Written By Kelly Stifora
Director Terry Zwigoff follows up his acclaimed documentary on R. Crumb with an adaptation of the cult underground comic by Crumb-inspired artist/writer Daniel Clowes, who collaborated closely with Zwigoff on the film.
Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) are two caustic high school graduates too intent on annoying the hapless souls in their neighborhood to realize their dream of having their own place. As Rebecca drifts toward a responsible life and Enid …ecomes increasingly obsessed with their latest victim (Steve Buscemi, in an outstanding turn as a record collecting “geek”), the girls’ ghost world becomes all too real, putting their hearts and friendship to the test.
Despite the insipid sounding synopsis, this is an incredibly enjoyable and intelligent “coming-of-age” movie. The secret to its success lies in the ability of Zwigoff and co-scripter Clowes to carry the comic’s dry, black and white sarcasm over into a gloriously colorful and kitschy film that’s just as much an ode to pop-culture as to teen brashness. Honest and often hilarious performances from the leads and a “hey-isn’t-that-the-guy-from” list of character actors in cameo roles add to the fun.
Although the disc features 5.1-surround sound, I didn’t hear a peep from the rear channels. That being said, the sound coming form the front channels is crystal clear. The dialogue stands out in the mix and is never difficult to understand, and the eclectic soundtrack of punk, classic blues, and Hindi 60s rock (yes, you read that right) adds a lot of dimension to the film while giving the subwoofer a half decent workout. David Kitay’s melancholic orchestral score warrants a mention.
Presented in the 1.85:1 ratio only, the video on this disc is outstanding. Director of Photography Affonso Beato crams every frame with as much color as possible, and all are gloriously rendered here. Even difficult reds and blacks (of which there are many) remain crisp. Incidentally, I popped the disc into a Sony Playstation 2, and the picture wasn’t nearly as good as on a dedicated Sony DVD player; the PS2 gave a grainier picture that faded in brightness toward the top and bottom of the frame.
Fairly standard stuff here. The highlights include deleted scenes featuring Dave Sheridan as Doug, the mulleted guy who practically lives in the local convenience store parking lot, and a bizarre clip from the 1965 Hindi film Gumnamm featuring some of the aforementioned 60s rock. A pedestrian making-of featurette would be lame if the film it promotes wasn’t so interesting.
A must for underground comic book fans, this film will reward anyone willing to take a chance on an affectingly absurd and sarcastic comedy in the vein of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. A worthy movie and a well-executed DVD.
Special Features List
- Deleted Scenes
- Making-Of Featurette
- Music Video