There's a special kind of ambition in a great slacker movie. The dark, weird and hilarious "Buzzard" is definitely a great slacker movie.
There’s a special kind of ambition in a great slacker movie. The dark, weird and hilarious “Buzzard” is definitely a great slacker movie.
First, let me admit the collage of culture and influences here are right down my alley (read on for some comparison points), but if deadpan humor, deliberately long shots and a soundtrack of horror metal intrigues you as much as me, don’t miss “Buzzard.”
Marty Jackitansky (Joshua Burge) lives in Michigan and is the very embodiment of IDGAF. He works as a temp at a bank, but that’s mostly just to set up a series of small cons that seem to be as much for his own amusement as for the (tiny) profits. You may not think it’s worth closing and reopening a checking account every six months to get a $50 “new account” bonus. Marty does.
Marty has a contentious but convenient friendship with Derek (Joel Potrykus), a balding low-level bank employee who thinks his calculated indifference comes off as cool and brags about working on his sweet Party Zone — which happens to be in his parents’ basement.
The plot — and I use the term very loosely — is as meandering as the main character, but I will tell you that it involves a modified Nintendo Power Glove (Sick, dude!) and a whole range of tones. You don’t often see a movie that’s this silly and this dark.
Writer-director Joel Potrykus — who co-stars as Derek — completes his loose Animal Trilogy with “Buzzard,” and he and his star Burge really create something special here.
The early vibe you’ll get from “Buzzard” is probably along the expected lines of workplace comedies that don’t buy into the capitalist nonsense that hard work automatically pays off. There’s certainly some “Office Space” and “Clerks” in there.
Then there’s the dynamic between Marty and Derek, which reminds me a little of “Napoleon Dynamite” (the first part, before it gets old) and a lot of Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank from the amazing documentary “American Movie.”
But before you go in expecting a zany comedy, know that things take a dark (and darkly satiric) turn late in the movie. Oh, and I was also reminded of Harmony Korine’s “Gummo” — “Buzzard” has the most wonderfully weird spaghetti-eating scene.
If you perked up at that combination of references, I don’t need to tell you to see “Buzzard.”
Photo credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories