No, not the Helen Hunt movie!
For the third time, I turn my attention to a Crispin Glover movie; this time a little-known 1989 number based on Mary Robbinson’s novel “Oh!”
Listed on Wikipedia and IMDB as a Comedy, it would be truer to list it as a quirky drama, in many ways reminiscent of a (less accomplished) Little Miss Sunshine.
Following a short time in the life of the Cleveland family, there’s little in the way of plot – while there is a loose story, it’s more a collection of events; a little slice of eccentric family life.
The Cleveland Patriarch, Soda-Pop and Mini-Golf tycoon Eugene (played masterfully by Harry Dean Stanton) is dating the host of a children’s Bible TV show, while using his business’ proceeds to support his adult children; his son Howard “Howdy” (Glover), his border-line alcoholic daughter Maureen (Suzy Amis), and Maureen’s Daughter, Violet.
The jumping in point for the viewer is Maureen’s ex (and Violet’s father) Chris (Dylan McDermot) returning from Canada, determined to win Maureen back, and rescue his daughter from what he sees as a madhouse. Meanwhile Howdy courts a gardener’s daughter, and practices his various avant-garde arts (including music and performance art). In the mists of all this, Howdy and Maureen quest to find their estranged mother.
The sound design is superb, often borrowing from Howdy’s experimental music, lending an incredibly fitting off-kilter background to an unusual, though never absurd or surreal, film.
But is it any good?
It’s hard to say; it’s a film of contradictions, being both clever, and dull, somehow managing to feel like there is both much, and little, going on; in an odd way it feels, in both narrative and pace, more like a novel than a film, full of adjuncts, pauses, and dead ends.
It’s no surprise that it has an exactly average 2.5/5 stars on IMDB, as I’m sure most of the audience aren’t quite sure what to make of it, with those who have managed to form an opinion either loving or hating it.
Should you watch it?
That depends; Glover fans will enjoy his performance. For everyone else though , with little to recommend or advise against it, if you watch as many movies as The Cinephiliacs, then sure, give it a go. If on the other hand you watch movies like a normal person, there are better movies.
Not so much a “meh” as an “I’m really not sure”.
Jim got kicked in the head by a horse back in February; he went around killing horses for a while, then he ate the insides of a clock and he died.