Dirtbags (2002)

Rating: C+

Dir: Bill Zebub
Star: Bill Zebub, Sybelle Silverphoenix, George Stiso, Elyse Cheri

Let’s review: “Racial jokes, blasphemy, gratuitous nudity, metal, and offensiveness beyond imagining”? I think there’s little question that Bill has gone 5-for-5 there. But is certainly sharply-divided the TC viewing panel. Chris hated it with a passion: her three-word review was “That was crap,” and to be honest, I can probably see why. A lot of the content, while shocking, seems to exist solely in order to be confrontational, without a deeper purpose. For instance, dressing up in blackface and pretending to be a crack dealer could be brilliantly provocative risk-taking – if you did it on the streets of Detroit. In the living-room of a mate’s house… Not so much. The more I thought about it, the more childish it seemed, and I wonder how much actual satire was involved here. Then again, I disliked the early works of John Waters, an obvious influence.

However, I do have a higher tolerance for microbudget cinema than Chris, and when Zebub shows more creative imagination in his offensive arsenal, I will say, it was enough to make even Chris laugh out loud. [The flying tampon provoked the biggest reaction from her; personally, I preferred the miraculously-healing crosswalk sign] In terms of plot, it’s pretty loose, with a number of threads that cross paths, then head off on their own again. There’s a guy being sexually-harassed by his gay boss. Another, allergic to bee-stings, is desperate to get laid, but spends most of his time in his room, watching DVDs of girls tied, topless, to trees. Then there’s Bill (Zebub): making his way through college, one credit at a time, debating the merits of Rohypnol vs. LSD as date-rape drugs, and dedicated to stockpiling material on any girlfriends for potential future use. Yeah, as I said: pretty loose.

Likely as a result, the results are equally all over the place. At its best, this has a Clerks-like cynicism to the characters’ approach to life, that is refreshingly amoral. At its worst – such as the over-long sequences of not-particularly attractive women tied to foliage – this is simply tedious, which is the least forgiveable crime any microbudget movie can commit. However, we kept watching, and there’s no denying that the movie has a certain gonzo charm, since you just want to see what sacred cow will be pushed into the Zebub slaughterhouse next. Not for the easily-offended – in fact, probably not for the difficult to offend. However, those who are completely impossible to offend should find something of amusement here.