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MISE-EN MESS


As 2005 winds to a close, so too the boring parade of “Ten Best” lists. And now, with the last Sunday of the year gone, the newspaper columnists will move on to their “New in 2006!” pieces while the internet stragglers take up the rear with a more interesting bunch of kudos. GreenCine has been diligently covering the whole year-end shebang, and today the site has a bunch of interesting links to everything from DVDTalk and others ranging from Best Schlock of 2005 to Top 20 Adult DVDs, which feature lists from both male and female reviewers, to the most interesting, Top 10 Obscure Outsider Homemade Movies on DVD That You Probably Never Heard Of in 2005. The list is by DVDTalk’s Bill Gibron, and I’ve heard of only two of his 10. One is The American Astronaut, Cory McAbee’s black-and-white indie fantasia. The other is Reflections of Evil, Damon Packard’s unclassifiable pop-culture mash. I only know it because he sent me a DVD of it years ago — it was made in 2002 — and I kept watching it in bits and pieces, never really figuring out whether there was some genius in there or whether it was just a filmmaking mess. So, I thank Gibron for putting it in context:

“Along with the sublime Giuseppe Andrews, Damon Packard is a true God of the outsider effort. Using a style that can best be described as mise-en-mess, and a persona filled with equal parts Tourettes and talent, this true independent maverick has mixed his 70s obsessions with his hatred of the world to weave a truly inspired expression of self. Packard plays an overweight street vendor dealing with the death of his sister. In between his profane public outbursts, we witness clips from The ABC Movie of the Wee, a young Stephen Spielberg onset, and footage from the Universal Studio tour. As a film, it’s fascinating. As a cry for help, it’s downright disturbing.”

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