Overview: A father and son fight over the same woman while the city is stalked by the Greasy Strangler. FilmRise; 2016; Rated R; 93 minutes
I Don’t Get It: I don’t know why this movie exists. I don’t know what it’s trying to say. I can’t imagine the two writers felt that this was a story that the world needed. I don’t know how it got made and how it got funded. I don’t know how this movie exists when there are scripts floating around on the internet and the Black List that can’t get made for love nor money. Perhaps I’m not smart enough or cinema savvy enough. Perhaps if I had watched more John Waters I would have understood this movie better, but then I’ve watched quite a bit of John Waters, enough at least to see how a movie like this gets made in a way that is watchable, sly, and funny. This movie felt like an endurance test. Each scene like a road sign telling you to turn back now if you know what’s good for you.
Weird for Weird’s Sake: A movie I really enjoy is Napoleon Dynamite. A vast majority of the characters in that movie are weirdos but lovable weirdos or at least relatable weirdos. The characters are sketched more broadly for the movie but I definitely know a few people who are like Napoleon’s brother Kip or his Uncle Rico. Every single character is that weirdo in The Greasy Strangler . There are no normals from which you can gauge the main characters’ place in the world. Every single person is quirky, badly dressed, has some sort of gimmick, and is a cartoon. It becomes overwhelming and annoying, rather than weird and funny as was probably intended. The movie is trying so hard to be memorable that it fails to be a movie. Things simply happen and characters say things that make no sense and motivations and allegiances flip from scene to scene. Yes, I’ll remember some of the insane gross-out set-pieces, but only for a week or two, or until they’re replaced by a YouTube video of someone puking while eating really spicy hot wings.
Overall: However, as much as The Greasy Strangler annoyed and confused me, it is definitely unlike anything I had seen up until this point at the festival or this year. If you’re looking for something wholly unlike anything you’ve seen before, then this might be the movie for you. The nudity is constant and gratuitous, there’s gore, sex, dancing, grease, and a running joke about a car wash (that made me laugh every damn time). Unfortunately, for all its weirdness, it is a slog to get through as characters being gross and odd for ninety minutes just isn’t enough by itself.
Featured Image: FilmRise