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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Film Geek (review)

What a crock of shit. What a crock of dork wish fulfillment masquerading as a supposedly charming portrait of a supposedly charming asocial twit who — here’s the wish-fulfillment part — suddenly finds the world at his feet, worshipping his dorkiness. Scotty Pelk (Melik Malkasian) is a videostore clerk and idiot savant whose almost obscene obsession with movies and inability to read the body language or, you know, hear the verbal language of anyone around him means he ends up pissing the hell out of people who don’t care that Terence Malick has made only three films in 30 years. Scotty is an annoying dweeb, and no amount of fantasy on the part of writer/director James Westby — who calls the film semiautobiographical — can erase that: not Scotty’s sudden and inexplicable acquisition of a hot girlfriend (Tyler Gannon), and not the overnight success of his formerly completely ignored movie Web site, which turns Scotty into a local celebrity in his small Oregon city. If Westby had given us any opportunity to read the events of the film purely as Scotty’s imaginary dorky wish fulfillment, that might be a redeeming factor. If Westby had been able to buoy his clunky narrative and pedestrian imagery with something whimsical or vivacious, we might be able to take it all as a vision from a parallel dimension of odd. But it all just feels like Westby’s cinematic masturbation. Extras include outtakes, a making-of featurette, and more.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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  • Uhh…so what’s wrong with “cinematic masturbation”? If it’s as good as the other kind of masturbation, it deserves a “thumb’s (among other things) up” from me! See you at the movies MaryAnn!

  • MaryAnn

    As with most forms of masturbation, cinematic masturbation may be fun for the masturbatoree, but it’s no fun at all for the bystander.

  • Paul Wartenberg

    Especially when his aim’s off. DUCK!

  • Courtenay

    Wow. I really disagree. What you appear to be saying is that it’s an impossibility for an annoying dweeb to ever be successful? Do you remember the internet boom of the late 90’s? Did you see that YouTube was just purchased for 1.65 BILLION dollars? Annoying dweebs with savant-like skills are finding un-filled niches every day, and when they become successful and rich, they also become magically not-so-annoying to those who want something from them. It ain’t romantic, but it’s true. I found Melik, and the film, really charming. Oh, and Portland’s not a small Oregon town.

  • Courtenay

    Wow. I really disagree. What you appear to be saying is that it’s an impossibility for an annoying dweeb to ever be successful? Do you remember the internet boom of the late 90’s? Did you see that YouTube was just purchased for 1.65 BILLION dollars? Annoying dweebs with savant-like skills are finding un-filled niches every day, and when they become successful and rich, they also become magically not-so-annoying to those who want something from them. It ain’t romantic, but it’s true. I found Melik, and the film, really charming. Oh, and Portland’s not a small Oregon town.

  • Courtenay

    Oops. I disagree with you, but apparently not as much as my browser does. Sorry for the double-post.

  • MaryAnn

    I never said it was impossibility for an annoying dweeb to ever be successful. But there’s a difference between success and what is depicted in this film.

    Are you suggesting that the (former) owners of YouTube are annoying dorks? Do you know this for a fact? Are people woshipping at their feet? I don’t mean throwing money — that’s different.

    Oh, and I didn’t say Portland was a small town — I said it was a small city.

  • Peter

    “If Westby had given us any opportunity to read the events of the film purely as Scotty’s imaginary dorky wish fulfillment, that might be a redeeming factor.”

    He did. After the success montage sequence, we cut to Scotty climaxing at his sink. This suggests that he was getting off on his fantasy of being everything he’s not: successful, attractive, admired.

    If it hadn’t been for that “punchline” in the film — the emotional money-shot, if you will — I would be right there with you in writing this thing off as irredeemably annoying and repulsive. Then again, perhaps I’ve misinterpreted the ending?

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