Last year, the Clinton Street Theater hosted a weekend-long showcase of promising filmmakers. If you weren't lucky enough to get to any of the screenings, then you missed some films that were actually good. Among the more entertaining was Canadian filmmaker Ross Munro's Brewster McGee.
Brent Neale stars as the foulmouthed title character, who plans on getting rich from coining the phrase "son of a fuck" and living off the royalties. Brewster is a slightly off-his-rocker loser who spends most of his time camped out in his car at the parking lot of the local Chicken Hut, philosophizing with his best friend, Malcolm (Reid Edwards). Meanwhile, inside Chicken Hut, assistant manager Oliver (Don Ackerman) is still reeling from the recent breakup with the love of his life, while at the same time trying to unravel the mystery of the disappearing toilet paper. Brewster sees in Oliver a kindred spirit and vows to befriend the lovesick fast-food worker. But being friends with Brewster is not as simple as it seems, as the freaky parking-lot philosopher expects unconditional loyalty from his friends-even though his only other friend is the equally odd Malcolm. When Oliver fails to join Brewster and Malcolm for an evening of hanging out in the car, Brewster takes it as a personal attack and plots his demented form of revenge.
Brewster McGee is the sort of dark comedy that will appeal to cynical audiences that enjoy other people's misery and foibles. Munro seems to have been influenced by Kevin Smith's Clerks, but this is not some Smith ripoff. Munro has style and vision that, while being rough around the edges, are clearly his own. Shot in grainy black-and-white with a limited number of takes, the low-budget trappings and minimalist aesthetic of Munro's work seem quaint and antiquated given the vast possibilities digital video now provides, but his film is not without its strong points.
Munro is currently self-distributing Brewster McGee. For more information, go to www.filmmakerrossmunro.com.
If you've never seen the all-time classic of gut-churning, lowbrow B-movie schlock entertainment, then there's no better time than now. Celebrating the 21st anniversary of The Toxic Avenger, the good folks at Troma Entertainment have released a special edition that ranks as a "must-have." The double disc is loaded with bonus features, including an all-new audio commentary by co-director Lloyd Kaufman. And if you missed the live-action stage musical Toxic Avenger: The Musi-kill, which was produced and performed here in Portland, the disc features highlights from that show as well.