They've got printers in the basement you can use
June 7, 2009 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Followup-filter: Previously, we discussed the strange case of After Last Season, the strange, deadpan trailer for a film that provoked curiosity around the 'net. Hoax? Comedy? Performance art? After Last Season has just made its (4 city) premier and the first reactions are in ... posted by outlier (75 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Fuck me. I might have to fly to Austin next weekend.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:43 PM on June 7, 2009

I've been to that town but I've been through it.
posted by ALongDecember at 12:45 PM on June 7, 2009

Youtube [1] [2]
posted by juv3nal at 12:47 PM on June 7, 2009

"A large part of the movie consists of the previously mentioned computer graphics, which are brutally crude. Although these graphics fit into the story, film leans heavily on them to pad out the 93 minute running time. Thus, the parade of colored circles, cylinders, birds, and fish tends to goes on and on as if the film went on pause and a screen saver kicked in." [from the Twitch review]

Wow. How does something like this happen? Where did the money for the film ($5 million?!!) come from? Why did these theaters agree to show it? Just fascinating.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:59 PM on June 7, 2009

I hear they've got printers in the basement you can use.
posted by Glee at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2009

The theaters likely agreed to show it as part of their Cinemark contract. And Cinemark? I cannot fathom why they agreed to help distribute / show this movie. I'm dying to see it. Will this possibly turn up on Cinemax at 3am between soft-core porn offerings? I cannot see myself flying to one of the four cities in which it is showing just to end up standing in the airport parking lot debating the Parkinson's patient who turns out to be from the FBI with anyone I might wrangle to go with me...

*checks torrent sites for a pirate version*

What??? nobody has even camera-ed this for distribution? That's simply not fair!
posted by hippybear at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2009

Just going by the reviews: do you think the creators bank on an audience soo submerged in hipster irony bullshit they've lost all ability to identify and appreciate quality in anything?

(Or are the creators actually genuinely, completely, and obliviously incompetent -- rather than merely mediocre and terrified of being "exposed.")
posted by Glee at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2009

Based on the trailer, that movie did not cost $5 million... so where did the money go? $50,000 movie, $4,950,000 director's fee? Nice scam.
posted by Huck500 at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

"I cannot fathom why they agreed to help distribute / show this movie. I'm dying to see it."

I think I can fathom it.
posted by Mitheral at 1:36 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

From the Actor's post on Facebook:

To use time, and film stock efficiently, a number of times Mark didn't shoot the scene, but rather just individual lines from various scenes, out-of-sequence, in close-up. He planned to assemble these shots in editing to form the scene. Mark seemed to already have the entire film visually in his head, right down to what shots, angles, masters, and close-ups would be in a scene. Because of this he could shoot only what he knew he needed, and time and budget didn't get expended on extraneous coverage.

From the video review:

Mike -- I thought -- very astutely said that most of the movie was set in this one room and by the end of the movie he still had no idea what the geography of the room actually was... and I think that sums it up very well.

I need to see this.
posted by defenestration at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2009

Could someone paste the contents of that "Facebook entry" link? I can't see it but I'm totally curious.
posted by churl at 2:16 PM on June 7, 2009

I can't wait for the Manos: Hands of Fate reboot.
posted by cj_ at 2:29 PM on June 7, 2009

churl: "Could someone paste the contents of that "Facebook entry" link? I can't see it but I'm totally curious."
I am the lead male actor from the indie feature film "After Last Season", which will be released to a few theaters on 6/5 (details at

I've read some wild speculation about the film as I've surfed the web, I thought I'd post a little behind the scenes info about the film for those that would like to hear a little more of the reality behind the film.

By the way, as for the release, they are negotiating for additional theaters, particularly near Boston. If it does well in theaters, additional theaters may be booked in subsequent weeks.

I haven't seen the film (I plan to be in Rochester at the 7:45 & 10pm shows on Friday), so I don't know everything about it, but as the male lead, I was around for most of the shooting.

I've noticed questions about artistic intent, but those questions would be better discussed with the writer/director, Mark Region.

As Mark already explained in an interview, he shot a feature length film. It was shot on 35mm. From all I know, the trailer appears to be an accurate preview of the final product.

