Saturday, March 29, 2008

Black Circle Boys (1997)

It's basically an afterschool special with swearing, chain-smoking, and severe homo-erotic undertones. It stars Scott Bairstow (Party of Five) , Eric Mabius (The Crow: Salvation and Party of Five) and features an absolutely insane ,slightly more than a cameo, performance from Donnie Wahlberg (Dead Silence). The real reason I was interested in seeing this (besides Steve forcing it into my hands) was for the billing of the second cutest alterna-rock chick (Tanya Donnely is still numero uno) from the 90s, Lisa Loeb. I spent the first forty-five minutes of this picture thinking that Loeb was playing the main female part (Chloe, who in actuallity was played by Tara Subkoff). It didn't really make sense because this girl was blonde and, in hindsight, looks nothing like Loeb. Still, she was the only female in the cast, not including genre Stalwart Dee Wallace as Bairstow's mother (in a wasted performance). Finally, fearing I had missed Loeb's appearence, I checked imdb and saw that she was billed as "angry woman". I knew exactly who she was. She was some bitch I could barely make out in a dark club scene who threatened to kill the Mabius character for messing with her brother. In and out in 2 or 3 seconds. A hit and run performance that leads me to believe she was banging either Bairstow or Mabius at the time. My diappointment was unfathomable.

Anyway, what did I think of this picture? It pretty much stinks. It's notable for being the only thing I've ever seen Bairstow in where he wasn't beating on Neve Campbell. I'm sure she guest starred in one or two episodes of Harsh Realm simply so he could lay the smack down on her a few more times. Also, it's directed by Matthew Carnahan (Helen Hunt's boyfriend). He started dating her in 2001, so I'm guessing this picture remains unseen by Ms. Hunt.

Bairstow plays high school student Kyle Sullivan, who has just moved to a new town with his mother (Stone) and father to escape their demons (his brother's suicide). I'm guessing Bairstow was interested in the role because it gave him the opportunity to look cool with a cigarette dangling between his lips in every scene (he actually looks like a douche). Sullivan immediately meets, and befriends, cool pseudo-hippie chick Chloe (Subkoff), but not even her lack of hygiene can keep him away from the Black Circle-Jerk Boys, a gothic troupe of adolescent, waify scumbags who conduct blood rituals, "perform" in an occult rock band, and basically raise hell across town (tresspassing, grave robbing, not getting laid, etc). The leader is Shane Carver (Mabius) of whom Chloe says "personally, I think he's an asshole, but he has great drugs". The "boys" are rounded out by the retarded Munn (Heath Lourwood) and Rory (Chad Lindberg), who is also retarded, but in that endearing Giovanni Ribidisi sort of way. Rory isn't really a member of the group. They just keep him around as an errand boy and to raise the self esteem of everyone else. They cleverly call him "fairy". I would probably apply that label elsewhere if I were into assigning such monikers. Sullivan is immediately welcomed because they need a drummer. Can he play? Uh. No.

The movie contains lots of talk about not fucking with "the brotherhood", as well as several scenes of drug indulgence (some crystal meth and mesclun "to balance it out"). Sullivan eventually finds himself in over his head as the BCJB's descent into crime gets deeper and deeper. There's even a fun little montage of partying and satanism. I'll be honest, all notions of the occult and breaking the law in this picture did nothing for me. What really fascinated me was their band. I lost count of the amount of times Carver proclaimed "our band is going to kick ass". Over an hour into the thing and, still, they haven't played a single note. I began to wonder. At one point, Rory ("fairy") "borrows" some of the BCJB's drug money to procure a guitar for Carver, "a really kick ass guitar with all the features", and, instead of a pat on the back he receives a vicious beat down. At this point, I questioned whether Carver was really dedicated to his "art".

The strangest scenes for me involved Donnie Wahlberg as occult king-pin Grey-go, who probably represents Carver in about ten years (if he lives that long. don't worry, he doesn't). Grey-go is androgynously creepy and asks Sullivan, upon meeting him for the first time, "you wanna fuck me?", while rubbing his chest softly. It's probably the only element of this picture that I'll still be talking about ten years from now (that and the utter lack of respect shown to Ms. Loeb).

Finally, towards the end of the picture, the moment we've all been waiting for. Band practice!! After a few horrendously off-key notes, Carver, in frustration, smashes his new guitar to bits shouting "this fucking guitar sucks. I can't play this!" It's a sad moment because I had high hopes for them. After Munn suggests lessons, he says, rather sullenly, "I don't need to take lessons. I just want to be in a fucking band." I think the blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Rory who should probably take a few classes on running a sound board. Clearly, what happens to him later is well deserved.

I had hoped for a supernatural bent to this picture, but, alas, I wasn't that lucky. In the beginning, Carver displayed an amazing ability to hold his breath underwater (for at least ten minutes). In the end, it's revealed that he just hid out in an underwater cave. He did use the cave to hide some bodies though (oh yeah, he eventually starts killing people as his drug induced paranoia takes hold). Sullivan, by this point, has had enough: "All we do is run around and do mean stuff to people. What's the point?" (if only, for Rory's sake, he had "had enough" a few points earlier). Eventually, he and Carver have an extremely awkward, bare chested, box cutter brawl in the cave. I would not have been surprised if it ended with them kissing each other's chest.

I can't, in good conscience, recommend this. It's bad. The worst kind of bad because it's also pretentious. There's zero nudity. The violence is neither bloody, realistic, nor shocking. Scott Bairstow doesn't even look that cool while smoking, a nearly impossible feat! If this picture's subject is of interest, may I suggest Paradise Lost, a provocative documentary about three teenagers accused, and subsequently convicted, of murdering three children (with the majority of the evidence based solely on appearences). Fuck, the South Park episode "Raisins" provides more insight into goth-kids culture than this thing does. I just wish this picture had allowed Sullivan to use Butter's great line from that episode at the beginning of this film. Would have saved me an hour and a half: "Well, thanks for offering to let me in your clique, guys, but, to be honest, I'd rather be a crying little pussy than a faggy Goth kid."


*I guess this is some sort of milestone. My fiftieth review. To think I wasted it on this.

11 comments:

steve said...

Brian's fiftieth review, and it's a 'Steve pick'! I'm HONORED!

And really, given the odds on this blog, it would have been wasted anyway, right?

brian said...

I'd wager that out of fifty reviews, maybe 3 or 4 films aren't a "waste" of one's time (at least sober).

brian said...

Steve,

I just finished 'Dead Dudes in the House'. Finally, you've lent me a film that appeals to my sensibilities! Except for the lack of nudity. Although, they even turned that into a bit of joke. It moves to the top of my "short list" of favorite Troma pictures (a list which includes 'The Toxic Avenger', 'Cannibal! The Musical', and 'Class of Nuke 'Em High'). Actually, those are the only one's I've seen. Thanks for lending it to me.

Beepy said...

The minute I saw the words "Steve pick" at the bottem of your review, I lost hope. What does Steve have on you that he can force you to watch his trashy movies? Are there pictures of you and Giani that we should know about?

sam said...

Happy fiftieth!
And many more!

Sam said...

In general, being sober is a waste of time.

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Hey, thanks Projetor. I hope you come back! I actually went to your blog, but it's in a language I'm unfortunately not fluent in.

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