Review: The FP
8:00 AM on 03.15.2012 // Alex Katz
The final shot of The FP is the world's most romantic blowjob.
Yep. This movie is ten tons of crazy and ten tons of awesome. That's twenty tons of the most ridiculous, most quotable movie I've seen in a long time. It may be the first film to successfully intentionally reach the lofty heights of "so bad it's good." It's The Warriors on bad brown acid with a massive helping of absurdist humor.
Directors: Jason and Brandon Trost
Release Date: March 16th (limited, click here for US locations)
In the beleaguered neighborhood of Frazier Park, the rival gangs of the 245 and the 248 are in constant battle for control of the FP. Their preferred method of battle? Beat Beat Revelation, a Dance Dance Revolution-esque dancing arcade game. When JTRO's (Jason Trost) brother BTRO (Brandon Barerra) dies in a Beat-Off(that is seriously what they call it!) with the head of the 245 L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy), JTRO vows never to play Beat Beat again and leaves the FP. One year later, the 245 have taken complete control of the FP after acquiring the local liquor store, thus controlling the flow of booze (I cannot make this shit up!), and JTRO must return to the FP to set everything right with the power of his Beat Beat skills.
Everything about The FP, from the set design to the costumes to the dialogue, feels like the 1980s got trapped in a time loop and just kept continuing for thirty more years. Everything's weird baggy jackets and headbands. The design alone for each character is often hilarious. We've got Confederate solider hats, men carrying classic ghetto blasters, goddamned moon boots. Moon boots! Even the plot is the sort of basic stock sports movie story; the little guy, eternally knocked down a peg or two, finally trains up to beat the Big Bad. It's unoriginal, but it doesn't need to be original, because it's making up for it in almost every other way.
The humor comes from a series of intensely absurdist concepts and approaches to other similar sorts of stories. I mentioned that L Dubba E manages to seize control of the FP through control of the liquor store. What I didn't mention was Beat Beat master of ceremonies/friend to the 245 JCDC (an uber-hyperactive Art Hsu) explaining his line of reasoning that, without booze, people turn to drugs and become homeless, then leaving town once there's no more drugs to find. And, without the homeless, there's no more people left to feed the ducks, and, in his own words, "What's a fuckin' town without ducks?!" This weird humor permeates the entire film, from Beat Beat guru BLT's (Nick Principe) acronym of wisdom that spells "nigga" to the relentlessly weird and faux-white-boy-talking-jive patois every character speaks in.
The cast are clearly having a good deal of fun with their ridiculous material, and it makes for some very exciting performances, even if the material on the page isn't exactly Oscar-worthy. It's one of those lovely occasions where you take poor material and elevate it by understanding exactly why it's poor. We've got the stoic, classically-eighties hero in JTRO, L Dubba E as just the worst human being imaginable, the bizarrely-slutty love interest Stacy (Caitlyn Folley), and even more strange fellows in the background. Hell, Clifton Collins Jr. shows up in a rainbow wig to offer JTRO some Black Dick.
There's also some fun kinectic camera work going on here, expected as co-director Brandon Trost does cinematography for Neveldine/Taylor joints Crank 2: High Voltage and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengenace. It's clear to me that there's a definite attempt to merge that sort of super-high octane work with the sort of thing you'd see in The Warriors. It's not entirely successful, as the film's cinematography skews towards the mundane more than the crazy, but as a first feature, it's exciting. It makes me that much more excited for Vs, Jason Trost's upcoming indie superhero movie that has Uncle Sam with a fucking flamethrower.
The FP is a midnight movie for the ages. It's ballsy, weird as hell, and flat-out hilarious. You're not coming for the standard plot or the shaky characterization. You're coming to watch some truly weird, wild shit, and you're going to have a ball with this one.
Jenika Katz: Of every post-apocalyptic dance-battling white gangster raver film out there, The FP is the best by far. Every movie in the so-bad-it's-good category seems to have come about by mistake, and attempts to recreate the effect always feel too forced. I feared that the same would be true of The FP, and I've never been so happy to be wrong. The script is absolutely ridiculous and somehow manages to remain funny instead of grating on the nerves, and though the dialogue is sometimes harder to understand than Attack the Block, that's mostly due to how hard it is to stop laughing. The actors all give solid performances, delivering their lines seriously and only hamming it up when the situation really calls for it. Despite an obviously low budget, the sets are incredibly detailed and well thought-out. The story occasionally jumps around a bit, but the details aren't terribly important. I can't wait to own this movie. 86 - Exceptional.
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THE VERDICT: 89/100
The FP - Reviewed by Alex Katz
Exceptional. One of the best films of the year. You should see it immediately.
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