The FP — movie review — SF Indie Fest 2012
Posted on February 17, 2012 by Chris Nelson
Kris and I have always been dance game fans, from Bust a Groove and Space Channel 5 through to the latest Dance Central games (though I must admit up front, from DDR onward, we’ve been enthusiast rather than advanced players), so when we heard about The FP (aka: “The DDR movie”), we were definitely intrigued.
Now, The FP has received a fair amount of hype since its first screenings at SXSW last year. In fact, the response was so huge that Drafthouse releasing snatched up the rights to release the Trost Brother’s seminal picture right then and there. But I’m guessing a few of you still don’t quite know what to expect from The FP.
In my previous article I described The FP as “something like The Warriors meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, by way of You Got Served and Dance Dance Revolution.”, and in some ways that’s true (The Warriors‘ own James Remar serves as the film’s narrator). But The FP‘s a bit more like 80′s white-boy martial arts flicks, like Karate Kid and No Retreat, No Surrender, filtered through Footloose and West Side Story, but with the satiric sensibilities of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy.
The ‘FP’ of the title refers to Frazier Park, an unincorporated mountain town in Kern County, CA. It’s the turf fought over by two rival gangs, the noble 248 from the north, and the dastardly 245 from the south, by way of winner-take-all endurance matches of Beat Beat Revolution. At the film’s opening, one such decisive match match is going down, with the 248′s JTRO (co writer/director Jason Trost) and BTRO (Brandon Barrera) facing off against 245 leader L dubba E (Lee Valmassy) and henchman Sugga Nigga (Bryan Goddard). But when BTRO dies mid-match from exhaustion, the 248′s claim is ceded to the 245, and JTRO is forced to leave town.
Things turn terrible for the town of Frazier Park. L dubba E outlaws booze, driving FP residents to meth, and homeless people to leave town. And without the homeless, no one’s left to take care of the ducks. And with no ducks….well, all is pretty much lost. As 248 supporter KCDC (Art Hsu, Crank 2) puts it, “It’s the end of days out there [...] How’s a nigga supposed to sort his shit out without no ducks?”. It’s up to JTRO to return, step up to the platform, and seize The FP once and for all.
In the world of The FP characters speak entirely in bizarrely poetic vulgarities, the kind of which you find in low rent youtube shock-rap acts. They posture each-other like old WWF wrestlers (think Ultimate Warrior), equipped with neon headbands and puffy snow boots. They train like Rocky on steroids. It’s gleefully over the top and knowingly stupid, poking fun at both current and past pop culture phenomena, while forecasting future stupidity down the line. But unlike the aforementioned Idiocracy, its satire rarely tires. Even in places where the narrative slows, the film’s authentic midnight movie vibe is alive and well, never patronizing, totally entertaining.
And in spite its subject matter, The FP is a really solidly made film. Bros Jason and Brandon squeeze every bit out of their estimated $1mil budget to make this look like a legit Hollywood production. The cinematography is on point, set design is detailed and fun to look at, costumes are intriguing mix of retro-futuristic thrift store finds. It just looks cool from start to finish. And the acting on the part of the supporting cast is completely hilarious. Art Hsu and Lee Valmassy had Kris and I rolling in the aisles. And then there was the surprise cameos by Clifton Collins Jr, as a drug dealer in a rainbow afro, and Cabin Fever‘s James DeBello as another 245 henchman (We kept recalling his CF scene with the squirrels). It’s just a whole lot of fun.
But I’ve gone on way too long here. You really must see The FP for yourself. In fact, you owe it to yourself. In the current realm of corporate manufactured grindhouse and cult entertainments, it’s nice to know The Trost Brothers are making legit midnight entertainments on their own. Hats off to you guys.
Be sure to check out The FP tonight, February 17th at The SF Indie Fest 2012. The film screens at The Roxie Theater at 7:15pm. For more info, and to buy your tickets, head on over to the SF Indie website.