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Henry Gale
09-13-2014, 04:23 AM
http://www.dreadcentral.com/img/news/jul14/tusk.jpg

IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3099498/) / Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tusk_%282014_film%29) / Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/film/tusk-2014/)

Henry Gale
09-13-2014, 04:44 AM
Pretty fuckin' nuts when it wants to be, but I don't know if it says more about me or the movie's potential with its tone and premise that I wish it had gone even further in some ways?

It's fairly messy, mainly with Smith's hokey direction and sensibilities of things that surround the core horror (which he mostly does get a good grasp on), but especially as a viewer simply trying to make sense of all its sometimes dizzyingly juxtaposing thematic and tonal elements while watching it, all of which I'm finding no easier to sort out in retrospect. I guess it's because there's its pretty routine, face-value plotting that string things along for its first portion, which then leads into a lot of unorthodox ways of doling out its backstories (both past and present) and build momentum with its supporting characters in the background, and then finally the thing that really fuels the story that it almost doesn't put enough stock which is its uncompromising, singular weirdness, and the viscera potency that entails. (That started as a "visceral" typo but it works well enough in a passively punny way.)

All at once, it's gleefully disturbing, contains a lot genuinely well-crafted jokes (not just silly, knowingly cheap Canadian ones, which of course still went over as well as they ever will with our Toronto audience) and amazingly funny performance bits from the leads, surprisingly (especially because it's Smith) experimental with its narrative and visual style in places, a bunch of weak plot elements and logical/scripting leaps that sort of deflate the energy of it, and then there's the significant under-publicized role that's just so beautifully goofy and brazenly played for its portion of the movie and clearly for the actor inhabiting it. I'd argue it even absolutely overindulges in that character for a prolonged moment during once sequence, but it still delivers enough laughs that I didn't really mind. I was often not sure what the movie was trying to do with every new wrinkle or diversion, but I know I enjoyed watching it do it.

Between Foxcatcher and The Look of Silence being my other TIFF screenings this year, somehow a movie where a man butchers someone into forcing him to become a walrus was the most lighthearted thing I saw.

But yeah, just see this, if only because there's no other way to really explain it, and Parks and Long playing off of each other is just such an effortlessly entertaining dynamic. Needless to say it changes significantly with each scene, but even in its simplest incarnation it's a unique, morbid delight.

*** / 7.0
I guess...

Skitch
09-13-2014, 11:44 AM
I'd argue it even absolutely overindulges in that character for a prolonged moment during once sequence, but it still delivers enough laughs that I didn't really mind.

Smith said he planned to trim the scenes length, but it was so interesting and out of respect for the actors involved he left it.

Henry Gale
09-13-2014, 08:40 PM
Smith said he planned to trim the scenes length, but it was so interesting and out of respect for the actors involved he left it.

I can see that, but I wouldn't have minded if the final version had just existed as an extended scene or something and moved the movie along a little more cleanly, but I can imagine how hard it must be to cut out any of what we see when it's Michael Parks' amazing character playing a character while Depp's Guy LaPointe trying to investigate him but then making all attempts to escape from the awkward conversation as quickly as he can. It's like in Wolf of Wall Street or an Apatow-overseen comedy where the riffs go a few beats too long, even if it still manages to maintain a consistency of funniness.

It does feel like it's from another movie though, and if anything, the score might've been the weakest and most cartoonish element of that exchange. Mainly, for such a short movie, I wish that time could've been spent on more Wall(r)ace / Mr. Tusk orientation.

Skitch
09-13-2014, 08:54 PM
Sounds very interesting. I can't wait to see it. He said himself several times, "This is the fucking dumbest, and best, movie I've made." :D

Henry Gale
09-13-2014, 09:08 PM
It certainly is, even if I'm not sure it's always on the mark (not that there are often any predisposed targets it's trying to hit). I didn't outright love it, but yet I find it lingering in my head pretty significantly a day later, and definitely wanting to see it again.

It'd be awesome if a VOD-type release happens before this Halloween [EDIT: Or ideally a wide enough theatrical one for everyone to choose to experience that way, but obviously that's not very likely.], because it's almost the ideal seasonal viewing for people like me who'd rather watch something gloriously over-the-top and goofily clever with its scares rather than something that's just shockingly gory or torture-y, but it's kind of inhabits best of both of those worlds. Rare for a modern release. (Though Drag Me To Hell, Slither, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil come to mind as comparably strong recent hilari-disgusting movies. Or if Human Centipede was funnier than I remember.)

Dead & Messed Up
09-13-2014, 11:11 PM
Very excited after your response, HG, and still surprised that Smith's found a second act in his career via over-the-top thriller/horrors.

