The FP Midnight Movie Review
By Bret Dorman
Enter Greece Odyssey, my high school. My senior year we didn’t have a senior lounge. The seniors before us made sure to ruin that awesome privilege for our class. We didn’t have a senior trip due to lack of funds (I think also because of the IB program which took our money? I can’t remember but I know I was supposed to not like the IB program for some reason). Our school was a small school, a school of choice, and was the first to have block scheduling and this silly IB thing. Our graduating class had 107 people in it. What our senior class was allowed to do though, was leave school if we had a ‘free period’. And lucky for me I had one day due to a mix up/change up where 3 out of my 4 blocks were free periods. I got to sleep in late, and leave extra early. Awesome.
My other friends weren’t AS lucky as me, but their free periods coincided with mine, so every four days we would leave school and go have lunch at the mall close by. It was during the day time so the only people there were the old people doing their power walks and moms pushing their strollers around aimlessly killing some time. I was never big into arcades growing up, I liked them as much as the average kid gamer, but always preferred my SNES to any arcade game. This was the time when arcades were on their last leg. Right before XBOX 360 and PS3. Video games were getting desperate, they needed a gimmick that could only be offered at an arcade. Enter Dance Dance Revolution. A game all my friends were awesome at but I could never get the hang of. I am more of a visual person. I played by watching the arrows and trying to time them out, not by feeling the music and dancing to the beat. DDR was not for me and I didn’t mind. I knew one day I would get a shot to really enjoy it my own way…
Enter The FP, a movie that takes a silly gang war and infuses a DDR-esque game (not DDR for money/copyrights reasons though) and offers a silly take on formulaic action movies. Now I get to enjoy the thrill of the 4 (or 6) squared dance like everyone else. Huzzah!The Story: JTRO (an eye-patched Jason Trost) has left the gang inhabited Frazier Park due to a traumatizing incident. What can bring him back? Loyalty to his friend KC-DC (an energetic Art Hsu), Love for would be girlfriend Stacey (a very white-trashy Caitlyn Folley), and desire to get revenge on his enemy L Dubba E (Lee Valmassey). But they don’t fight like normal gangs… they take their beef to the Beat-Beat-Revolution arena, where the best dancer wins! Also, where did all the ducks go?
If you’re asking yourself why do I want to watch a BBR movie you’ve got the wrong idea. There is actually little BBR-ing in this movie. 3 dance scenes with 2 training montages. And the dance scenes themselves are very short and to the point. It would have been nice to see a more exciting way to bring the dancing into the cinematic world, but in the end its just two dudes stomping their feet around. But not only is it funny these tough gangsta-wannabes settle their differences through a silly arcade game, the game itself is fun as well. It harasses players for doing poorly and encourages ones doing well. Its declaration of Chump Vs Champ is as tense as it is funny. And the different ‘modes’ are unnecessarily ridiculous. The FP isn’t a spoof of dance movies, its a spoof on action/revenge movies, you know, like Rolling Thunder, The Rock, and Drive but done through the silly Wayne’s World (“I never learned to read!”) sort of filter. All four of those being previous Music Box Midnight Movies… it makes sense this fits right in.
The plot is told through at an economic pace. We get it. Midnight Movie goers are movie lovers. We understand the language and formula. Instead of spending most of its runtime trying to explain its premise (like one of my most hated movies of last year, In Time) it spends absolutely no time justifying the BBR fighting. Why bother? The movie also exploits its ‘nothing has to make sense as long as its funny’ style in a couple of tangential plot points, one involving a liquor store, hobos, and ducks. And while the movie can go pretty out there, it works best when its in full on satirical mode, ripping stuff straight out of movies we all love and putting them directly into this ridiculous context. In the world of The FP, this stuff matters to the characters and they take it seriously. I like movies where the characters aren’t in on the joke but the film makers, actors, and audience members are. In that sense, its what makes this a tad bit different than other spoofers like South Park.The cast is terrific and everyone seems to understand what their role is. There’s never an uneasiness for such an ‘amateurish’/indie vibe. I would like to however highlight one person in particular: Art Hsu as the zealous MC KC-DC. He also starred in one of my favorites Crank 2: High Voltage as Johnny Vang. If you need a guy to deliver an absolutely insane performance this is your guy. He never stumbles. Never shows weakness. Never seams unsure of his abilities. He is confident and cinematic. I hope he gets some good roles soon because I really want to see more of what he can do. Another Crank series alumni, Clifton Collins Jr, makes a nice cameo as well.
Everything about this movie is spot on. Co-writers/co-directors Brandon Trost and Jason should get some good street cred from this. I feel like there is an actual good legit action movie somewhere in this film, but in order to meet their budget and audience they goofed it up a bit to make it more enjoyable. An action movie on a low budget is generally pretty bad, but here they’ve got the silliness of the BBR to fall back on and it provides a great safety net.
Why You Must See It At Midnight: The FP is in limited release after its SXSW premiere. Its only playing at Music Box at Midnight. If this seems at all a bit interesting to you I suggest trying to make one of these shows. Because watching it some rainy day on Netflix Instant Stream won’t be nearly the same. Playing last week in Theatre 2 (the smaller of MBT’s theatres) to a pretty good size crowd, I can vouch for the infectious laughter.
Going to arcades to play games might be a relic of the past, but going to Midnight Movies Friday and/or Saturday at Music Box Theatre will never go out of style.