As for a little behind-the-scenes info on the production, this was shot in a process that seemed unique to me. I've done 20 shorts & features, as lead and supporting roles. But this was my first on film (35mm), which made things interesting. The shooting method was pretty efficient, both on time, and film stock. On video I'm used to multiple takes, and standard coverage (master and close-ups). That gets expensive on 35mm, and of course it's time-consuming, and this wasn't shot quite that way. To use time, and film stock efficiently, a number of times Mark didn't shoot the scene, but rather just individual lines from various scenes, out-of-sequence, in close-up. He planned to assemble these shots in editing to form the scene. Mark seemed to already have the entire film visually in his head, right down to what shots, angles, masters, and close-ups would be in a scene. Because of this he could shoot only what he knew he needed, and time and budget didn't get expended on extraneous coverage.

This allowed him to do things like have 1 setup, like a close-up on one actor, and he'd have them perform just line 18 from scene 80, then line 12 from scene 20, etc. With a little attention to remaining footage, this approach let him pack dialog lines into every last bit of film before retiring that reel, and without having to move the camera or lights. While I would say I prefer performing full scenes, with a partner, more often, it was a new challenge to tackle work that way and learn how to work with this approach.

Of course, this made for a little extra pressure on the actors. Mark hoped to get most of the shots in just 1 take, which he generally did. And of course you had to complete your lines before the reel ran out. All of this contributed to efficiency in using film stock. It also made for a bit more of a challenge to "keep your place" in the film. Since individual lines of a scene might be shot stand-alone over several days, and out of sequence, the actor's task was to keep getting into the context of where in the scene and the film this shot/line was going to appear.

Like any film, we had our unexpected production challenges as well. In our case, we ran into a problem with the heating, so much of the shoot was unheated. Since this was winter in northern MA it got pretty cold. Our characters wore light clothing, so shooting got pretty interesting. Now you know why you see red noses in the trailer! The troublesome part was when your lips got too stiff to speak well! But every shoot has its unique tales behind the production, and this became one of ours. Actors, and everyone on a film team, need the spirit to cheerfully tackle all challenges, including physical adversity, and we did.

I've also noticed remarks about the sets. From what I saw, I would say that in-person the set design often conveyed a stark, minimalist feel. I don't know yet what the total on-screen effect of them will be.

I hope this peek behind the scenes will be of interest to those looking to learn more about this film. If I have any additional interesting news about the film I will be publishing updates on my public Facebook page that is for fans to find news.

--Jason Kulas
posted by defenestration at 2:40 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mark Region? Did he write the script using Emacs?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:48 PM on June 7, 2009 [10 favorites]

Why do I find this movie, and the buzz about it, so incredibly uninteresting? It's such a manufactured controversy.
posted by molecicco at 3:05 PM on June 7, 2009

I don't know what all the confusion is about. I just watched the trailer and it's patently obvious what this movie is about: It's the poignant, heartwarming story of a handful of friends looking for a freaking microphone.

A hint for any future auteur: You can shoot a passable movie on an HD camcorder, but you can't record the sound for one on the built-in microphone.

On preview: This was shot in 35mm?!? It takes real… something—to make 35mm film look like camcorder footage with the 'film grain' effect added. Knowing that this was shot with a real camera makes the terrible sound recording even more pathetic.

Then again, in Ed Wood's head his movies were perfect.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:31 PM on June 7, 2009

I must see this film.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:42 PM on June 7, 2009

Well, to take a similar vanity project, it can't be any worse in terms of direction, acting, or comprehensibility than Southland Tales, and I enjoyed that for what it was. Well, I say "Enjoyed" but "Endured without vocal complaint" might be a better description.
posted by iivix at 4:04 PM on June 7, 2009

Boring is the new awesome!
posted by troubles at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]

This situation just gets more and more odd, and the fact that the lead actor talks totally matter-of-fact about it and doesn't realize how totally weird the whole thing is makes it even stranger. I hope the bit about it coming to (near) Boston comes to pass. I smell a meetup.

molecicco: "Why do I find this movie, and the buzz about it, so incredibly uninteresting? It's such a manufactured controversy."

