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By Admin | October 11, 1999

This fictional story centers around a real-life band, San Francisco’s own Icky Boyfriends. This crap-rock trio might very well be the world’s worst band, except that they elevate awfulness to a new level of artistry. Indeed, a running gag throughout the film is that the band sucks so badly that no one will have anything to do with them.Having seen the band live on several occasions, I have to say that the film actually gives short shrift to their unique and bizarrely magnetic on-stage anti-charisma. Instead of the film’s intentionally meandering plotlessness, I would have rather just seen the band perform in their singular fashion. Even better would be a performance documentary, an Icky Boyfriends version of Madonna’s “Truth or Dare,” in which the secrets of Icky vocalist Jonathan Swift’s enormous hair are revealed at last.The film’s story is essentially a cautionary fable about the evils of the record industry, but a Devo video called “The Men Who Make the Music” (1980) has almost the exact same plot thread concerning a scheming record exec, and a similar sleazy, cheesy, low-budget æsthetic, yet it was done more cleverly and 16 years sooner. “Fascinating” is not a great film, but it has its entertainingly silly moments, and is a wonderful testament to how willpower can succeed over lack of budget. Plotnik’s crew and cast members are also his friends, and they continually recur in his works. It is heartening to see a group of people who are interested in continual creation for the sheer joy of it, even if the results are designed more to please themselves. This film looks like “artistic collaboration” was used a glorified excuse to simply hang out, drink some beer, and have fun making a movie. What better reason could you need?

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