Skitch
09-14-2014, 02:55 AM
Very excited after your response, HG, and still surprised that Smith's found a second act in his career via over-the-top thriller/horrors.

Me too. I was bummed when he announced retirement, because despite the vitriol he seems to inspire in John Q. Internet, he's at least always been interesting. And its been interesting (maybe because I listen to all his pods) to hear his progression through his disappointments with the industry to finding a renewed interest in the medium via smaller budgets.

Sven
09-14-2014, 03:06 AM
I've not really liked any of Smith's movies, though I admit a fondness for Dogma's ambitions, but I like that he's an active voice and clearly intelligent. I kinda wanna see this, but the truth is probably will not.

Henry Gale
09-14-2014, 12:31 PM
In terms of this being a refreshing turnaround for him (I never actually got around to Red State, but I guess I should now since it doesn't even have to stand as a divisive latest effort), I do like just how much you can read all of Tusk as him confronting his own fears about the direction he's going with his career.

I mean, I didn't even realize until seeing the movie and then asking my pretty Smodcast-savvy friend who I saw it with that the whole movie spawned from Smith and Mosier randomly riffing the premise on an episode within the last year or so, then going to Twitter to see if fans wanted it made. They did, and now it exists. So it only kinda clicked for me after the fact just how much you can basically look at the whole movie as one big transparent meta-text for Smith's own fears of his podcasting ambitions being the thing that now overwhelms his life, and taking that to the most gruesomely horrific possibility through the vessel of Long's character's journey, with Smith simultaneously jumping into the unknown by making a film from the roots from the world of that medium that's as risky as this for him.

So it can be that sort of self-examination for Smith and something about an insane person turning someone into a walrus!

Skitch
09-14-2014, 01:44 PM
Yeeeep, he's said as much as well! And now hes neck deep in Yoga Hosers, which was spawned from a scene in Tusk...and riffed in another pod into full film idea. So movies beget pod begets movie begets pod...its meta meta double meta. Or does it then become anti-meta? Nega-meta? :)

At any rate, hes making interesting choices of material, and his forced budget restraints always produce better results (from him).

TGM
09-21-2014, 06:45 PM
Holy shit was this bad. Even dumber than it intends to be, and the concept is paper-thin, I'd say 90% of this movie consists of scenes that are forcefully stretched as long as humanly possible just to desperately reach a feature length. Hell, there's a scene in a convenience store that's actually shown twice, pretty much in its unaltered entirety. Because it was so hard to remember the first time we saw it about an hour prior I guess

This was an absolute chore of a movie to sit through, it felt like it had said and done all it had to say about halfway in, and yet it just kept going on and on regardless, having no idea when to just wrap things up.

Yes, it's intentionally stupid and ridiculous, and if it was releases as a short or didn't consist of so much blatant, unfunny padding, I might actually give this a mild recommendation for anyone curious enough. But as is, above all else, this is 100% an absolute waste of time.

Pop Trash
09-21-2014, 11:35 PM
A lot of people I follow on letterboxd hated this with a passion. One guy, who is generally pretty forgiving, gave it .5 of a star presumably because he couldn't give it zero stars. The premise doesn't interest me, so I think I'll go on pretending Kevin Smith retired from filmmaking in the early 00s and became a full time nerd/stoner commentator.

Henry Gale
09-22-2014, 04:59 AM
I tried to initially avoid specifics of the general reaction to this from TIFF's Midnight Madness and the online write-ups until after I saw it, but comparing that to now when everyone else is reviewing it feels like two different movies are being screened, or at the very least, it makes it even more telling as to how that sort of audience was ideal (I mean, it was 1st runner-up for the MM People's Choice), and anything wider is not. And even still, just as many of my favourite things and issues with it are brought up pretty consistently in the strong-worded reviews on each side (ans especially in those even more in the middle about than myself).

I agree just as much with the gushing ones as the disappointed ones, but the bashing ones just make no sense to me. Like, this is so much more suited to Smith's shotty Cop Out defense from a few years back that only critics who wanted to see it should have gone into it, because here you're either going in genuinely caring to see this ridiculousness play out to its extremes or you're simply never going to find yourself on-board regardless of where it takes it. Even as much as the movie does write itself a tidy mythology and story to sell the intentions of its characters, it's still nowhere close to sophisticated or polished enough to work on enough levels to convert any skeptics.

As pointlessly hypothetical as it is to ever think about the potential of any piece of work, this is clearly not the best version of this movie, but it's most certainly the only version of this movie anyone would ever bother to make, and it finds enough glimmers of glory along the way to make the whole thing worth it for me.