It's nice to know there's someone out there cooler than us. Thank you, molecicco, for visiting this thread and taking the time to inform us how little you care. My life is fuller for it.
posted by Plutor at 4:15 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

the fact that the lead actor talks totally matter-of-fact about it and doesn't realize how totally weird the whole thing is makes it even stranger

I don't see this as strange at all. Surely the actors were promised some percentage of the film's gross as part of their contract for working on the project? Why would anyone who has income riding on the popularity of something say anything to discourage others from paying money to experience that something? That would be self-defeating, at best.
posted by hippybear at 4:20 PM on June 7, 2009

This is a very cleverly done hoax.

The lead actor's youtube portfolio is hilarious and obviously fake - most of the videos claim to be from various time periods but were posted in July of '08. Furthermore they all seem to have been shot on the same shitty, 1990s-era video equipment. Finally, no actor would have a geocities page, especially an actor who "programs computers" for a living. Who claims they "program computers" for a living anyway? Don't you programmer type people say that you "write software" or "write code" for a living?

However, if I were trying to create a backstory for an actor the likes of Jason Kulas', I would totally create a geocities page, because that's hilarious. Complete with similarly bad photos and the skydiving shot. I would make up a crappy acting portfolio and post it to youtube.

Total hoax. Awesome hoax, by the way. but hoaxish. I'll believe it when Jason Kulas' buys a metafilter account and takes me to the mat for mocking his acting repertoire.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:41 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Jason Kulas' "resume" lists a bunch of movies. I couldn't find a single one that cleared even a cursory googling. However, he claims to have played a role in Ivan Velez's "Indiscretion." Ivan Velez is not a director, however he is a dancer who's been in a number of films.
There is an actually PBS documentary called Dead Reckoning about the Penny Sera case and the murderer apparently was an Ed Grant however I can't figure out if Jason Kulas really played Ed Grant or not.
His IMDB profile also lists this movie... argh this has got to be a hoax.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:53 PM on June 7, 2009

The actor's phone number is on his CV - just call him:

(203) 901-4957
posted by jettloe at 5:09 PM on June 7, 2009

This can't be real. Look at the interview with Kulas. "I have some black belts, and whatever..."?
posted by clcapps at 5:21 PM on June 7, 2009

"You might want to add a tag with the name of the movie."

"That trailer only had audio on the right side. Or is that just me?"
posted by Pronoiac at 6:07 PM on June 7, 2009

Baby_Balrog: argh this has got to be a hoax.

Given that you can buy tickets to After Last Season online (go to the website for the film and click on "Tickets and Showtimes") I think we have to concede that the film, at least, exists. Why it exists is not for me to say, but there it is.

Basically, a MeFite who lives near one of the theaters showing this needs to take one for the team and go see this thing, and report back.
posted by Prospero at 6:12 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

TV show?
Film about a film?
Media commentary?

Just let the other hilariously computer generated shoe drop already, After Last Season!
posted by defenestration at 6:13 PM on June 7, 2009

If, and only if, I could be assured that this were something more than just someone's version of a cerebral movie with bad sound (i.e., an ARG/ARE/etc.), I'd run over to see it. And report back, of course. But I have a dangerously low attention span, so if it's the 00's version of Under the Cherry Moon, I've got to give it a pass.
posted by Addlepated at 6:43 PM on June 7, 2009

I couldn't read that whole Facebook entry, but 35mm film costs big money to shoot on. It costs money to buy, and especially, money to process.

I don't know exactly what happened here, as far as where the budget came from and how this is playing in real movie theatres, but like so many things in the indie" film world I'd be willing to be it comes down to this simple truth:

Rich kids have rich dads.
Rich kids know other rich kids who have rich dads.

posted by drjimmy11 at 6:59 PM on June 7, 2009

Also, the only thing more obnoxious than big Hollywood directors slumming on video and making their films intentionally ugly when they can afford film, is brats like this getting to shoot on 35mm, when so many real filmmakers can't afford to.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:03 PM on June 7, 2009

I can't imagine this isn't a hoax. At the very, very, unlikely best, it's an high-art/experimental stunt. At worst, some kind of viral marketing. The bar to a film getting to this point is just way too high. It requires buy-off from everyone who is invested in the long production chain. Some of those people are more interested in art than profit, and others are more interested in profit than art. But this is neither art nor profitable.

