Bad Reputation

AUGUST 23, 2007


I think I might have to take time out of my life to learn about the process of making a movie anamorphic for the DVD release. It must be an extremely difficult and time-consuming process that adds significantly to the budget, because otherwise there is NO FUCKING EXCUSE for any DVD pressed in the past few years to be released non-anamorphically, such as Bad Reputation. There is no discernible reason for not making your DVD 16:9 ready. If you have a 4:3 TV, it will still appear at the correct ratio, so what is the fucking problem here?

Plus, it sends a message of “we don’t care” to the viewer. If you don’t want your film to at least LOOK good, what’s that say about how you feel about its content? I am sure DP Forrest Allison doesn’t want everyone who owns a 16:9 TV to watch his compositions zoomed in or stretched horizontally. Sorry, Forrest, that’s what Maverick left us with, because they were too lazy to check their compression settings when they pressed the master DVD.

Anyway the movie itself is OK. There are some nice little nods to slasher classics (the school’s name is Smith’s Grove) and combining the rape revenge story with a standard slasher climax is pretty interesting. Unfortunately the direction is unforgivably boring. The whole benefit of shooting a film on DV (and for the record, they do a nice job with the lighting quality of the darker scenes, usually a low point in any DV film) is the freedom to move the camera more, as well as shoot lots and lots of coverage due to the low cost of DV tape compared to film. But that’s a benefit Jim Hemphill and his crew did not take advantage of, as the camera is more stationery than your average Kevin Smith film. Not that they need to “Bay it up”, but watching entire scenes go by from one angle or two angles without any camera movement is amateurish, and severely lessens the impact of more than a couple events (such as when the main girl argues with her mother early on).

It’s saved by the script though. There are so many oddball and uncommon touches throughout the film that the directorial blandness can be almost forgiven. For example, early on a dude dry humps his girlfriend. After they ‘finish’, they stand up to talk, and while they do, the dude spends the whole scene wiping off the visible cumstain on his jeans. What the hell? Hahahaha. Amazing. There’s also some choice dialogue, like the girl's mother randomly berates the Pico Blvd hookers. Look, everyone knows that the really trashy whores in LA are all on Cahuenga. There's also the strangest response I've ever heard to a girl asking if a guy likes her dress. "Like I like breathing!" he replies. Either this guy has an odd oxygen fetish, or he is actually telling her that he considers her appearance akin to something he does without noticing he's doing it.

The film skimps a bit on the gore though. One character is killed via head bashing (on a toilet – bodily fluids are pretty common in this one), but we see no blood after the body is thrown to the floor. And in another head bashing scene, we are treated to purple paint thrown on the wall? OK. There’s a pretty good beheading though.

And I couldn't tell if it was a meta-reference to Jason or not, but there's a moment during the climax that made me laugh out loud due to its stupidity. The girl, in another slasher reference, wears a hockey mask for some of her final rampage. That's fine, I would have preferred something more obscure, but that's just me. Anyway, at one point she is seen downstairs with some of the other kids. We cut to a bedroom, where two of her bullies are fooling around, and suddenly... she's hiding in the closet! So she snuck into the bedroom without them seeing her, and then got into the closet, then peeked outside of it? What the hell? I know the real Jason teleported a lot, so like I said, maybe it was an intentional joke. If not, yikes.

All in all, a decent enough no-budgeter, but it’s a shame such a great concept was used on such a technically lazy film. But hey, it's still a rape-revenge film, so all... one of you who voted for it in my genre poll, consider yourself served!

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. Really a kind of useless movie (that's why probably non anamorphic, huh). I don't think that any scene is to be mentioned here. Face of any character can be without hesitation added to a photocollage site (as - one that I find rather useful) to create a card of their moods throughout the movie.


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