Scumrock

Throughout a 15-year filmmaking career punctuated by such inspired titles as MY DEGENERATION, FAME WHORE and MOD F--K EXPLOSION, San Francisco-based Jon Moritsugu has demarcated that fine line separating dreamers from poseurs that runs through all things "cool." In his sixth feature, Moritsugu gleefully puts the screws to indie rockers and undie filmmakers...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Throughout a 15-year filmmaking career punctuated by such inspired titles as MY DEGENERATION, FAME WHORE and MOD F--K EXPLOSION, San Francisco-based Jon Moritsugu has demarcated that fine line separating dreamers from poseurs that runs through all things "cool." In his sixth feature, Moritsugu gleefully puts the screws to indie rockers and undie filmmakers who've always embraced him as one of their own. His glee might seem cruel if not for Moritsugu's obvious affection for his deluded idealists. The filmmaker is 28-year-old auteur manque Miles Morgan (Kyp Malone, of the much-buzzed-about Brooklyn funk trio TV on the Radio), who has a picked-out 'fro, a taste for Nietszche and is about to "change the way we look at cinema" with his upcoming project, "Death." The rocker is Roxxy (Amy Davis), another soon-to-be-thirtysomething whose punky band, the Puerto Ricans, is going nowhere despite Roxxy's martinet managerial style (she fines her bandmates $25 for each mistake). Roxxy's already miserable attitude only gets worse after the Puerto Ricans are bumped from their headlining slot at local club Planet Rock by her nemesis, Church (Dustin Donaldson), and his band, the Wastoids. Miles and Roxxy's paths nearly cross when Miles' smitten "producer," Jelly Davis (Courtney Stephens), contacts Roxxy about contributing songs to the "Death" soundtrack, but Roxxy's got bigger fish to fry. In a bold career move, she jumps Church in an empty parking lot and busts his jaw. The Puerto Ricans' gig is back on. Rounding out Moritsugu's crowded cast of characters are Miles' roommate, Drew (James Duval), who has fallen in love with teenage Tara (Emily Ryan), who, tragically, has no intestines; Crewcut (Peter Friedrich), who may be missing a testicle and definitely has a pathological fear of hydrogenated oils; and Charles Coddington (Victor of Acquitaine), Miles' terribly British cameraman who just might be the ultimate poseur: Not only is he not really English, he has never even been to England. Moritsugu's film is really just a loose collection of encounters between characters that at times barely hangs together, but the shambling quality is deceptive: Moritsugu's ending pulls his two major story lines to a surprisingly poignant close. One major drawback, however, is Moritsugu's decision to hand the videocamera over to Davis, his wife and frequent collaborator. Dropping the DIY aesthetic to a new low may up the indie ante, but the "authenticity" feels forced. Perhaps that's the point, but terrible camerawork only makes good films look like bad films, and rarely adds anything to the finished product.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Throughout a 15-year filmmaking career punctuated by such inspired titles as MY DEGENERATION, FAME WHORE and MOD F--K EXPLOSION, San Francisco-based Jon Moritsugu has demarcated that fine line separating dreamers from poseurs that runs through all things "… (more)

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