|A Film That
Shows the Problems of Trying to Be Cool While Living in
Think Globally, Act Locally. That is the mantra for
any successful social or political grassroots organization.
In order to change the way the world thinks and/or acts,
you have to pump up your ideas amongst those in close
proximity. Get the word out and who knows what will
happen. Well, dear reader, just as grassroots crusaders
Ralph Nadar and Mike Ferrell before us, the Filmsnobs
are on a mission. As smart-ass film lovers from the
Midwest, we have an almost selfish interest in promoting
filmmakers from this neck of the woods. I mean, not
only does it shed a light on the sarcastic wit and penetrating
intelligence of entertainment from here (Hey! That sounds
just like us here at www.filmsnobs.com!), but it also
means that the national filmmaking community may perhaps
see the "Flyovers", or the area of the US
between LAX and Laguardia, as IMPORTANT. People would
get good gigs in La-la Land, good movies would get made
that everyone could enjoy, and film festivals and big
industry happenings would start sprouting up in places
like Lawrence, KS and/or Columbia, MO or where ever.
And that means that the Film Snobs could enjoy a lobster
and steak buffet with Richard Roeper and Roger Ebert
or partake in a post-party free bar where we could shot
gun Budweisers with Chris Gore of Film Threat.With this
in mind, the Film Snobs present the Flyover Film Series:
It is our hope that, by reviewing local films, that
some good folks with some real talent can be exposed
to our small yet geographically spread-eagled and rabid
So keep all of that in mind when I acknowledge that
the first film in this series, the ten-minute comedy
The Champ, was made by some friends yours truly,
Jimmy O. One may be thinking: Sure! This will be an
objective review just like that slober job he did on
Laura Kirk last October. But let me begin by saying
that the film is kind of fun and clever.(And yes, Lisa
Picard is Famous is that good. So piss off!) There's
this guy, self-described as The Champ by Kyle Fitzpatrick
(Trey Hock), who goes to school at Kansas State and...
Wait, don't laugh yet. Sure, this bottom of the Big
12 school in Manhattan, KS is a hotbed of toothless
agriculture business majors and slutty Dogpatch rejects,
but I haven't even got to the jokey plot yet. But I
digress from that embarrassingly Jayhawk-biased and
Crimson and Blue- painted statement. Anyway, in an attempt
to meet women and to "be in", our hero begins
to emulate the moves and attitude of hip hop, urban
artists. He struts around the Little Apple as a cross
between Greg Brady and Eminem. It's gets a great deal
of attention with the people that he encounters until
he gets up the courage to strut his stuff in the big
circuit with his version of "All School" dancing.
Needless to say, this white boy gets a good lesson on
his place in our socioeconomic culture. While the film
has the "set-up then punch line" rhythm"
of most short films, it does tap into an interesting
mentality among rural Midwestern kids who get into this
kind of music. Most people, in their grandstanding Newsweek
editorials or whatever, dismiss this trend as simple
posing. But look closer and you'll see a deeper connection.
Most good and effective rap and hip hop don't just talk
about being black or living in the inner city, they
talk about being poor and deprived and angry. The music
can almost be Marxist in the way it mixes the angry
attitudes of the poor with a general, cultural mood.
That's why artists like Eminem, a Missouri boy, is so
big. He doesn't care if you're back or white. He reaches
to the disillusioned and the frustrated and the angry.
That can exist in Detroit...or Kansas. What is so funny
is that The Champ buys into the pose without any of
the posturing. There's no understanding of what this
music is really about. What comes off as cool at a glance
is merely pathetic once examined at any great length.
The film that seemingly understands the absurdity of
a white loser that gleans onto something very socially
important, turns it into a trick, and then has it blow
up in ridicule.
Now, why wouldn't you give that a chance? Still have
doubts? Well, let me gain some trust in the potentially
flappable reader by saying that the film is not perfect,
particularly in some of the normal trappings of low-budget
filmmaking. I never understood why people with no access
to great sound and/or camera equipment spend so much
energy on external shooting. There's always too much
wind and actors end up being cast in permanent shadow.
Sacrificing "scope" in a story may make the
storytelling much more tolerable. And then there are
the actors. Mind you I'm not expecting a whole lot regarding
professionalism. This is more of a technical point.
Low budget filmmakers have a tendency to cast actors
who are used to a theater setting. They position themselves
crooked in order for the "auditorium" to catch
all expressions. Every physical moment is exaggerated.
THEY PROJECT. Some of the performers in The Champ
come off that way. It needs to be more natural.
That's what film is really about. Most of the performers
here, like Hock, are actually pretty good and seem to
understand how film acting is done. Some of the smaller
roles don't come off quite as well. Other than that,
I refuse to nitpick. The guys who made this film had
no money and had to film it over the span of a few weekends.
It's clever and fun and I enjoyed watching it. Who the
hell am I to complain and dissect, really?
I am a film critic, that's who the hell I am! And I
say that The Champ is worth ten minutes of your
time on the web. I've got the link right below the article
where one can view the film. And I also have an offer
to any other local artists out there: Shimes and I are
very serious about pimping the Flyovers. There's a great
deal of talent here with no attention. If you've got
a movie that you think is pretty good, e-mail us and
we'll try to set something up. And if the readers like
this stuff, let us know. It could possibly be the only
feedback these filmmaker's get outside of friends, families,
and/or investors. So take off that "Nadar-LaDuke"
T-shirt, throw down that staged, blood-soaked bag of
Starbucks coffee, and get behind something worthwhile.
Besides, watching The Champ is a lot more fun
than being a member of the Green Party.
here to Watch "The Champ" and to Check out
the All School Web Site!
2 Save the Last Dance
1 Vanilla Ice
3 The Champ