but they are perfectly happy rooted in this small, deteriorating corner of Texas. And they are all interesting enough for the time we spend with them. We may never agree with any of them, but what they say feels natural and truly believed.

I could go on about how truly awful Slackers is. I could write a page about Jason Schwartzmann fucked up all the goodwill he built up playing Max Fischer in Rushmore. It's the sort of betrayal you feel seeing your girlfriend humping a fire hydrant. I could talk about how nobody involved in the movie looks remotely interested or amused. But, I'd rather tell you to rent Slacker and fuck going to the movies this week. If there's one thing I've learned from these two it's this: there's a right way and a wrong way to waste your time. Slackers gets The Finger. Slacker gets Five.

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