- Brain Rating
- Heart Rating
Director: Andrew Edison
I went to the Santa Barbara Film Festival this year and skipped a Martin Scorsese interview to attend the “Student Shorts” screening. No matter the film festival, I try to attend some sort of student film program. The bandwidth of quality for student shorts is ridiculous. Some are highly produced while others have a two-man crew that acted, edited, shot, and directed a 25-minute action short in one night. A good amount of them are pretentious black-and-white films about suicide, but without producers to keep them in check, you get to see some really crazy shit. It’s unbridled creativity starring sixteen year olds portraying forty-year-old cops. They’re amazingly raw movies made with passion and an overflow of hormones. Imagine if they made a feature length movie.
“Bindlestiffs” is the coming-of-age story about three high school students rebelling against the school band of “The Catcher in the Rye.” John Woo (John Karna), Luke Locktin (Luke Loftin), and Andrew Edwards (Andrew Edison) end up getting suspended for writing graffiti on the bathroom walls. Enraged by the suspension and inspired by “The Catcher in the Rye,” the three decide to give away their virginities in a night of bad decisions and inflated libidos.
On their travels, they get addicted to crack, have sex with hobos, get a hooker, and have exponential crisises… what’s the plural for crisises? Crisi? Crises? I’m looking it up… it’s crises. Hunting them down is a fairly disturbed man, desperate for attention, named Carlie (Will Fordyce). He’s the school’s security guard and is convinced that Andrew, Luke, and John are going to attack the school. I’m not sure why, but for a movie like this it doesn’t matter.
I want to write a paragraph that describes the humor of “Bindlestiffs,” but it’s not very easy. It’s an absurd concoction of “Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” “The Simpsons,” “Monty Python,” “Workaholics,” and a Trauma production. It’s a banter-y cocktail of awkward situations and dick jokes. This movie is dirty. You’ll see and hear things that will seem illegal to watch.
As far as production quality goes, “Bindlestiffs” is the bare minimum of watchable. It’s grainy, poorly lit, and the audio is sometimes hard to understand, but that’s somehow a part of its charm. I’m curious to see how the creative team pursues future projects.
I was really impressed by the casts’ ability to make fun of the high school mentality. You gain a good amount of hindsight of how stupid you were in high school when you’re 23, only to realize how stupid you were at 23 when you’re 27. Anyway, the characters in “Bindlestiffs” are satirizing high schoolers fresh out of high school. Watching a movie making fun of high school starring 24 year olds being directed by a 40 year old is one thing, but seeing high school students make fun of high school is refreshing.
I was really enjoying “Bindlestiffs” until I saw how much time was left. I was thirty minutes in and I thought I was nearing the end. I’m not sure how they elongated time like that, but this movie was a chore to sit through. I think it’s due to the amount of improvisation, the loose script, and the lack of progression. Not much really happens in “Bindlestiff.” It’s mostly banter, but it’s delightful banter.
Overall, I liked the idea of “Bindlestiffs” more than the execution of “Bindlestiffs.” I liked it in the sense that I’m excited to see what Andrew Edison and his gang do next. They could have easily made a ho-hum mumble-core movie that critics would have loved for some reason and played it safe. Instead, they decided to embrace insanity and produce something unique, raunchy, and awkwardly stupid, but intelligent at the same time.
RANDOM STUFF ABOUT STUFF AND STUFF
- I wasn’t sure what a ‘bindlestiff’ was until I looked it up. After I did, I’m not sure why this movie is called “Bindlestiffs.”
- “Bindlestiffs” is the first movie picked up by Kevin Smith’s distribution company, Smodcast Pictures.
- In the first draft I wrote the book as “Catcher and the Rye.”
-I currently have Lyme Disease. It sucks.