the chumscrubber

dr. bill stiffle: how do you feel about the suicide of your best friend in the world?
dean stiffle: [pause] real shitty.

- the chumscrubber

now here's an interesting little movie. the chumscrubber is about underappreciated teens, some of whom are pumped full of pharmesuticals in order to bring "balance" to their lives. both the teens and their parents are stuck in this suburban lifestyle that seems to suck the life out of them, leaving everyone in this constant state of zombification. the result is kids with nothing better to do than get high and get into trouble, and parents who parade around in their own self importance, as if their lives are the only ones that matter.

the movie starts out with dean, who walks in on his friend's dead body hanging by a rope from the ceiling. his parents, of course, are concerned for his state of mind, but not necessarily for the right reasons. dean's father is a psychiatrist who basically tries to manipulate his son into a therapy session so he can have material for his next book. dean is perpetually medicated it seems, with more and more drugs all to bring balance to his life. the basic core of the movie revolves around a group of kids who kidnap another child and force dean to bring them his dead friend's stash of drugs or else they will hurt the boy.

the writing is interesting, because it sort of starts out with this very edward scissorhands-type approach, painting a real, yet surreal suburban landscape. however, the movie could have benefited from a tighter script and less subplots, with more focus on the teens. still, it's not all fluff, and the last few scenes of the movie are quite intense as the violence escalates the more the kidnappers start to realize that what they've done is real, and that they may go to jail for it. donnie darko already sort of covered a lot of this ground better, but the movie is still quite funny and entertaining.

chumscrubber, by the way, refers to a video game the teens play which involves a headless hero wandering the dark streets of suburbia hurling his decapitated head at zombies. his job, is to scrub the chum from the town which is depicted as a virtual hell on earth. a perfect metaphor for suburbia, don't you think?

here is the trailer: