“Crazy Like the Taz” was made in conjunction with the Albuquerque Digital Shootout, in which 10 finalists were given 10 days to shoot and edit a 10-minute short on digital video. Scott Barlow’s entry tells the cautionary tale of Dale Phillips, who at first glance appears to be your typical shirtless redneck. But unlike his brother Larry, Dale’s interest do not include NASCAR and the WWF. All Dale cares about is his idol, role model and spiritual figurehead – the Tasmanian Devil, known to his fans as the Taz.
Dale’s life revolves around the hyperactive Warner Bros. cartoon character. He hosts a weekly cable access show devoted to all things Taz. He composes sonnets to his animated guru, who instructs him to break up with his girlfriend as a purification rite. His bedroom is crammed wall to wall with Taz-mania, including posters, pillowcases, commemorative plates, Pez dispensers, and Taz-noculars. “It’s creepy,” notes Dale’s dad, shortly before throwing him out of the house.
Actually, it’s more silly than creepy, but Barlow comes up with enough clever variations on the theme to keep the laughs coming, and it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer volume of Taz merchandise on display. As a portrait of an obsessed fan, “Crazy Like the Taz” doesn’t exactly rank with “The King of Comedy,” but as one joke movies go, it doesn’t wear out its welcome either.