Take This Waltz. Please. by Sarah Brinks
If I didn’t feel a sense of loyalty to David, Tyler and Battleship Pretension my review of Wild Girl Waltz would have been seven words long: I saw this movie; you should not.
I don’t want to disparage independent film in any way. What I can not get on board with is bad writing, worse acting, and terrible film making being passed off as legitimate film. I watched the blu-ray version of this and at the best of times it looked like a home movie. There wasn’t a single believable actor in the film. I am not exaggerating when I say that every line sounded like an audition line-reading.
The film is about two girls who take pills and trip for a while. Angie is a dull, homely girl who does seem to have any luck at all. Tara is her bitchy, sarcastic friend who might just be friends with Angie so she has someone around that makes her feel better about her crappy life. Brian is Tara’s boyfriend and Angie’s brother. Brian is a doughy, misogynist who has to keep his eye on the girls as they are high. To me this film proves that you have to have at least one character in your film that the audience can at least like or route for. No one in this film is likeable or interesting, except maybe a turtle that they find in the park and look at for a few minutes.
The film has a similar opening to The Shining where it is just someone driving around rural somewhere America. However in execution this film is much more similar to another movie that starts with an unnecessarily long driving sequence Birdemic: Shock and Terror. So I decided to play a game to at least make watching the film interesting to me. I started timing the pointless filler nonsense they put in the film to pad it out to a fortunately short 82 minutes. This is how it broke out:
- 4+ minute long credit/driving sequence (The movie has about 12 people in it total, a 4 minute credit sequence is not only indulgent but boring)
- 1 minute of a random man chopping wood
- 4+ minutes of the two girls just sitting on their deck waiting for the pills to kick in
- 1:30 of another driving sequence
- 1:15 listening to two terrible actors argue over their imaginary high school changing their mascots from the Redskins to something else
- 2:30 of the three of them wandering around a park where they couldn’t even keep regular people in the park from getting in their shot
=about 15 minutes of the 82 minute film are a complete waste of time that do not serve to move the plot forward at all.
Wild Girl Waltz asks the question: How fun is it to watch other people get high. The answer is not much at all. Other films like Trainspotting, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Pulp Fiction while often disturbing are at least interesting. In this film you are stuck watching three bad actors wander aimless through a nowhere town. The misogyny in the film is a real issue. The opening the film is two “dudes” driving along and they see Angie walking down the street. The first line in the film is Dude 2 saying to Dude 1 “Check out this bitch” he then throws a strawberry milk shake in her face and shouts “Have a drink you whore” then they drive away. All the men in this film seem to think that swearing and hitting things equals masculinity. There is even a scene in this movie where doughy Brian punches a woman in the face. Yes, he runs up and punches her in the face then spends the next several minutes justifying his actions by claiming that if women really want gender equality then men should be able to just punch them in the face. He’s not a wife-beater so punching other women is OK.
It is not OK to punch anyone in the face unless your life is at risk.
I don’t want to say that this film has nothing going for it. There are two moments in the film between Tara and Brian when they seem like a real couple and are genuinely sweet. You can also tell that someone cared about this project and did try to make it the best it could be, unfortunately they failed.
The only film I could think of to genuinely compare to this movie, besides film school projects, was a terrible film from 2001 called Harvard Man. If you were as unfortunate as I was and caught this on cable then you know what a train wreck it is. At least in Harvard Man they show you what he is seeing on his trip so you understand why he is acting like a lunatic. I do not recommend Wild Girl Waltz to anyone.