My bet is that it's someone trying really hard get noticed for creating an internet viral phenomenon. For which she/he/they may actually deserve a gold star.
posted by treepour at 7:36 PM on June 7, 2009

I was fascinated enough to browse around a bit. I'm sure it's not a hoax. What sets this off, if anything, is the use of 35mm, which I understand the allure for some folks, but which is, progressively, the worst place to put your money - for this amount, you should just shoot with a rented RED camera and maybe dump some cash for renting some locals to do shooting for you. You could still whip the thing out in five days of prime shooting and not be biting your nails on every shot.

Believe me, I've been forced to spend quality time with many people who lack the same self-awareness of what they're up to while thinking they're doing excellent work. The hardest part is recognizing their phone numbers so I know to let it go to voicemail.
posted by jscott at 7:57 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Plutor you sure you're not getting it backwards? Aren't the cool kids totally getting the counter-culture hipster vibe and lovin' it?

This movie's gearing up (or at least hope) to be some Snakes On A Plane / I Love Bees lovechild, right? I.e. utter shit movie some viral marketers and their hangarounds infuse with contrarian hype shtick and inside baseball appeal. And, I'm guessing, soon also followed by the song and dance about the funnn of its clever B-adness and how we just don't get the new new.

Or on preview, treepour's conclusion.
posted by Glee at 8:01 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh lord - some people just don't have the ability to put together good work - it doesn't have to be a hoax - it's too late at night right now, but I'll call the actor tomorrow morn and get the story.
posted by jettloe at 8:14 PM on June 7, 2009

If I were a film distributor, I'd probably think "Hell, The Room is selling out theaters, and this is just as bad--why not give it a shot?"
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:30 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's definitely something wrong here.

Everyone in the business is there to make money. This movie sounds obviously dull - so what's the pitch that got the $5 million? And you don't see one penny of the $5 million. And, that's not 35mm!

Apple has good quality control and I'm sure their contracts allow them to refuse any trailers they really hate. The quality of the trailer is so bad that even people who know nothing about movies could tell.

But fascinating. I'm really not sure what the angle is.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:48 PM on June 7, 2009

Unsurprisingly, there is nobody named "Mark Region" on Zabasearch.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 PM on June 7, 2009

The color of infinity
Inside an empty glass.
I'm squinting my eye and turning off and on
And on and off the light.

It's for this experimental film
Which nobody knows about and which
I'm still figuring out what's going to go
In my experimental film.

Yeah, you're all gonna be in this experimental film,
And even though I can't explain it,
I already know how great it's.

I already know the ending;
It's the part that makes your face implode.
I don't know what makes your face implode,
But that's the way the movie ends.

And in my experimental film
Which nobody knows about but which
I'm still figuring out your face implodes
At my experimental film.

Yeah, you're all gonna be in this experimental film,
And even though I can't explain it,
I already know how great it--
Even though I can't explain it,
I already know how great it's.
posted by ErWenn at 9:37 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Second comment on the youtube link:

Your footage is a little grainy

--Jason Kulas

This is comedy gold.

Please, please, please let it come to more theatres. Otherwise I might be taking a drive.
posted by mmoncur at 9:47 PM on June 7, 2009

you know what i love? that scene in poltergeist where the chairs all move around. that was really cool. somebody should make a whole movie about that.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:55 PM on June 7, 2009

I'd like to think this was a hoax, but I've seen some... terrible, awful things in my day. I'm still convinced that Creepin' was some sort of leaked video previously only intended for utilization in CIA psychic brain-rape programs. At least, that's how I've used it when forcing others to watch.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:09 PM on June 7, 2009

You know what I love? The fact that we're still arguing about whether this is a hoax or not.

Clearly, this has achieved 'art' status by at least some definition of the term. You know, one of the definitions that everybody hates.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:19 PM on June 7, 2009 [5 favorites]

This is old, from March, maybe everyone has read it except me.

It's an interview with the director "Mark Region" which is not his real name, he states that.

