You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...
'Wrong Cops' - 2013, Directed by Quentin Dupieux
If you couldn't tell by the past reviews I've written, I don't watch a lot of new releases. After noticing a severe lack of interesting movies about 10 years ago, I've stayed clear of theaters and pretty much don't pay attention to the mainstream. But, it's always a nice surprise to be proven wrong and find a current film that strikes my fancy. 'Wrong Cops' is just such a film, and I knew going into it that I would probably like it for a number of reasons.
First of all, the director did a strange little indie flick back in '10 called 'Rubber' about an evil tire that blew things up. It was a well-deserved parody of the recent cavalcade of silly horror films that channels like Syfy are pumping out, and was one of the only fresh ideas for a movie I've seen in recent times.
It also features an interesting cast...Eric Wareheim from 'Tim and Eric'...Ray Wise of 'Twin Peaks' fame...Marilyn Manson??
So, what is this lazily-named (Dupieux's last flick was called 'Wrong') surrealist crime-comedy like? Well, it feels like one of those purposely-stupid crime comedies (i.e. 'Observe and Report') as interpreted by David Lynch, which makes sense considering the director uses one of Lynch's favorite actors.
There's also plenty of the demented non-comedy that Tim and Eric are known for, and a whole lot of obscure references to electronic music (Dupieux made a name for himself as an electronic musician back in the early 00's.)
The plot, while not really important, concerns a group of stupid police officers whose stories don't really intersect other than working for the same police force, and it just kind of follows their illegal pursuits for an hour-twenty. One is a drug dealer who moves his product inside dead rats. Another is a failed techno musician. And, another is extorting a former porn actor for some money he found in his backyard.
Basically, the only thing tying this all together is a body that needs to be disposed of. One of the officers accidentally shoots a man, and then lazily attempts to dispose of him though the man isn't dead. Somewhere in there, Marilyn Manson shows up as a weirdo teenager, and he is surprisingly hilarious.
Yeah, it's pretty much just a series of bizarre jokes hung on a 'crime-comedy' plot, but it seems like there's more going on here than meets the eye. It feels like Dupieux is mocking the current state of cinema, while also poking fun at police by imagining a world where a lack of crime reveals the true personalities of the officers. Most of the characters don't want to be in this line of work, and treat their jobs as the average McDonald's employee would.
So, it's definitely a film best suited for a group of friends, but it's not entirely mindless entertainment. There are some interesting ideas hinted at, and the director is obviously talented. Many of his shots are incredibly artistic considering the subject matter, and I'm pretty excited to see what Dupieux does next.
VHS photo by Toby Hudson.