Wassup with Larry Clark..?

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If I told u I'm a huge fan of Larry Clark's work you would probably think that I'm a freak. This is mostly because his film often deals with issues that other directors would stay away from. Teen sex, incest, autoerotic asphyxiation, adolescence, teen violence, teen drug abuse, AIDS... those are usually the main ingredients in a Larry Clark's film. His cinema verite style of film-making, his almost voyueristic approach of filming a scene and his penchant for casting unknown teenage actors and actresses making his films look very real and raw.

His debut film KIDS (..which launch the career of Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson among others) suddenly appear out of nowhere to shock the Hollywood film industry - -- an ugly portrait of amoral youths who resort to drugs and sex not as a form of rebellion, but to fill the void of otherwise empty and meaningless lives. The scenes are very graphic; and most people are labelling his films exploitative; he's being blamed for glorifying teenage sex. But people tend to forget that the issues that were potrayed in a Larry Clark's film are real issues. Even in a country like our pride and glory Malaysia, we can relate with issues of teenage sexuality, rape, drug abuse and violence. We read about it in newspapers every day. Larry Clark's is probably the only director who has the guts to show us what transpires when children are set adrift in a heartless world, and warns us what happens -- and is already happening -- in the absence of love and guidance.

Being a fan of his works, there is a high amount of expectation for his latest film. But sadly, I guess, when u expect too much from someone or something, you tend to get a little bit frustrated. And that is the case with his latest film, Wassup Rockers.

Wassup Rockers in short is about a group of seven Latino South Central skateboarders who took a road trip to Beverly Hills to practice their hobby. While there, they encounter a couple of horny white girls who invite them to drop by, a racist cop, a gay pedophile throwing a house party, a trigger-happy film director, and a freaky woman looking for a toy boy. Almost like a fucked-up version of Ferris Bueller Day Off. According to the Wassup Rockers press notes, Larry Clark spent a year following around a real-life band of Latino skate punks who dress like the Ramones. They're nonactors whom Clark met in Venice Beach, then built a film around. They ad-lib most of their dialogue, perform their own bruising stunts and enact vignettes from their everyday lives, working out, practicing their music; basically just hanging out. The message of the movie is loud and clear - People shouldn't be judged by their appearance and mannerisms. Just because they're from the ghetto, look like gang members, and commit crimes doesn't mean they're bad individuals.

The result - a low-key, pervy mess. Structurally, the movie's provocative: It starts out feeling like a hand-held documentary and just gets stranger as it goes along. At first glance, I, certainly, became confused if the movie was a documentary or not. (It's not). The pace is terribly slow. The dialogue, which sounds improvised, is mostly silly and occasionally simple-minded. The acting is atrocious across-the-board. Then again, what did you expect after going into South Central and picking up seven kids off the streets?

The movie works best during its small scenes - conversations between the boys, domestic sequences, and skateboard practicing. It's when Clark ventures onto the wider portion of the canvas that he runs into trouble. Also, I found the Latino punk music to be distracting. In small doses, it would have helped establish the setting, but its non-stop presence becomes extremely annoying. The only time I really like the music is when the boys finally make it out of Beverly Hills to the tune of Mogwai's 'Take Me Somewhere Nice' which transcends the scene to another level.

Compared to other Larry Clark's film, this movie could be described as his most mainstream movie to date. Well, for the first time, there isn't even a hint of nudity, although the trademark lingering shots of bare teenage flesh and faces is still there. But for me it's not the nudity ( or lack thereof) that bothers me. While his other films like Kids, Bully, Ken Park and even Teenage Cavemen deals with interesting teen issues and somewhat raw acting, Wassup Rockers comes across as contrived and silly, with the coup de grace being an idiotic scene featuring a bathtub electrocution (..featuring a very familiar face from America's Next Top Model). It's goofy in some parts and the flat acting also didn't help much. It's funny in a gratuitous way, but makes you wish Clark had quit trying to cook up adventures and silly settings for his cast and try to chronicle these kids' lives in a short film or documentary instead.

Wassup Rockers will give Larry Clark a non-controversial title on his resume. I doubt, however, that it will perform better than his earlier films. Wassup Rockers is amateurish, but without the redeeming qualities found in Kids and Bully. Disappointing.


  1. jimi said...

    aFilem yg ko review nampak menariknya. Thanx ya.

    By the way,jimi wiser telah berpindah ke tapak baru http://www.jimi-wiser.blogspot.com, terima kasih diucapkan dan dijemput semua datang bertanggah ke rumah baru nya

  2. Nazim Masnawi said...

    Talk about a friggin' disappointment!

  3. cik sueN said...

    dude.. ape lagik.. pinjam la... kite kan jiran tetangge skrg neh :)

    btw, ko dh konvo ke? akku baru je ari ahad lepas. yay!