I believe everyone connected with this movie knows how bad it is and it was made deliberately so.

I think it's a prank, something closer to Ali G/Borat type thing, instead of the interviewee being the only one not in on the joke, everybody's not in on the joke.
posted by selton at 12:24 AM on June 8, 2009

It's interesting that maybe it's just a shitty movie made with daddy's money, but people just can't let it go at that.

It is interesting - in that way that all bad art can (not is but can) be interesting in that it forces you to consider how you value art, what you expect and what you want from any aesthetic experience to make it satisfying and how the piece in question does or does not meet those criteria. In the same vein has "Limits of Control" (the new Jim Jarmusch film) been brought up on the blue lately? It's a similar puzzle though, without seeing this movie, the ultimate effect was pretty different.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:38 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I dunno Plutor, isn't it obvious that these people just made a shitty movie on purpose? It's definitely not a joke, it's really meant to be a terribly produced film. The Room was intended to be a masterpiece, but failed miserably and ended up really bad - that's actually somewhat intriguing.

And I don't think it's viral marketing. I think it's half-assed pseduo-art and some business guys think they can make money off it a la The Room. Therefore, a manufactured controversy. It smacks of a certain brand of indie-aesthetic that I've seen before that totally grates, and was summed up best by troubles: 'Shitty is the new awesome!'. Please no.
posted by molecicco at 3:33 AM on June 8, 2009

I think it's meant seriously. Judging by the trailer, this film looks exactly, but exactly, like several projects I have have been involved in, in one way or another -- usually in a "volunteering to help out a friend of a friend" capacity.

There really are quite a lot of people who are completely incapable of judging the quality of their own work. Which I have seen result in such things as relentless camera focus on frying eggs for no reason, perfectly fine actors mumbling stilted dialogue because they have no idea what the scene is supposed to be about, and, yes, obviously fake props being used as the real thing mostly through a kind of weird lack of concern about certain things.

The only remarkable thing about this is that the film has actually managed to get some kind of distribution and attention.

(The frying eggs still haunt my dreams. Why? WHAT DID IT MEAN?!)
posted by kyrademon at 3:56 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's info on Mark Region's short film - which seems to have the same plot as AFTER LAST SEASON... — Posted to Twitter by nickrob, who was in the review video. It seems like he's attempting to dig up more info.
posted by defenestration at 4:18 AM on June 8, 2009

Another review.
posted by defenestration at 4:24 AM on June 8, 2009

It's an interview with the director "Mark Region" which is not his real name, he states that.

I believe everyone connected with this movie knows how bad it is and it was made deliberately so.

Selton, I couldn't find anything like that in the interview you linked attributed to the director at all...he is very much playing it straight (and flustered) and claiming to have spent 10 years on it, etc.
posted by availablelight at 6:40 AM on June 8, 2009

There was a story on either CBC or BBC radio last year (I'm a streaming whore, I forget which, but it was not American) about some guy who made a documentary film about himself and his (toymaking business) that was so bad that nobody would screen it... so he invented and promoted an entire "film festival" just as an excuse to show it... and then the participants found out it was a sham and rebelled and... I forget the rest. I can't find it in Google now.

Maybe this is like that. Create a controversy, market the controversy. It's sort of like selling Intelligent Design textbooks, I guess.
posted by rokusan at 7:04 AM on June 8, 2009

"After Last Season is the sort of film that will immediately repel about 90% of film viewers in the first five minutes or so— either you’re with the cardboard MRI scanner or you’re not. Viewers who are amused by “bad” or “incompetent” films are likely to think this is the funniest thing they’ve seen since Doris Wishman’s A Night to Dismember. But if you let the film past that defense mechanism of irony that modern audiences have to erect in between themselves and something this foreign, there’s something going on here that is as exciting as it is unnerving. What exactly that is will be up to the individual viewer, but there’s no question that once you’ve seen it, you will never forget After Last Season." link
posted by naju at 8:05 AM on June 8, 2009

35mm film costs big money to shoot on. It costs money to buy, and especially, money to process.

