DVD Review: BASS ACKWARDS
DVD Rating: 4/5
This review will cover the DVD of BASS ACKWARDS and its features. To read the full theatrical review, you can read Don’s thoughts HERE.
Summer's here, and with it comes the DVD release of BASS ACKWARDS, filmmaker Linas Phillips' Sundance road-trip movie, just in time for those of us who are itching to get out on the open road, but just can't. The film begins following the character Linas who is slightly inconveniencing his married friends by sleeping on their office floor. He's lost, as a person, and things don't get any better for him when he is asked to move out just as his seemingly budding romance with a married woman begins to fall apart. He takes a room on an alpaca farm where he makes no money, but connects with the farmer, and becomes inspired to go back home to New York. The farmer gives Linas a VW shorty, and he begins his slow and oddly eventful journey cross country.
The trip footage is authentic, and some of the scenes even include locals from wherever they might be, making this film feel really personal. Along the way, Linas picks up (without knowing it) a fellow journeyman, the odd-but brilliant-Jim, a man who doesn't talk much about much, but says a lot. Somehow Linas' social awkwardness balances with Jim's directness, and the two set off together. While this story sometimes seems to lull, it seems to be a result of Phillips' desire to create a film that reflects life. Where you can go from nothing happening, to wonder just what is happening, and why, and luckily, being out on the road provides plenty of opportunities to capture just that. Linas continues his journey, and has plenty of other experiences along the way, but considering this movie is about those experiences, and not one central idea, it's worth watching to get the whole story.
BASS ACKWARDS is thoughtful and endearing, and even those who are deterred by slower moving stories should be able to get through it by finding the gems that are scattered throughout the film in characters and situations that are just hard not to like. Linas is not just on a quest to get from point A to point B, but also to figure out what he's doing with his life, what he should be doing, what's worth doing? He meets a character that fights with loved ones but cares deeply about his children, he meets a man who lost so much that meant to him, and saw how he was able to deal with it, and he meets a family who seemed to almost need him, but along the way, he's finding himself. As the song goes, "It's a life story, so there's no climax," but BASS ACKWARDS does make pretty good use of its time on film.
The DVD contains even more for those who connected with what BASS ACKWARDS is putting out there. The 21 minutes of deleted scenes and bloopers go from initially looking like nothing more than what happened before or after takes, to being full-on scenes that provide much more depth to the story and characters. Scenes like how Linas and Georgia met and an extension of the fallout from their affair really add to the story, and were done well enough to have been in the film itself, while scenes like meeting up with ex-girlfriends are more of a "what if" captured on film, and were probably better left alone.
Additionally, there is a 16 minute feature on the making of BASS ACKWARDS, which talks about the forming of the film, and the troubles it encountered through production. All of the bonus footage really comes together to show how personal this film is, with virtually every part played by someone that Linas or someone else involved with production knew or had handy, and the rest are all people met on location. Also included is full commentary with Linas, cinematographer Sean Porter, actress Davie-Blue, and film critic Michael Tully. Tully seems to play the part of moderator, making the commentary more like a long form interview that is peppered with personal bits from those involved about which places and people were memorable.
Like most commentaries, it's not always interesting, but overall, if you're interested in Seattle film, or anyone involved, it's interesting enough to check out...if you stick around long enough, you might just get to hear Phillips' Werner Herzog impression, which is almost as good as his Christopher Walken, which actually appears in the film.