According to my calculations, it’s been almost three weeks since my last review. Holy shit! That’s a long time! Hopefully I remember what I’m doing. The first I knew of this movie was seeing a poster for it where I worked, and having someone else tell me that the guy who had made it was an employee for that movie theater chain. I guess I thought that was pretty cool, but that didn’t mean the movie would be good or anything. I had then heard someone talk about it on a podcast, saying it was one of their favorite movies of 2011. Another podcast reference was when the writer/director/star Evan Glodell appeared on the podcast Doug Loves Movies and was made fun of for the website for the movie. I had heard how low the budget was for this movie, around $17,000, and thought it was cool that a guy who worked at a theater could pull that much money together. I found out later that Mr. Glodell hadn’t worked for the company I worked for, so someone was lying to me. Either way, I found this to be quite a good film, and I am going to spoil things for you. That means you should see it and come back to me!
This is a real, working flamethrower, just in case you were wondering. Awesome.
Best friends Woodrow (Glodell) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) are two dudes who just like to hang out and build their own flamethrowers while also building a post-apocalyptic car named “Mother Medusa“. Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman) and the two have one of those romances where their first dates is a multiple day and state spanning roadtrip. Clearly they love each other, and that’s great for them. That is, of course, until Woodrow walks in on Milly having sex with her roommate. WOODROW DOES NOT LIKE THIS. His life starts a downward spiral of setting Milly’s belongings on fire, having people confront him on her behalf, Woodrow starting a relationship with Milly’s best friend, and Aiden just kind of exists in the middle of all of this madness. The revenge escalates to the point of Milly knocking out Woodrow and having someone tattoo his face, her best friend kills herself in an attempt to get Woodrow’s attention, and everything just getting bonkers. The movie then cuts to Woodrow on a couch, staring at Milly’s belongings, and we realize that most of what we just saw was his revenge fantasy. Sure, Woodrow burns some of her stuff, but he realizes there are more important things in life, like getting into a car with his best friend Aiden and driving through the desert for the rest of their lives in the badass Mother Medusa.
Woodrow was pretty upset with his new face tattoos, but I think mustache tattoos will be a new trend.
I really enjoyed this movie as I was watching it, even when everything was starting to get insane and out of control. I felt really cheated when I learned that most of what I had just seen, which I think is at least a full thirty minutes of the movie, was completely fake. Other movies have done this kind of thing and leave a bad enough taste in my mouth to regret watching any of it. This wasn’t the case with Bellflower, as even though I was disappointed at the trick that was played on me, I was happy to see that these characters that I enjoyed had slightly better futures than what had been portrayed on film. I think that’s the biggest selling point of the film, which is just how much you enjoy the characters that you hate seeing them turn out this way. We all know people like Woodrow and we all know people like Aiden, and even though characters similar to these have been seen before, Glodell was able to show a new take on those clichés.
This is the Mother Medusa. It’s the car that says “MEDUSA” on the side, in case you don’t see what I’m talking about.
I think the most frustrating thing about this movie is how hard it is to recommend to other people. I don’t mean that I don’t want other people to see it, because I do, because I really enjoyed it. The problem is trying to describe to people what the fuck it’s about. At its core, this movie was able to manifest the intense emotions of betrayal that you could experience when you’re in a situation like Woodrow’s. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important in life when you go through something like that, and it feels like it could be the end of the world. Rather than show a metaphorical end of the world, Bellflower questioned whether or not an apocalypse really would be worth going through to forget about one person. It’s really not all that much different from a movie like (500) Days of Summer, but rather than using indie music and pretty people to tell that story, Bellflower uses flamethrowers and Mad Max. It should also be noted that the relationship between Woodrow and Aiden really helps to sell the movie and really helps to remind the viewer that nothing really is more important than hanging out with your best friend and pursuing all that which is awesome. If you like romantic comedies, stories about the apocalypse, and daydream about the end of the world, then Bellflower is a movie worth checking out.
Wolfman Moon Scale