I've never paid for 35mm film stock. With just a bit of credible persuasion Kodak is giving it away, before their existing inventory becomes completely obsolete. Free processing is much a harder to come by.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:25 AM on June 8, 2009

It sounds like a Chicagoland mefi expedition to me.
posted by zenon at 8:26 AM on June 8, 2009

"Jason Coffman is a Film critic in the City". This line is a joke, right?
posted by From Bklyn at 8:29 AM on June 8, 2009

Found this intriguing comment:
It seems like this is some sort of viral marketing campaign or spoof. A friend of mine here in Austin says one of the women in the trailer works at Austin Film Studios, which might indicate some sort of connection to Richard Linklater.
Until I hear otherwise, my money's on Linklater.
posted by treepour at 8:46 AM on June 8, 2009

"Jason Coffman is a Film critic in the City". This line is a joke, right?

That's my review! The byline is a nod to the nonspecific way the characters in the film refer to places-- for example, one of them finishes the story of her family moving from town to town by saying they ended up "living in the suburbs of a large city."

I was kicking myself last week for not requesting the screener copy when the call went out on the Film Monthly reviewers mailing list. I'm really curious as to what was included with the press kit...

To reiterate, I really think that despite whatever the filmmakers' intentions were, After Last Season is absolutely mind-blowing. On the surface, there are definitely things that are going to get laughs, but there are some really creepy parts as well. Wishman's A Night to Dismember is really the only other film I can think of that goes so far into the realm of "incompetent" filmmaking that it becomes scary in a completely different way than a standard horror movie. After Last Season does the same thing, only it's actually even more unsettling.

That said, there are a few moments in the film that seem like deliberate winks at the audience, some more subtle than others. So maybe it's a joke, of some kind, but if it is it's the most elaborate, expensive, and convincing "joke" I've ever seen.
posted by rabbitroom at 9:34 AM on June 8, 2009 [7 favorites]

goes so far into the realm of "incompetent" filmmaking that it becomes scary in a completely different way than a standard horror movie.

Thing is, I've seen this kind of stuff several times in the context of creative writing and comics. Once, upon hearing that I wrote fiction and had an interest in comics, a guy I was supervising gave me some of his stuff to read. It was a love story. And while it wasn't violent or exploitative or anything, there was a particular quality to its ham-handedness that really did creep me out. The guy's experience of intimacy, communication, and, well, other human beings in general seemed strange to the point of alienness. People, (women particularly) had no nuance or real internal agency in his work-- the story read like a toddler's description of a human sexual relationship, only the toddler in this case was about 38 years old. Ick. Ick, ick, ick. Now let me clarify-- I know a lot of bad writers. I have been a bad writer myself, and I doubtless will be again. This went far beyond standard beginning-writer clompiness. This was special.

I would consider Virginia Tech shooter Seung Cho's play "Richard McBeef" to be another (far more violent) example of the same sort thing. At this point, it's hard to separate the text from the shooting, but its pre-incident effects on its readers are quite well-documented.

In the (ultra-representative and statistically sound) sample comprised by the two cases above, there was no clever professional hiding behind the curtain, creating these effects. It was simple human brokenness and incompetence, laid bare.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:09 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Before this thread goes out, I wanted to say:

That Knox Road "interview" is fucking awful.

It burns me to read that article, because the one thing we, this overactive discussion board considering all aspects of this terrible film and its meaning/relevance within the context of "bad" films, desire, is facts. Here we have someone who calls up the director on the phone, and the result of it is a pathetic limp weed of a report, something that sounds like the worst kind of hacked up AP news story on the back end of the Fish Report and Martingdale Weekly 4 page special.

