Posted By: Carissa Wodehouse
The film Crock marks a TBA first for me, a first anus. I’ve seen a dancer pee on stage, an impromptu testicle shaving, and a penis stuffed behind fishnets (Fleshtone, darn you, that one is still stuck in my head), but the close up anus is a first. Later, when it ejected a ping pong ball, I was somehow not surprised.
Films at TBA can be tricky, and even those who go on to New York Times feature stories, like Ryan Trecartin of 08′, are just beyond me.
Crock takes as its muse the Sunday comic strip by the same name. You know it. The small army with bulbous noses, the Arab enemies, the soldiers with their long spears, the desert, the bro-ish jokes. In the film, a world of 20 somethings sometimes mirror situations and dialogue from the comic with homemade costumes, marker mustaches, and really, really bad wigs. It’s political, it’s apocalyptic, it’s the Oregon high desert.
Sometimes things at TBA are so bat shit crazy they recalibrate your sense of normal. That’s why we’re here, right? In that way, Crock works. A cactus-induced minute of psychosis was the only time my brain could take a breather, because I have at least some film reference for what tripping balls looks like. There were funny but unoriginal moments; an army laid out with sunstroke is administered chap stick, a tunnel leads upward into a laundry pile of clothes.
The sets have that no budget flair, my favorite being the cardboard boxes painted silver as jail cells, with a giant keyhole cutout as the cell door. An elaborate note passing scene volleyed from carrier house cats to softball game to sandwich to tracking shots on most of the workings of a home sewer line. This year’s TBA meme may very well be poop (see Young Jean Lee’s Shipment for example #1).
Crock feels like a film put in this festival as a favor to a friend, but it’s the kind of thing that risks scaring off a TBA newbie.