Best Crazy Shit 2021, Some 2020, and why not 2019!

jason December 27, 2021 0

With the advent of at-home streaming services and a schizophrenic pandemic, this list gets harder and harder every year. Yet, there will always be projects under the radar that I feel deserve eyes and hearts that don’t have the marketing prowess they deserve. So, without further ado…

Swan Song:

Udo Kier is unfortunately typecast as a vampire or a nazi sympathizer. Luckily, writer/director Todd Stephens saw through that modern haze of cynicism as the veteran actor’s spectrum of talent sways in many directions. Swan Song (Swan Song 2021 not Swan Song 2021) showcases Udo Kier as a peacockish hairdresser on a small-town odyssey. He discovers his lifestyle, which was once rebellious, is mundane in a more progressive yet less radical world. Vulnerability replaces stoicism and sincerity replaces irony. That alone deserves your attention. 

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PIG:

Pig’s not just my favorite movie of the year, it’s one of my favorites of the decade. Starring Nicolas Cage, Pig follows a culinary hermit attempting to find his stolen truffle pig. What sounds like another red-box-who-cares is a mediative tale of grief, authenticity, and their consequences. I’ve watched it more than once and I’ve watched the restaurant scene even more. 

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Sator:

Written, directed, shot, composed, and edited by one person, Sator is slow-burning folk horror at its bleakest. Hyper-texturized, Sator leans on the “nature is the devil’s playground” motif by visualizing expansive landscapes as claustrophobic and minuscule details as ominous. Add some inherited family trauma and there’s no escaping its organic nihilism. It’s a film that’s more than the sum of its parts and each of those parts has malicious intent.

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The Kid Detective:

Boy, do I love existential self-destruction. Add Adam Brody and some pitch-black comedy and BAM; automatic placement on this list. Luckily, it’s a well-crafted character study. The Kid Detective takes the child detective fad (Ala, The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley and the case of etc) and adds about thirty years. Clinging onto his adolescent glory days, the titular Kid Detective continues to solve petty nuisances well into his 30’s. What follows is a mystery that explores themes of maturity and morbid self-reflection.  

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Some Southern Waters:

I always admire someone trying to make something Lynch-ian. They’re usually lambasted but I prefer them over the endless scourge of Blumhouse photocopies. Some Southern Waters is neither a failed Lynch-ian homage nor a Blumhouse knockoff.  Inspired, sure, but entirely it’s own animal; Some Southern Waters stars a wayward 20 something avoiding the grief of his deceased girlfriend. This leads him to hallucinatory fever dreams and dizzying paranoia. With a budget comprised of bubblegum and grit, Some Southern Water’s lack of resources has been remedied by engaging black and white photography, enigmatic performances and a seaside carnival backdrop ripe for the bizarre. 

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Stars: Rachel ComeauKyra JohnsonBeth Marshall 

Butt Boy:

Every version of Heat is fantastic. Hell or High Water aka Poor Heat? Wonderful! Widows aka Lady Heat? Stupendous! The Dark Knight aka Comic Book Heat? Instant Classic! But what if, instead of Al Pacino or Batman it’s an alcoholic detective traumatized by a missing son? Oh man, that sounds swell. And instead of a high-end bank robber, there’s a compulsive serial killer masquerading as the detective’s AA sponsor? Ooooooooh, damn! Sign me up! And he absorbs his victims in the vortex inside his anus! 

…wait, what? 

Butt Boy somehow traveled all the way around the circumference of irony and landed on sincerity. The premise that’s ripe for gags is composed as soberingly as its minuscule budget would allow. Is the joke they’ve played a stupid premise straight? No. The joke is they made a genuinely good movie. That’s a whole new kind of paradox I can’t wrap my head around. 

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