How about recording it, asking about motivation, about the five million, about where that figure comes from, what he was trying to say with the film, who his heroes are, what his thoughts are about the reception? How about any questions at all?

posted by jscott at 10:58 AM on June 9, 2009

I loved this movie when it was called The Room. I saw it seven times, including once in the theaters! I found that seven seems to be my limit though, because just WATCHING the trailer for this movie caused anal leakage and uncontrollable sobbing. Guess I'll have to see something else that weekend!
posted by Bageena at 1:41 PM on June 9, 2009

Having seen both The Room and After Last Season, I can tell you they're nothing alike at all. There's no mystery to The Room-- it's just a really horrible movie made by a creepy weirdo with an enormous ego. Whatever After Last Season is, it's infinitely more interesting. Watching The Room I just felt like I was watching a particularly bad late-night Cinemax softcore. Watching After Last Season I felt like I was seeing everything I thought I knew about narrative film being taken apart piece by piece.
posted by rabbitroom at 8:42 PM on June 10, 2009

I've just come back from seeing After Last Season and I agree 100% with rabbitroom. It's the closest thing, I think, that cinema will ever come to outsider art-- it's like the filmmakers have never seen a movie before. Despite how poorly made it is, how terrible the composition and editing and acting and costuming and sets (especially the sets), it develops its own sort of organic beauty particularly because it's so poorly made. I say this with zero irony-- I didn't enjoy the film ironically, I enjoyed the film. It's terrible and incomprehensible at times and has no idea what it's doing, but the roughness and incompetence of the film build into their own sort of rhythm and energy that I don't think I can quite accurately describe. I don't doubt for a moment that none of this was on purpose: the filmmakers very much wanted to tell a particular story about some med students and evoke a few emotions and philosophical thoughts, and all of those completely missed the mark. After Last Season was, to me, fascinating and thought-provoking for reasons entirely accidental, which contributes to the fascination.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:24 PM on June 10, 2009 [6 favorites]

And having just seen "After Last Season" last night, I'll agree with rabbitroom and shakespeherian, except I'll go out one further and say that this movie is not unintentionally "bad," but exhibits a learned amateurishness that raises interesting questions about the aesthetics of competence/incompetence. That is, you realize that you're watching a willfully amateurish production, and it makes you question how it is that you can distinguish "real" amateur productions from "fake" ones (perhaps an especially pertinent question in this age of reality show saturation).

But there's more to it than just the aesthetics (which is what most reviewers/speculators seem to be caught up on--OF COURSE the MRI machine is made of paper, get over it), as the narrative itself somehow manages to resist any gestalt. For instance, upon coming home from the movie last night, my fiancee asked what it was about, and I tried to summarize it, but I realized that I really couldn't; all I could do was give a linear plot rehash. But while I was summarizing it, I realized that the narrative itself was outside of any three-act structure, and that the relationships between the events in the film exist in a weird netherworld between "random/arbitrary" and "logical/coherent."

The film's narrative certainly isn't "logical," but it's also not "illogical" in the way that a home movie might be, or even in the way that a David Lynch movie (thinking "Mulholland Drive" here in particular) might seem to be. Instead, the movie seems to be making a philosophical point about narrative logic and the various possibilities for para-logical forms. That is, just because something isn't logical, it's not then inherently "illogical;" the movie seems to be making the argument that there is some other form of narrative logic, an "a-logical" space perhaps, in which general rules of causality and linearity are observed, but there exists no deeper structural tissue through, or against which, which one could speak of the film's "overall" narrative meaning (and I don't think it's accidental that this movie is a sort of investigative thriller, as most of those D. Hammett-style films--The Maltese Falcon, The Long Goodbye, Big Lebowski--have plots so convoluted that they ultimately don't make any sense, in a manner that's similar to, but ultimately different from, that of After Last Season's narrative). At the same time that all of this formal experimentation is occurring, most of the film's outward visual and dialogic trappings are almost claustrophobically banal; in a number of ways, I think this film qualifies as being "surrealist," and, considered as such, it's quite interesting that the outward form of surrealism today is no longer a sheep's eye getting cut in half, but instead comprises printers in basements and Sega Genesis-level CGI that's meant to represent characters' electronically transmitted qualia.

