Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



This movie immediately sank into the mire of my Bottom Ten Worst Films of All Time list, a list I don’t actually keep and which probably holds a lot more than ten awful films. It’s an honor I don’t bestow lightly. The first five minutes is shots of a car. Driving through the desert. Driving and driving and driving. Then two assholes, both named Gerry, get out and start walking. They walk. They walk and walk and walk. They walk some more. They manage, idiotically, to get lost. They walk some more. They talk about nothing. They make a few stupid plans. One Gerry climbs a rock and is too stupid to get back down. He jumps. He doesn’t break his stupid neck. Too bad. By now we are 50 minutes into a 103 minute film. Lee and I decide to use the blessed fast forward on the DVD. At 1.5X you can still hear dialogue, if there is any. For long, long minutes, there isn’t any. We turn on the subtitles for the hearing impaired and switch to 5X FF. We switch to 20X, then 60X, as fast as our DVD will skim. They sit down. The camera pans around them. Lee says, “It looks like slo-mo. Are you sure we’re fast-forwarding?” We are. This movie is so dull that even at 60X FF, it is mind-numbing!!! Then one Gerry rolls over on top of the other one. I slow the DVD down; this is directed by Gus van Sant, maybe they’re fucking. No, one Gerry is strangling the other one. I smile, but the scene, for once, doesn’t last nearly long enough. Maybe a coyote will kill the other one, and we can watch it eat both corpses. No such luck. Final shot is the surviving Gerry sitting in the back seat of an SUV. I guess he’s been rescued. He sits. He sits and sits and sits. The guy driving looks back at him. Roll credits.

This is the sort of artsy-fartsy shit that gives independent films a bad name. It’s why people rent Johnson Family Vacation instead of some obscure little thing they’ve never heard of. They’ve been burned like this before. In JFV something at least happens, even if it’s not funny. And guess what? It scored an unbelievable 60% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes. Six out of ten critics liked it! Two gave it 100%, five stars, whatever. One put it on his 10 Best of the Year list. Roger Ebert said it was awful, 50% of the audience walked out at Sundance … and yet he liked it. (“What’s that?” “Some new movie. They say it’s good for you.” “Eat it.” “You eat it.” “I’m not gonna eat it!” “Give it to Roger, he’ll eat anything!” “Look, he’s eating it. Hey, Roger!”) It’s a sad world when somebody like van Sant, who has made some films that were actually good, can get somebody to finance an abysmal piece of crap like this. He has disgraced his profession. It’s as simple as that. He should be fined for wasting valuable celluloid. Somebody from the Director’s Guild should be assigned to follow him around at all times to make sure he never commits a film like this again. Tie him up and beat the crap out of him if necessary. Sorry, but a film like this calls for Xtreme measures.