Maybe this movie was just made for geeky Canadians that are lovers of goofily garish movies whose concepts and ambitious far outweigh their abilities to actually deliver a full-length venture with significant depth or comprehensive dramatic weight beyond its mechanics, but considering I found myself falling into that very specifically with this movie and its setting, story and festival presentation, I can't really be too subjective.

So basically, Kevin Smith might just be weakly pandering to me (aside from his usual staunch followers) whether he knows it or not, and that's not something I feel the need to resist when he's making movies that put Justin Long in a fleshy walrus suit that makes him look and sound like a demented cousin of Pizza the Hut from Spaceballs and mostly deliver two very solidly bananas halfs of a movie, even if tonally they feel like very different sensibilities and don't always gel. You get the horror movie and the briefer and thinner (but in its own right still entertaining) [SPOILER]French-Canadian Inspector Clouseau movie starring Johnny Depp. Worst case, you hate both of them, but I know I had a fine time with each on their own that I didn't really mind them possibly distracting themselves from one another over time.

Pop Trash
09-22-2014, 05:18 AM
Come to think of it, I thought Zack & Miri Make a Porno and Clerks II were OK-ish fwiw.

Skitch
09-22-2014, 11:52 PM
Well said, Henry. I was able to catch it today. I neither loved nor hated it, but was fully engaged throughout. There were moments of lag, and there were moments I laughed nearly to tears. It was so crammed full of easter eggs for fans of the pod (and rightly so considering its genesis). If nothing else, I kept thinking, "I have never seen anything like this."

Ivan Drago
09-23-2014, 03:48 AM
A lot of the jokes went over my head, probably because I don't listen to his podcast, but like any Kevin Smith movie, the dialogue is very well directed, especially in the first exchange between Howard and Wallace, and I enjoyed it enough for its ridiculousness and as a B-movie that I left the theater completely satisfied.

eternity
10-20-2014, 03:04 AM
This would be actually great if Kevin Smith weren't so committed to half-assing the filmmaking process. He's not disciplined in any sense, which is a shame because this reinforces that he's really one of the good ones.

Dukefrukem
01-18-2015, 12:33 PM
Well said, Henry. I was able to catch it today. I neither loved nor hated it, but was fully engaged throughout. There were moments of lag, and there were moments I laughed nearly to tears. It was so crammed full of easter eggs for fans of the pod (and rightly so considering its genesis). If nothing else, I kept thinking, "I have never seen anything like this."

This is about where I stand. I'm trying to determine who did it better with the burn? Kevin Smith? Or the guy who did Human Centipede.

Grouchy
01-26-2015, 06:09 AM
This movie was incredible. Michael Parks is one of the best actors alive, in fact the whole cast sells the ridiculous story really well. I literally did not recognize Johnny Depp. My respect for Kevin Smith just got about 100 times bigger.

Dukefrukem
01-26-2015, 12:30 PM
This movie was incredible. Michael Parks is one of the best actors alive, in fact the whole cast sells the ridiculous story really well. I literally did not recognize Johnny Depp. My respect for Kevin Smith just got about 100 times bigger.

Holy shit. That was Johnny Depp?????????????

Skitch
01-26-2015, 12:40 PM
I loved people's reaction to him lol

He is also a big part of his next film, same role. They've been friends and neighbors for years. On set of this latest, he was quoted as saying "I would be perfectly happy making Kevin Smith movies for the rest of my career." :)

Dead & Messed Up
01-26-2015, 07:45 PM
I found Depp irritatingly self-aware. He didn't ruin the film for me, but he hurt its endearing, baffling sincerity.

transmogrifier
01-29-2015, 06:44 AM
28/100

Starts off bad - Canadian jokes and other forced humor - briefly gets interesting when Parks and Long meet, then suddenly speeds through what should have been the meat of the film, and we are left with a fully rendered Mr. Tusk and the question "So, what's going to happen for the last 30 minutes?"

The answer is that the film is going to introduce one of the worst "secret" cameos ever (Depp playing the dullest possible character) and then drag out the search for Long for what seems like an eternity.

Then it ends, and you wonder whether its time podcasts were banned completely if they are going to lead to this sort of shit.

D_Davis
01-29-2015, 10:00 PM
Don't blame the best form of modern media on a mediocre film.

Skitch
01-29-2015, 11:59 PM
Don't blame the best form of modern media on a mediocre film.

Its a reasonable idea. I saw a bad book adaptation once. Burned down a library afterwards.

transmogrifier
01-30-2015, 02:25 AM
Its a reasonable idea. I saw a bad book adaptation once. Burned down a library afterwards.

That doesn't work. You need to ban books completely.

D_Davis
01-30-2015, 04:57 AM
You're right. When you put it that way, it sounds reasonable.

Dead & Messed Up
02-02-2015, 04:27 AM
Just ban the right ones, like The Secret and Angels & Demons.