It started with a podcast.
Now, I should say, I have long been a fan of Kevin Smith. Not like a super crazy fan, but he makes me laugh, I like his movies, I loved Red State because it was nothing like the comedic Jay & Silent Bob flicks he's put out in the past. I religiously listen to Hollywood Babylon where he makes fun of celebrities and movies, I used to listen to his original Smodcast but I lost touch with it a few years ago.
Story is, about a year ago, on Smodcast, Kevin read a twitter listing for an apartment rental where a free room would be given to any tenant who would agree to, on occasion, dress up like a walrus. In that one hour podcast, this harmless tweet turned into an idea that Kevin realized needed to be made into a movie...specifically, a horror movie.
This 102 minute flick follows the adventures of Wallace (Justin Long, you know him from countless movies or as the Mac guy in Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign), who is a podcaster with his partner, Teddy (played by a grown up Haley Joel Osment, the "I see dead people" kid). Wallace heads to Canada to find his potential podcast interview is no longer available. He happens, by chance, to find a letter on a men's room wall from Howard Howe (played by Michael Parks) stating he has a free room available in his home and many stories to tell.
Let me stop and say that Michael Parks is such a treasure. I remember seeing him back in 1996. He opened the movie From Dusk Till Dawn with a fantastic scene at the gas station. His screen presence and voice mesmerized me then as it still does today. You can't not watch this man. He grabs your gaze and you just start to wonder what is he gonna do next? He thrives on subtlety as equally as over the top acting. Fast forward to 2011 and his role as a pastor in middle America hellbent on being judge, jury and literally executioner to the sinners of the world. I've seen Red State more than a few times and every time I watch it, I wonder how Parks got snubbed for awards. He just seems to be one of the most interesting men in the world.
So...Tusk. Michael Parks plays, very poetically, a lunatic. He drugs, disfigures and transforms Wallace into his very own Walrus. All I can say about the getup Justin Long works in for the second half of the movie? One word. Gross. Think: Human Centipede, sort of.
We find out through a series of flashbacks that Wallace is maybe not the nicest person in the world. Okay, he's sort of a douche. His friend, Teddy, knows it and his girlfriend has her suspicions. So while it's a movie about physical transformation, it's also a movie about the transformation of Wallace's soul.
This isn't a movie that will win any awards (although, again, Parks deserve a little something), but Kevin has said in his podcasts that he didn't do it for the awards or accolades. He did it, because no one else out there has done anything like it. Sure, there are a few nods to other horror flicks, even a few easter eggs scattered throughout the movie (Al Pacino/Hollywood Babylon theme song as Wallace's ringtone) and some cameos (Kev's wife and daughter are in it)
The bigger message that comes from this movie is...do something different. It doesn't have to be the greatest thing anyone has ever done, and it's worse to regret not doing something you've always wanted to do. Kevin wanted to make a movie that he and his friends would want to see because no one else out there was making it. Your audience will find you, he says.
Oh and before I forget...Guy Lapointe. It took me a full five minutes before I realized who this actor was...Guy Lapointe as played by Guy Lapointe?? It's Johnny Depp. He stole the freakin' movie.
Four out of five stars...and seriously people, check out the following KS movies and you won't be disappointed: Chasing Amy, Dogma, Zack & Miri Make a Porno, Red State.