Discussing his latest film “Scumrock” in The San Francisco Examiner, underground director Jon Moritsugu noted, “Sometimes you have to kick people in the face to wake them up.” Appropriate words, given the film’s the equivalent of a mind-numbing Seconal dose.
Moritsugu – the brains behind such damaged indie flicks as “Mod F**k Explosion”, “Terminal USA” and “Hippy Porn” – has lost his edge with “Scumrock”. The film, which pointlessly explores the trials and tribulations of making true art, comes off as a tired rehashing of the director’s ‘90s-era DIY creations. He’s a little bit older, but certainly not wiser.
Shot on lo-fi Hi8 and lit with desk lamps, the film certainly reinforces an indie aesthetic. Too bad there’s no substance behind the grimy style. The story focuses on Miles (Kyp Malone), an aspiring filmmaker with lofty ambitions and little else, and Roxxy (Moritsugu mainstay Amy Davis), a disgruntled punk who’s trying to keep her band afloat.
The film is hampered by an underlying sense of ennui. Davis carries her riot-grrl sneer with the conviction of a thirtysomething Chrissie Hynde impersonator, while Malone’s listless performance suggests the man has no passion for anything but sleep. The script gives both actors, as well as the supporting cast, very little to work with, aside from some crude John Waters-inspired put-downs and plays on words.
From its clichéd, sloppy punk tunes to its slacker characters, “Scumrock” is an acknowledgement of dying DIY dreams. Moritsugu appears to be channeling his own frustrations as an indie filmmaker into his story and is subsequently throwing up the white flag. Aspiring filmmakers need not tune into his dreary vision.