I understand how hard it is to make a movie, I really do. I’ve written my fair share of scripts, built up middling budgets, and had projects fall apart based on one night of liquor, pills, and drama (college was fun), so I fully support what writer/director Don Swaynos is trying to do with his life. I may not have seen his other work, but I was impressed with the way he created an odd, offbeat comedy that doesn’t reek of the pretentious douchness that other Indie filmmakers end up wallowing in. I hope to see more work from Swaynos because I honestly believe that he has it in him to make that ‘out of nowhere’ comedy darling that worms it’s way into the public eye when it’s not occupied by disasters in third world countries, or attractive white people murdering their children.
It’s because of this that I feel bad that I’m about to shit all over his movie.
Let’s talk about the story first. Why? Because after that last paragraph I want to write something short. There is no fucking story. A maid gets hired by a man to clean his house as she’s walking down the street, to which she agrees, and a bunch of jumbled things happen as she experiences a 69 minute run time. She doesn’t learn anything, she doesn’t teach anything, ridiculous shit just keeps happening so our main character Marie (Kerry Lendo) can stare blankly at what’s happening and spurt lines that sound like it came from a Daria fanfic.
But I know what you’re saying, “The story isn’t the point! It’s the humor and the characters that pull the movie together!” (not that this reasoning is ever accepted for a film like Meet the Millers, but sure, let’s roll with it) So, how does Pictures of Superheroes utilize it’s humor to keep people like me from being so bored that I find the nearest sharp object, jam it into my abdomen, and pull up?
In order to laugh at this movie, you have to suspend your disbelief further than a Stretch Armstrong in the hands of a nine year old. Only people who owned Stretch Armstrongs at that age will get what I’m talking about. At nine, you are clever enough, and strong enough, to pull that fucker past it’s intended limit and find the magic clear gel that, until that point, made the goddamn thing any fun at all. So, yeah, that’s what this movie does with it’s humor.
At first, I thought that Phil (Bryon Brown) had aspergers based on the way he spoke to his girlfriend Marie, and I was sure that Eric (Shannon McCormick) and Joe (John Merriman) were mentally retarded, but no. This is apparently a universe where men can survive by eating only candy and dust from a vacuum cleaner (seriously), and women ask only passive questions when a creepy bald man chases them down the street asking for them to clean their house (creepiest part: when asked what Eric did, with the shiftiest look, he says he owns a business that does business…and Marie still goes with him, fully believing that she’ll be paid and not raped). Marie is supposed to be the only one some semblance of sanity in order to point out the humor in the absurdities within each situation, or conversation (a gag that was hit and miss throughout), but she’s hampered by the script’s padding. In order to keep a scene going, she has to ask “What” or “Why” during clear cut situations, prompting me to yell “‘Cmon bitch! What was so fucking hard to comprehend there?!?” loudly enough that my neighbor’s probably thought that I was fighting with my girlfriend (a ridiculous assumption; it wasn’t even Thursday!).
Normally I wouldn’t bitch about this shit; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had it’s own crazy universe, and Shoot ‘Em Up was downright bananas (I remembered how to spell bananas that because of that goddamn song; at least Gwen Stafani was good for something besides being the cum dumpster for that guy from Bush), but it’s hard to get into this wacky universe when the actors aren’t good at delivery and the jokes continue past their fucking punch line.
Final Thoughts: I would be hesitant to recommend this film to anyone unless they’re really into avoiding anything that resembles mainstream and will ignore the glaring flaws, choosing to enjoy the concept in their mind rather than what’s on the screen (read: hipsters). It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. I see it as a lot of potential that wasn’t fully realized. Maybe if the actors practiced telling some fucking knock knock jokes, or the writer stuck with a tight, shorter film, rather than adding forced dialogue to get this mess over an hour long, I could have enjoyed it more. As is, Pictures of Superheroes didn’t make me laugh, nor did it give me a decent story to follow.
I will also never watch a Swaynos (this is the third time I almost spelled ‘Stamos’; this shit wasn’t nearly as bad as Full House) movie ever again, not because I hate him, but because I want to believe that he’s capable of more. I want to like him, yet I’m certain that his other films are similar to this. This whole ‘hope’ feeling is nice. If I have to give anything else he’s done a poor review, I fear I’ll wish he dies in a tragic house fire…
So let’s end this before it get’s too dark, shall we?