November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Okay, so had my schedule have not gone haywire, I would had planned a week of Halloween movies and so far, I only released on the day of the event itself so what to do about the other four to six movies? Well, I’m trying to catch up so why not start one by reviewing Kevin Smith’s second foray to horror movie genre. Now my initial response to Red State back in 2010 still applies today and it’s still a pretty awesome movie despite it getting mixed receptions. And since that movie came out, I have waited to see what his next work is and thanks to a prank post from Gumtree website and an hashtag campaign, Tusk arrives and it got more mixed than his previous work even down to it being some saying that it’s the worst movie Kevin has ever done.
So when I heard about how bad it is, I decide to give a bit of my time before I saw the movie. This is the first of his planned True North trilogy which comprise on this and his later movies – Yoga Hosers and Moose Jaws – which brings a mix of horror and black humor to the soils of Canada. Now one could say that this trilogy takes place in View Askewniverse since Moose Jaws is to feature everybody’s favorite stoner duo Jay and Silent Bob for the first time since Clerks II… or uh, Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie?!?
The movie focuses on Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) who’s a co-host of popular podcast known as The Not-See Party which sets up not only a running joke for it being sounded like the Nazi Party but the theme point of humor will be followed on Yoga Hosers. Back to the movie at hand, Wallace travels to Canada to interview an internet celebrity known as The Kill Bill Kid (a parody of The Star Wars Kid of course) but… he arrives to find that he killed himself.
And as he is stuck in Canada, he notices the note on the bar which caught his attention and decide to interview Howard Howe (Michael Parks) who’s a retired seaman who’s confide to a wheelchair. As Howard tells interesting stories, Wallace is amazed before he discovers he is drugged and the movie is enter horror territory as Howard is planning an experiment on Wallace to become a hybrid of human and walrus so he’s basically Canada’s Dr Moreau but with failed experiments. And this one experiment worked, Wallace has become the walrus.
But before he became a walrus, he called for help for both his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) and his friend and podcast co-host Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment) so they both decide to find him in Canada. And they got help in the form of Guy LaPointe, played oddly by Johnny Depp because… can you name the last movie where Johnny played a normal character in this day and age? Now Guy is a former inspector who is hunting for Howard for years and he nearly caught him when Howard was pretending to be a manchild-like doctor.
They eventually got to Howard as he is getting mutilated by Walrus Wallace and the movie ends on a sad note with Wallace being in a wildlife sanctuary living the remainder of a life of a being he doesn’t want to be and with his friends saddened that he went this way. Now this is gonna an interesting way to give positives, negatives and a little extra and I best start on the easy part. This movie is somewhat unique mix of Cronenbergian horror and Lynchian surrealism with Kevin Smith’s own style of storytelling to boot. I best give credit to Michael, Genesis and Haley since they did a good acting job and I may give the same for Justin even though him as a walrus looks ridiculously silly but he did commit to it so kudos for that.
And that’s pretty much all there is because oh boy, this is definitely not a good movie and I am not siding with the “I hate this movie” crowd. This movie would have worked, it really would but it has problems that make me wonder if the trilogy is worth it. I did mention Cronenbergian and Lynchian in the same sentence earlier and that’s the first issue about it. Kevin is really trying hard to be a horror director and this movie hardly felt horror-esque. Then again, Red State itself hardly felt as that as well since to me, it’s more of a shoot-em-up thriller. The second issue is basically the “it worked better on paper” routine since really, the Gumtree ad that is heard in a SmodCast episode (which is heard during the closing credits) is better than the movie and that’s a sad way to state that.
The last issue is the acting. First thing to point is Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp. Honestly, they did well as smartphone-addicting clerks that their part is minimal and a bit sterile. The plus side is that they will show up as the main heroes of Yoga Hosers so I might kick myself for critique them here (that and it’s their first try at acting in their teens). And speaking of which, Johnny Depp is the biggest part of the issue since as much as he’s an out-of-nowhere, eccentric character, he’s not really needed for the movie since other than explaining his backstory and helping Wallace’s friends out, he’s just simply there.
Maybe I could rewatch this a few times and see if my mindset has changed but not only is it not a good movie for me but it’s not for the masses as well. With the exception of Clerks II, his movies have been getting a bit of dislike and hate from Jersey Girl to this and I don’t know how I’ll take his further movies at this point since he’s heading to the same direction as M. Night Shyamalan in making movies that anybody can consider “crap”. However, I don’t mind those movies before seeing Tusk since Jersey Girl came at the wrong time, Zach and Miri is alright as a Judd Apatow wannabe movie and Cop Out has some little moments despite being invaded by Bruce Willis’ egotism.
And the thing about it is Kevin Smith has constant thing towards his view on critics. So much that when Cop Out flopped, he hardly use online for a couple of months. And as of recently, his view is simply “I don’t give a fuck” mode so he doesn’t care if anybody hates his movies and I should know really because early this September, I went to his Superhero Multiverse show in Sydney and he discuss pretty much that during the show. His intent is to make movies both for himself and for those who liked his works rather than cry out and say “bring back Dante and Randal, they are funny”.
And really, I can take that that’s his decision, it’s his work and with the exception of Cop Out, his goal is to give his ideas to the public no matter how good or bad it is. So what if I don’t much like Tusk? It’s just one movie in his body of work. Maybe Yoga Hosers would be good, it’s possible that Moose Jaws is a good parody of Jaws and I am ecstatic about MallBrats (even though it should have been called Mallrats II: Die Hard In A Mall but moving on). Would I recommend this movie anyway despite what I said? Well yeah but mainly as a curiosity’s sake. It could be a good movie for you or not but it is kinda worth a watch.