Gesh, I've written too much, and it's not especially coherent (haven't had my coffee yet this morning). I'll mention that I'm currently working on my PhD in Film Studies; as such, I watch a ton of movies, and spend most of my waking hours thinking about or writing about film & technology in some form or another (though this is, sadly, probably not evident from my posting here), and I have to say that I've found "After Last Season" to be the most thought-provoking film I've seen in recent memory. Shit, even if it was just a genuinely inept movie (and given that it's filmed in color 35MM, I doubt it), it's spurred enough thoughts in my head that I'm infinitely glad to have seen it.
posted by Lee Marvin at 7:34 AM on June 11, 2009 [5 favorites]

I've also seen it, and agree with the comments above. This film has lodged itself in my brain like no other. I think this signals a new kind of "post-camp" (?) cinema which is defined by ambiguity of artistic intent and "bad" movies which not just make us laugh, but unsettle us and raise challenging and interesting questions. Beyond the amateurishness, what we have here is a horror film about drab, everyday objects and walls, mundane chit-chat, ambiguous and undefined spaces, endless corridors, arrows and signs. Actors drone on about "a suburb near a big city" and "a room next to the living room" as if they're leading us through a ritual, hypnosis or guided meditation. The real characters and things that haunt you afterwards are spatial labyrinths, textures like snow in darkness, crates, shots of ceiling fans and printers, blank pieces of paper affixed to walls, etc. I could keep writing but you really just need to experience it to understand why I can't stop thinking about it.
posted by naju at 8:29 AM on June 11, 2009

Now I really need to see this. I wish this was playing in New York or Boston.
posted by defenestration at 11:03 AM on June 11, 2009

I haven't seen it, but I'm particularly fascinated by one line in this review:
After Last Season is what I imagine an autistic person might see when watching a film: stripped down to its absolute basics, there’s a lot of talking and some special effects, then more talking and some credits, and that’s it.
Based on the interview with the director, I wonder if this reviewer is on to something. Mark Region doesn't talk like somebody who has deliberately made an avante-garde exploration of meaning; he talks like somebody who really thinks he's made a traditional narrative film. Perhaps he is a highly functioning autistic (or, at least, somewhere along the autistic spectrum), and watching "After Last Season" is like seeing a traditional narrative film through his eyes.

Those of you who have seen the film: is that plausible?
posted by yankeefog at 4:35 AM on June 12, 2009

I wondered about that as well yankeefrog - if you've read Malcolm Gladwell's 'Blink' you'll come across an in-depth account of how an autistic person views the film 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' - this was the first thing I thought about while watching the trailer for 'After'.

Could it be that people have a hard time believing this film is 'real' due to the fact that the film-makers interpretive processes are so different from the norm, (due to a physiological difference in the brain)?
posted by jettloe at 6:49 AM on June 12, 2009

yankeefog: I'm not about to make any projections about the developmental disorders of strangers, but the general gist of what you're saying-- that Mark Region acts like he made a pretty standard film, despite the fact that he in no way made a pretty standard film-- is true. I can't look for it now, but in the one interview Region did re: After Last Season, he was asked something like 'What sort of distribution are you getting for this film?' and he answered 'You know, the usual,' which is an answer that doesn't really make any sense and makes it sound like not only does Region have no idea what he's doing, but he has no idea that he has no idea what he's doing. It may not be autism, but there's definitely something going on where either a) Region is, for whatever reason, unable to notice the various problems with everything or b) Region is 89,000 times smarter than everyone else and we've been seriously trolled. (b) seems pretty implausible to me. And, fer chrissake, the movie features SPOILER the two main characters are trapped in a room with an invisible man who is stabbing them END SPOILER and yet the trailer is filled with banal conversation about printers and towns that characters haven't been to, but have been through.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:56 AM on June 12, 2009

I'm annoyed this movie hasn't shown up online yet. That it hasn't I take as a sign it's actually an honest movie, rather than some hipster pile of irony or a viral marketing push.

If it was made by savvy web people, wouldn't it have been "leaked" and fileshared 3 seconds after being taken off the big screen? (Or maybe it's actively kept offline/exclusive for extra insider points.)
posted by Glee at 4:43 AM on June 14, 2009

In a belated and strange development, all prints of ALS are being destroyed. Just when you think this thing can't get any stranger ...
posted by outlier at 2:35 AM on June 26, 2009

Oh nooooooo. They can't destroy the prints before I have a chance to see this! Argh.
posted by Bageena at 11:05 PM on June 26, 2009

What? But .... I wanna see it!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:59 AM on June 27, 2009

« Older I Love the Smell of Books in the Morning. Smells...   |   Luke Cole has died. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments