Crock: The Motion Picture
Posted by: Benjamin Adrian
Before seeing Crock, I wondered why it was in tba. It basically looked like maybe it would be interesting, but certainly not anything more than a relic of 1996 Portland Cable Access. At least the directors would be there to explain themselves, and perhaps the film would reveal what was going on in Portland before so many of us arrived into town. Neither happened, but we at least got some laughs out of it.
The directors, Luke Cage and Prescott Sheng, (aka Jon Raymond and James Yu), said they didn’t want to make comments as the movie played, thinking it would add confusion. After a quick rundown, the movie started. It quickly stopped, and we were told they would try a different tape to see if the sound was better which did fortunately improve. People were laughing, already, and we hadn’t got to the jokes yet. Perhaps because much of the cast was present in the audience, who seemed excited to be watching it reunited, at an arts festival, no less. This atmosphere was rounded out by the movie itself, which had an amateurish feel, and home-movie quality.
There is a plot to Crock, and characters, but this was hard to follow. There is a bad tyrant ruler, Crock, who rules with an actual iron fist, which looks like one of those old Nintendo power gloves gone horribly wrong. I didn’t know what was going on much of the time, not that Crock is subtle, it just wasn’t that type of movie. There was an element of crassness, which at least in regards to one scene, Director Jon Raymond couldn’t quite recall why it had seemed so important at the time. Also, the directors admitted to continuity issues caused by massive filming delays, such as taking so long to finish single scenes that an actor’s hair length changed considerably from the first shooting to the final. Many knowledgeable audience members were undeterred by such “errors” and gave applause to the likes of Steven Sexx Stevens and soundtrack artist Bugskull. Accolades came throughout the film, especially for some cats which made appearances (I think random). There were also lots of laughs at the bad jokes, strange props, editing, and the silliness of it all. Ample use of severely basic editing, which was done at Portland Cable Access, required ample use of our ability to willfully suspend our disbelief, or just laugh.
I did find some aspects of the film to be genuinely good. Bugskull’s droning music was a big part of many scenes, like the tripped out dream sequences, and I thought worthy of listening to again (the band is actually playing at the Works Saturday night!) There is an intellectual stripe present, mainly about authority and dissidents, such as Foucault’s Discipline and Punish or graphic novel Tintin and the Picaros by Herge. I never saw the larger philosophical message in Crock, just glimpses of ideas. Without the cast present, it would be even harder to get into laughing, but if you can catch a home-showing sometime down the line, you may want to check it out.