Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Recorded in 2006.
Critics and moviegoers are reeling from the news that a forgery has been circulating on the arthouse film circuit.
Junebug, a US independent (or ‘indie’) film, which has received ecstatic reviews from members of the press both here and abroad, was yesterday spectacularly revealed by a member of the public to be a fake.
“I couldn’t believe it,” says John Dog, the unemployed nightclub singer who made the discovery. “I saw this poster for what I thought was a film, outside a cinema and everything, and, y’know, I went in. But even through the opening credits, something seemed fishy.”
“It just seemed . . . empty, y’know? Like the people who made it had seen a couple of French movies in film school and wanted to make something that looked like an art film, without first knowing what it should actually be about. It was affectation after affectation: the sans serif credits that filled the screen, appearing and disappearing abrubtly; the ‘naturalistic’ dialogue, which only indicated the writer’s laziness and inability to construct real scenes; the static shots of empty rooms that purported to say ‘look at how they live,’ but actually said ‘can we push this f*cker to 90 minutes?’ It was a clearly a dud, a fugazi, a total and utter fakey-fake-fake - but most of the people in the auditorium seemed to be enjoying it. It was a nightmare - I thought I was going crazy!”
While Trading Standards officers have been alerted to what may well be a serious offence, both the distributors and exhibitors of Junebug insist it is a genuine film. We contacted Mr. James Crock, junior distribution administration assistant of the FilmArt Cinemas (formerly GDX Corp) chain. When confronted with the accusation that his cinemas were carrying a forgery, he said; “What?!! Who is this?!! Forgery?!! I don’t have time for this sh*t. Is this Ian? Did Ian put you up to this?” Several attempts were made to contact the newspaper critics who had so praised the film, but sadly, the pubs had already opened.
Crock o’ sh*t
According to Mr. Dog, it was the forgery’s attitude to its own characters, and its target audience, that was the real giveaway. Junebug pretends to portray a sophisticated married Chicago couple as they journey South to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where the husband is from, ostensibly to meet with an ‘outsider artist’. They take the opportunity to stay with the husband’s family, and it is from the familiar conflict, town v country, hepcats v rednecks that the ‘film’ attempts to extract drama.
“Yeah,” Mr Dog continued, in a more agitated fashion, “I couldn't believe how patronising it was. While the detached style and crappy, faux-realistic dialogue might lead you to believe it was going to at least attempt to be even-handed in its treatment of the characters, it wasn’t at all. The Southern characters are either gifted savants, in the case of the artist and the pregnant chick, or flat out, one-dimensional cartoon hicks, in the case of Ryan from The OC. It was like 2,000 Maniacs, but at least that piece of sh*t was honest.
“The arty city-dwellers, on the other hand, are well-rounded, beautiful, people who can enjoy both their own, unquestioned, metropolitan lives and the ‘authentic’, rustic ways of the Clampetts, or whoever. They were like the beatific, smiling aliens at the end of Close Encounters, descending to grace and illuminate the lives of the lower species.”
Worst film ever? Why not
“I mean, what a backpatting exercise in wholesale smuggery for both the filmmakers and your average arthouse movie crowd - talk about preaching to the converted! Compare this to Noah Baumbach’s relatively masterful The Squid and The Whale, which is a pointed, funny and beautiful squirm-a-thon for anyone who’s ever had an artistic pretension in their life. And this terrific film was well-received by many of the same people who feted Junebug - what’s going on? Don’t critics know when they’re being flattered by a film? Don’t they know a fake when they see one?”
Mr Dog collapsed at this point during the interview, and was rushed to hospital, where he remains in a coma. Junebug is still on limited release.
Pictured, a London cinema, from London's West End Cinemas by Allen Eyles and Keith Skone.