Written & Directed by Michael Malone
Starring Ken Garr, Michael Malone, Tiffany Van Goey, Ricarlo Flannagan
Short Film Review by Chris Olson
Combining middle-age crisis with Halloween, short film Smashing Pumpkins is a crude and uninspired take on blokes growing old, and their desperate attempts to recapture their golden days.
One’s a boring married man called Dave (Ken Garr) and the other’s a misogynistic hell-raiser called Adam (Michael Malone - who also writes and directs here), combined they are two old friends spending Halloween sipping suds and reminiscing about how crazy they were during their teenage years. Dave is regularly remonstrated by Adam for being so quick to enjoy the settled down life, attacking his domestic bliss with anecdotes about oral sex and sleeping with 22-year-olds. After some local teenagers smash a pumpkin outside Dave’s house, though, our hopeless heroes go on a cruise around the neighbourhood looking to relight their youthful antics in any way they can.
Relying on a script full of vulgar dialogue, Smashing Pumpkins suffers from being all trick and no treat. The two central characters are not compelling or emotionally engaging, in particular Adam who spouts line after line of smutty “man” talk when he’s not barking at women like an aroused dog. It seems ironic that the so-called pathetic nature of Dave’s domestic life, which gets contrasted against Adam’s wayward lewdness, would parallel the childish antics of these filmmakers who really should know better. Unfortunately, Dave as a character is so boringly unconvincing that he spends large quantities of the short talking about how pleased he actually is with his role as an adult and a father, before being quickly tempted into tasteless shenanigans with his childhood pal that involve looking for teenagers to scare with a baseball bat and lighting up a joint whilst driving. The whole dynamic is completely unconvincing.
The snappy editing and quick pace to the film was well executed, and the use of slow-motion in a latter section of the film was visually engaging. It would have been nice if the earlier parts of the film were a little more adventurous, especially during the lengthy times of the guys sitting on the sofa chatting, but I realise there may have been budget restraints.
It reminded me of films like The Hangover and I Love You, Man, but this is nowhere near as intelligent, which is saying something.
Instead it's like the viewer is slapped around the face with a willy, which apparently we asked for.
Overall it’s like someone decided to make a film after having a few too many beers with his buddy..about someone having too many beers with his buddy.