Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(UK, Ireland, USA)

Sometimes these small independent movies with a weird premise work very well, as in Lars and the Real Girl. Sometimes they don’t work at all, as in, sadly, this one.

A young man who longs to make music, but isn’t very good, joins an experimental rock group headed by a man named Frank, who wears a big, round false head 24/7. Sleeping, in the shower, eating (liquid diet) … always. This was apparently inspired by a man named Christopher Spivey, who really did head a band at one time, and who had a stand-up comic character called Frank Sidebottom. Brits and Irish might be familiar with him. He didn’t wear it 24/7, though. That was added by the screenwriters.

For reasons I can’t really understand, a big name actor, Michael Fassbender, was eager to play this part, where his face is seen for only five minutes at the end. And the critics went wild! In fact, this movie rates a 92% on Metacritic. One of those major disagreements between us and the critical establishment, because Lee and I didn’t think it worked at all. As far as the performance goes, it might as well have been Jack N. Debox inside that round head for all I could tell.

I am at a severe disadvantage here in one respect. I don’t know if the music they were playing was supposed to be good, or awful. There are entire genres these days that say very little or nothing to me. This group “rehearses” for almost a year out in the Irish boonies, not recording a single note. Then they play one number. Frank shouts stream-of-consciousness lyrics, thumping electronic music plays along with him. Some of it almost sounded good to me, or at least interesting. Reminded me a little of The Doors. He sounded a little like Jim Morrison. There was also a bit of Velvet Underground in there. Could these examples date me any more ruthlessly? But bottom line, there was so little actual music played here that I really could not know if they were supposed to be any good. All in all, this was a sad thing to watch.