Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 20

It's almost over! (Okay, actually it's all over, but my writing about it is almost over) The penultimate night of the festival featured two more movies.

First up was the crowd-pleaser (Holehead has some weird crowds) CHEAP THRILLS. Craig is a struggling writer, supporting his wife and infant by working a lousy job in an oil-change shop. Or at least he did, until the shop downsized and he was let go. So after his last day of work he stops at a bar for just a drink or two. There Vince, an old friend he hasn't seen in 5 years runs into him, and they get to talking. And then they meet a couple who is out for a night of adventure. The guy (David Koechner) is loaded (both with money and cocaine) and offers them money for various dares ($20 to get a girl to slap you, $50 to slap that stripper's ass, $500 to punch the security guard before he punches you...) Then the party heads back to their place, where the dares get increasingly expensive and increasingly extreme. Craig and Vince are pitted against each other, their limits are pushed and their friendship is challenged. And there's a point where Craig goes beyond just doing this to support his family--he's doing this to win. And the end result is pretty incredible.

And then a very different take on dares going too far, the fraternity/sorority challenge FACE. A Halloween tradition is for the brothers and sisters to try to scare the crap out of each other, with the winners getting to make the losers their slaves for a day. They don't do that anymore, not after the massacre last year. There's some dispute over whether drugs or mob mentality were to blame, but through the magic of home video and miniature cameras we get to see this from both points of view. First the guys, who are total frat-boy bros who are looking to dominate the girls through trickery, drugs, and brute force. They are quickly revealed to be awful people and you want to see them get what's coming to them. Then we see the girls, who are employing more advanced trickery and drug use to get the guys. While the guys are despicable frat-bros, the girls are over-the-top parodies of trying to be more "bro" than the bros. So there are possibly some smart ideas in there about the destructive power of exaggerated masculinity. But for me (and for most of the people I talked to afterwards) it just tested my capacity for "found footage" in all it's shaky-cam, poorly lit, poorly edited glory. They even attach a camera to the dog and get its point of view (most of the time this footage is faked, but they at least tried to take doggy-cam footage.) The dog was the only likable character. So if you have a high tolerance for found footage mixed with sadistic gore, you might like this movie. I just like my sadistic gore to be a little more watchable.

Total Running Time: 160 minutes
My Total Minutes: 347,383
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