  4. Edd Vedder said...

    jimi my man..
    long time no see. nanti aku singgah kt umah baru ko.

    the dissapointment of a huge fan is heart-breaking.

    suen AKA jiran..
    weh.. wassup! pinjam DVD? No hal.. nanti aku kasi ko my complete Larry Clark Collection. Baru ko boleh judge. Aku konvo 17hb Ogos ni. Ko dh konvo ke..! Tahniah weh..!

  5. Nadia said...

    aku baru je tengok cite ni! haiyaaaaaaa...nyesal aku beli, beb! dari dialogue (..and then..and then...and then...gosh!), skrip sume dah mcm pelakon DYH!.kayu habis! tapi aku suka dressing bebudak tu yg mmg mcm ramones. pastu muke pun mcm cun2 gak. heheheh..tapi the choice of songs mcm kureng sket. and yes, paling lawak scene minah tu electrocuted in the bathtub! minah tu kalo dlm america's next top model kan main lagi eksyennye, alih2 berlakon, watak camtu pun dia nak ke? kui..kui..kui..
    disbbkan terlampo boring, aku jadik blur terus. kat ending tu, nape yek diorang thank milton aka spermball?

    lain kali aku tak nak expect too high bile baca sinposis lagi. huwaaaaaa!!

    p/s: tunggu review aku 'metal: a headbanger's journey'! rawkkk!!

  6. Edd Vedder said...

    ko mesti beli filem ni sbb nampak perkataan 'rockers' kt cover dia kan.. haha.. rocking tul la lu. Aku pun a bit blur about the ending. Aku rasa diaorang ucap thanks kt Spermball sbb dia yg ajak diaorang gi Beverly Hills.

    Anyway filem ni mmg tak mencerminkan kebolehan Larry Clark sbg pengarah. Try cari filem dia yg lain for a better movie.

    Metal : A headbangers Journey? Aku dh nampak ari tu, tapi belum beli. Tunggu review ko dulu...

  7. Nadia said...

    worait! tunggu..aku baru je belikan several copies utk geng2 headbangin' merangkap kipas-susah-mati kejor yob kejor yg lain...sume kata best. heheh..

    and yes, tepat skali. aku beli sbb pktn 'rockers' itu? hahaha...err..btw, apa lagi pelem larry clark yg best ha?

  8. Edd Vedder said...

    Larry Clark baru ada 6 filem : Kids, Another Day In Paradise, Bully, Teenage Caveman, Ken Park and Wassup Rockers.

    Aku ada kesemuanya tapi setakat ni yg paling-paling aku enjoy adalah Bully and Kids. Storynya kuat, acting-wise mmg raw dan real dan soundtracknya hebat. Tapi ko kena tahan dgn sex scenes yg mmg real dan pelik (..especially dlm Ken Park). Itu cara Larry Clark.

    Ko belikan several copies citer 'Metal?' Ko kasi free ke kt diaorang..? hehe..

  9. Nadia said...

    deyy..aku tolong belikan ikut pesanan mereka yang berkenaan lah..hehehe..nak free pe bendanya?..

  10. sk8edge said...

    Saw the trailer..baru je launch citer ni dah ada DVD ke kat Malaysia..i thught some kids told me leh download kat torrents...u beli kat mana en Eddvadder?

    Chicanos South Central punk rock skaters thrashin' the rich area..yehaa..

  11. Nadia said...

    boy sk8edge,
    carik je kat sg.wang..tapi tu le.nak beli kat sinun skang, dah mcm nak beli drugs. haha..

    p/s: hehe..sorry edd, aku tolong jwbkan soalan boy..;-)

    p/s lagi: aku nak review sgt 'metal...' tu, tapi skang ni modem kat umah aku tu mcm tak nak bekerjasama ngan aku...huwaaaaa!!..anyway, hopefully sometimes this week. tungguuuuu...

  12. Anonymous said...

    fuh, nasib baik tak beli..im a big fan of larry clark too..i love bully, sebab dulu kecik2 i selalu kena buli!:p


  13. Edd Vedder said...

    mr sk8edge,
    welkam..! Anyway citer ni aku beli kt City Square. CS ada good collection of music CD and DVD. Bleh la gi ushar situ plak. Sg Wang sekarang dah panas. Mcm Nadia ckp, nk beli DVD kt Sg Wang dh mcm nak beli dadah. Pilih 'dadah' yg ko nak, bayar, pastu tunggu 15 minit baru dia bagi 'dadah' kat ko. Dlm masa 15 minit tu kalau dia hilang, burn la duit ko. Tak sanggup aku..!

    tima kasih tlg jawabkan. hehe. Anyway I'll be waitin..

    Kalau ko betul minat Larry Clark, aku rasa ko kena ada citer Wassup Rockers ni. So bila org tanya "..ko ada tak citer Larry Clark yg paling hampas?". Ko bleh jawab "Ada". hehe..

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