Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The FP

Directed by Brandon Trost and Jason Trost.
2011. Rated R, 83 minutes.
Jason Trost
Lee Valmassy
Caitlyn Folley
Art Hsu
Clifton Collins Jr.
Nick Principle
Dov Tiefenbach
James Debello
Bryan Goddard
Brandon Berrera
Rachel Robinson
Natalie Minx

My wife and I work hard every day, but we aren't rich people. Like lots of working folks, we try to go somewhere to get away once or twice a year. When we do, we go to not-rich-people vacation spots. Her Our favorite is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It's only a two and a half hour drive away with lots of reasonably priced hotels, activities, and attractions. I swear I was not paid to write this. However, I do have a point in sharing. While there, we usually stop in one of the arcades along the main strip right behind the actual beach. One year, I don't know how many years ago, we did this and saw a crowd gathered around a gigantic machine with a screen filled with flashing lights, a dancing avatar, and scrolling arrows pointed in varying directions. The machine was blaring techno music, but I also heard something else. Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. Naturally, we walked over to see what was going on and saw some dude standing atop a makeshift dance floor with four arrows on it, one pointing in each direction. He was trying to step on the one corresponding to the lit arrow on the screen. As it went along, the arrows and his stomping got progressively faster. When I managed to look up at the name of this game I saw that it was "Dance Dance Revolution," or "DDR" as the cool kids say. 'Hmph," I thought, 'doesn't look anything like dancing.' Then I moved on to play "Ms. Pac Man." I'm old school like that. I remember visiting my dad as a kid and being all excited because he had just bought Pong. I was even more excited a year or so later when he bought an Atari 2600. How could I not be? It came with a cartridge called "Combat" which had 28 games on it!

What does any of this have to do with movies? Nothing, I thought, until about a year ago when I read this review over on Two Dollar Cinema. If you've looked around my site a bit, you might know that I'm a purveyor of the beautifully rotten. Therefore, I just had to see this movie. I know, way to spoil my own review, but I can no longer contain myself. Let's just get to it. About time, right?

Our saga begins at some unspecified point in a desolate future in a 'hood called Frazier Park, or the FP as the cool kids call it. We're told that two rival gangs, the 245 and the 248, are batttling for control of the city. That's 'two four five' and 'two four eight,' if you were wondering. Sounds pretty standard so far. We join the action in some dingy club that makes the haunts in 8 Mile look like Gatsby's estate. The leaders of the two gangs, L Dubba E (Valmassy) of the 245 and B-TRO (Berrera) of the 248, are getting all amped up in preparation for a decisive battle. Are we about to witness a firefight with futuristic guns? No. An old-fashioned rumble with all sorts of heinous looking cutlery? Hardly. A bare-knuckle throwdown? Nope. Our boys are about to have a dance battle! Like break-dancing? Not quite. Like they do in all those Step Up movies? Not exactly. Control of the FP is to be decided by a fierce game of "Dance Dance Revolution!" Ahem...sorry 'bout that. The film makers, if we can call them that, were obviously unable to get permission to use that title, if they even bothered trying. So, let's try it again. The fate of the FP is to be decided by a fierce game of "Beat Beat Revelation!" Seriously. Or, "For reals," as they say in the FP. And I don't recall anyone calling it "BBR." There are no cool kids in the FP. For reals.

Anyhoo, things get so intense that B-TRO just drops dead during the battle, thus the 245 takeover. The movie gets so much better or worse from there, depending on whether or not you share my warped sensibilities. What 'from there' covers is the story of B-TRO's little brother J-TRO (Jason Trost). He's so distraught over his brother's death he leaves the 248 and gets a regular gig. He's found by the always overly excited and extra hard-core talkin' KCDC (Hsu) and put under the tutelage of new 248 leader BLT (Principle). Best I can tell, BLT has nothing to do with a delicious sandwich, but is kind of a ghettofied Mr. Miyagi. J-TRO trains rigorously for a "BBR" showdown with L Dubba E. I wish I was making this up.

The first thing that grabs us by the throat is all the faux-hip hop slang thrown around to go with all the ultra silly names. It sounds so ridiculously forced and affected it's clear none of these people ever used any of these words in real life. They're just mimicking what they've seen on TV, in movies, and online. You just have to laugh. Adding to the hilarity is the costuming. The wardrobe in any movie is supposed to look like the natural attire of the people in the movie. Here, we get a hodge-podge of late 1980s, early 1990s, and imagined futuristic urban fashion that, when combined with the slang from the late 90s and early 00s, makes it feel like we're watching a bunch of people play dress up. Imagine a bunch of white, suburban twenty-somethings, with a few Asians sprinkled in, be-bopping around, pretending to be their favorite characters from Menace II Society and Boyz N the Hood. I don't care what you say, that's both damn sad and damn hilarious. Then there's that one girl (Minx) who escapes the same fate by just refusing to wear a top. Or, someone refusing to put one on her. She pops up every so often and is literally just standing around with her boobs out. Gratuitously gratuitous is a good way to describe her entire existence.

Immediately after watching The FP, I just had to look it up on both imdb.com and rottentomatoes.com. I was instantly struck by the higher-than-expected scores. 5.5 and 48%, respectively. What? I mean, I know how I feel about it, but that's way too many people liking it unironically. This is especially true in light of the next thing I noticed. This is classified as a comedy. Um...okay. True, I did laugh watching it. Hell, I laughed all the way through it. I'm just not so sure I laughed at anything I was supposed to. If I did, that means the whole bloody things is flat out brilliant. Since I couldn't figure this out on my own, it would also mean that the Trost brothers, and everyone else involved in bringing this thing to life, are smarter than I is. Get the joke, don't correct me. I just refuse to believe this could even possibly be the case. So, my story, and I'm sticking to it, is that this is another type of movie that's near and dear to my heart. It's one that's so bad, it's awesome!!!

Other Movies So Bad They're Awesome!!!


  1. I'm back to comment....again.

    I'm so glad you dove into this one, even if it really is one of the more bizarre 'films' I've ever experienced. It's just so f--king out there, you know? I mean, the premise is sooo absurd, but it's played with an unflinching level of earnestness that is just baffling.

    Man...the dialogue, though? AMAZING.

    1. I had a ball watching this for just the reasons you cite. The fact these guys deliver that dialogue with a straight face miht be Oscar worthy.