2*? 3*? 4*? Hell, ask me when the drugs wear off.
This little head-trip arrives courtesy of Mike Johnson, the bass player from Phish (a band for whom I normally can’t take the time to ridicule). This is the kind of bizarre, underground revelation that can live forever in the cluttered and shelves of cine-freaks everywhere. It’s the rare case where a total novice shoots on video with a cast of family, friends, and neighbors and makes nearly all the right decisions. While Johnson admits only to a love of “Twin Peaks”, the end product invokes the druggiest works of both David Lynch and David Cronenberg.
Where did this bong-fueled extravaganza come from? Johnson, the director / screenwriter / editor / DP / composer / casting director / caterer, originally had the idea of creating a parody of a guitar instructional video. This would be “out”-structional, where you would unlearn your training to allow your natural talent to shine through. This ideal evolved into the story of Rick (Jimi Stout). The teenager dreams of mastering the guitar, but his father (Ashley Scott Shamp) who works in a guitar factory, wants to ship his son off to military school. Rick’s only avenue of escape is to improve his abilities enough to win entrance into a prestigious music school. From a late-night infomercial, he orders “the Outstructional Video” from the real-life and really out there Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. Rick soon takes lessons from Hampton, himself, but only seems to get worse. His future on the line, his only hope lies in getting his head “outside”. Out ensues.
That’s the story, but this plot synopsis is really about as helpful as one might be for “Eraserhead”. The whole project is what you might expect to see at 3am on Videodrome. Johnson actually has a point to make: Sometimes you can’t advance in life until you begin to think outside the box. His method of conveying this message, deliberately or not, is to force the viewers head “outside” the box.
This will be from this point on a CULT FILM. This is the sort of movie that the old Film Threat was made for and championed. It all comes down to one man with a single purity of vision (and probably a bag full of hallucinogenics). This fella Mike Johnson might have a real future if he stops the distraction of that silly little band of his.