Saturday saw temperatures of almost 30C in Sydney, which was ideal for enjoying beers between films on day 3 of the Sydney Underground Film Festival. I caught three films on day 3 – Documentaries Unhung Hero and Adjust Your Tracking and Birdemic: Shock and Terror, which was accompanied by a game of ‘best worst movie bingo’. My thoughts on all 3 films, after the jump.
Unhung Hero – dir. Brian Spitz
When Patrick proposes to his girlfriend you have to assume he is expecting the answer to be ‘yes’. Instead Patrick gets a ‘no’, public humiliation and possibly the ultimate bruising to his manhood and identity – his girlfriend says she can’t marry him because his penis is too small. Understandably, Patrick finds this hard to process. Is he really that small? How much does size really matter anyway? Patrick sets out on a journey to find the answers to these questions and to find a way to deal with his own insecurities. He travels to Korea where the men have the smallest penises (on average) in the world, to Papua New Guinea where size suddenly matters after centuries of it not and to one of the world’s biggest condom manufacturers to find out, what is average? Patrick talks to sexperts, doctors, comedians, prostitutes and every day people. This is a brave film and Patrick lays it all out. His reactions to some his findings are hilarious and you really feel for the guy. A heart-warming and sometimes cringe-worthy documentary. Rating: 3.5/5
Adjust Your Tracking – dir. Dan M. Kinem, Levi Peretic
This film about VHS collectors is very much for the people and the culture that it depicts. Rather than being a film that invites those who know little about the world in, this film asks basic questions and gets basic answers…repeatedly. Largely interview based, the film talks to hardcore VHS collectors, store owners, producers and lovers of those special films (largely horror) that aren’t available on any other format. What I liked about this film was hearing what drove these people to spend so much money and time on what many would call a dying format. As someone with a passion in film, I could relate to a lot of their motivations and found myself nodding my head in agreement. However, the film covers very little ground and is extremely repetitive – there was a lack of editing here and the film jumped around interviewees who were all giving practically the same answers to the questions presented to them. Is there more to the VHS collecting culture? I’m not sure, but if there is, this film didn’t cover it. Rating: 2/5
Birdemic: Shock and Terror – dir. James Nguyen
It’s quite incredible that this film ever got made. Coming out of it I wondered if it was a big joke on the writer-director’s part, or if he was for real. Apparently he is for real and he financed the whole thing himself, through work and abusing a few credit cards. It’s really quite a triumph to make a film this bad and then get people to see it. There are sound editing “issues” in this film I didn’t even know were possible At times traffic overwhelms the dialogue completely, while the cuts between other shots are emphaised by the static “zap” of the sound being cut off. The film is the sum of: 1 hour of driving (I wish I were kidding), 15 minutes of horrific dialogue and 15 minutes of the most groan-inducing action/special effects seen outside of a primary school classroom. If the characters in this film were real people, they wouldn’t have made it this far in life, for their stupidity would have seen them taken out long ago. This film makes The Room look like a pop culture masterpiece. Thank goodness for the bingo game that accompanied the film, as I’m not sure I could have sat through it otherwise. The “so bad it’s good” factor only goes so far… Rating: 0/5
By Sam McCosh