WHAT in tarnation IS IT?
Crispin Glover's 2006 directorial debut, "What is It?" is being trotted out once again this year, along with the Crispin Glover Show, complete with exclusive interviews and curious media hype. Today I deliver to you a slightly more critical perspective than the review that accompanied last year's LAist interview.
I also attended last year's screening of "What is It?" and after seeing the film, I think that it has been mis-titled. "What is it?" is not quite descriptive enough. I think it should be called, "What in the Holy Fuck is Going on Here, People?" And no, that is not hyperbole.
I am cool with movies that are just a series of interesting images, or even conceptual pieces. I am OK with Bunuel, Jodorowski, and David Lynch. But I have had time to ruminate on this particular movie. And I am still left thinking, "What the fuck?"
The movie is a trip straight to Surrealville, population: the fish.
The film’s storyline, which moves between the main character’s real life and rich inner life, is kind of nebulous. One actor’s character in the credits is: The minstrel's concubine, mocking tormentor and ultimate outer sanctum. Scene after scene unfolds to assault the viewer with a variety of shock-value images, particularly a minstrel character in blackface, and a series of full-on snailicides, with one bubbling horror after another.