So, the other night I was watching David Lynch’s Wild At Heart and was sent into an intense state of inebriated giggles that nearly made me topple off the toilet seat. The reason I was laughing was due to the batshit-insane cameo appearance by Crispin Glover. Clad in a Santa Claus suit infested with insects and making sandwiches at all hours of the night, Crispin’s role caused me to reflect on his various other performances and directorial efforts. In particular, I remembered the second film in his “It” trilogy, It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine.
As many of you know, Crispin has an uncanny knack for acting like a creepy lunatic in his films and also has an uncanny knack for acting like a creepy lunatic when he makes personal appearances. Now, while I haven’t had the good fortune to see the first part of his epic trilogy (entitled What Is It?), I have been lucky enough to see It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine. And sweet bastard, what an experience it was.
In order to add some incentive to potential filmgoers (beyond the film itself), Crispin not only travels with his films, he also engages in post-show Q & A’s with the audience, signs his numerous books and performs a tasty pre-film appetizer that’s been dubbed the Big Slide Show.
The Big Slide Show is…well, it’s a big slide show. Crispin takes the stage and dramatically recites passages from his books (some of these books make sense, but most of them don’t). This goes on for about an hour. And, while the slide show is entertaining in its own “what the fuck is going on?” way, the real treat is the main attraction.
It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine details the psychotic and sexual adventures of Paul (played by Steven C. Stewart, who also penned the screenplay), a man imprisoned by cerebral palsy. Now, I’ll try to refrain from spilling out any plot points, but I will say that the film features copious amounts of nudity, hardcore sex, murder and lots of garbled, incoherent dialogue. What’s interesting is that Steven C. Stewart actually has cerebral palsy, so all of the muscle twitches and spasms and unintelligable speeches are genuine. While viewing the film, I eventually got used to his physical impairements and was able to deduce what he was saying through various visual cues and the responsive dialogue of other characters that he converses with. Instead of being a passive member of the audience, I became an active participant in Paul’s world. Kudos, Mr. Glover, you are the wind beneath my wings.
I’m not sure if the events in the film are manifested inside Paul’s mind. This confusion is probably due to my propensity for mainlining malt liquor before watching movies. I do know that every woman in the film wants to fuck Paul and they also have no problems understanding what he says. So basically, Paul is the antithesis of me.
Shot on fake-looking stages and displaying a dirty, grainy aesthetic that makes the film stock look like it was processed through a camel’s ass, It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine is not the prettiest movie to look at, but the grindhouse-like subject matter doesn’t demand it. Plus, you’ll be laughing too hard to notice.
I felt bad for laughing. But holy hell was the film funny, whether intentionally or not.
Obsessed with women’s hair, Paul’s fetish eventually transforms him into a handicapped killing machine. What makes this deliriously fascinating is the arbitrary ways the women cuddle up to Paul, precariously positioning themselves close to him so that his twisted arms can somehow get around their throats. It’s fairly obvious to see what’s coming up in the film and yet, it’s so fucking deranged and technically inept that you have to wonder if Crispin knows what he’s doing or if he’s somehow a genius. I like to think the latter.
Clocking in at a brisk 74 minutes, the film had me laughing nonstop for a good hour or so. I know I’m probably going to hell for this, but I couldn’t understand a damn thing Paul said and this just made me laugh harder. He has full-blown conversations with people and they act as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Crispin wisely refrained from putting subtitles in the film, out of respect for Mr. Stewart (who unfortunately passed away shortly after the film was shot).
It Is Fine! Everything Is Fine is like a Lifetime movie after getting sucker-punched by Herchell Gordon Lewis and getting tea-bagged by Ron Jeremy.
It’s just that good.
It is the craziest, most fucked-up movie I’ve ever seen and I’ve sat through both Legally Blonde films. According to Crispin’s website, he will be screening What Is It? in Canada in July, as well as in Japan in September and finally, in Washington in October. In the past, Crispin has lambasted the home video market, so chances of seeing these films released on DVD are very slim. If you crave weird cinema and live in any of the above places, I highly recommend checking it out.