I am usually not a “sitting-back-and-relaxing-with-a-book” kind of person. I’ve always thought of myself as a new media individual. Don’t get me wrong, I love the occasional read if the novel is overly excessive in twisted dementedness, chock full of gratuitous violence, well-done with graphic sex and bucket filled with nothing but blood – I sound like a pleasant person, don’t I? Well, that’s me and with that introduction to those qualities, I present author Dr. Joseph Suglia and his novel Watch Out. Director Steve Balderson adapts the novel which can be said to be in similar extreme tastes as those of Chuck Palahniuk (the mind behind those novels you might have heard of… Fight Club and Choke). Only Steve Balderson could deliver the entrails of this novel, letting loose all its adulterated, wry humor onto DVD.
As a child, Jonathan Barrows always kept to himself. He absolutely had no interest pursuing friends for the social interaction nor did he have a desire to court any person of the opposite or the same sex; Barrows only has one love – himself. He became an egoist with a self-erotic narcissist fixation. With this lifestyle, he intelligently processes a belief he is better than those surrounding him, making him feel and believe that he is “God.” When people cross Jonathan, he sees fit to force a fate much worse than death upon them.
Watch Out separates itself into two non-linear acts. The first act sets up the character of Jonathan Barrows: his parents went to extreme lengths for him to lose his virginity, he masturbates while looking at self naked pictures (and trust me, we aren’t shorted any male nudity), he tapes a self headshot onto a male blow up doll and then sexes it up, he has a larger than life God complex and he maintains an “everyone-wants-Jonathan-Barrows” attitude. Though I am very comfortable with my sexuality, I was very uncomfortable with his; I couldn’t fathom leaving my self-loving spunk in a restaurant sink and, oh yeah, did I mention the scene is a real masturbating-to-explosion scene? The first act also follows Barrows’ travels to Michigan and his encounters with a collection of sexually aggressive, disgusting people.
The second act is much shorter and more horrific. The act reveals what happens to those people who cross Jonathan. He just doesn’t murder them either, that would be too simple for a “God” like Barrows; he humiliates them by making them eat their own amputated…uh…members? phalluses? toes? Yeah, I could keep going on but I think you got the jist of it. Discriminating whom he takes life from doesn’t bother this guy; from his dissertation adviser to a Britney Spears look-a-like, there are no bounds of murdering the inferiority of those surrounding him.
I respect the Jonathan Barrows character even though he would loathe someone like me and probably shove my dick into my deceased mouth, but he stands up for himself, taking measures into his own hands and though being too intelligent for his or anyone else’s own good, he undermines the filth within this dreadful town of Tibetan Harbor. There are times when you wonder to yourself, “why the hell am I watching this guy dance in a field and taking picture of his junk in the total nude?” Then, you ponder about it until smacks you in the face (no, not his junk…the idea!) that he is narcissist! He gets aroused by his own self; these scenes are no more odd than fantasizing about a buff Selma Hayek dancing in a field or taking various posed pussy pictures. Both do the same purpose for stimulation.
I think this is a first for me experiencing a film shot well in video. The clarity of video picture is remarkable when upcoverted to max resolution. For Dolby Surround 2.0 audio, I couldn’t believe how balanced it was. I could understand all the dialogue and I did not have to keep adjusting my volume every ten seconds trying to hear what intelligent jargon Barrows spews out when ranting about how people are dumb shits. There isn’t much to say when it comes to the extras on this release; the usual material of trailers, commentaries and photo galleries sit heavy, but there lies one interesting documentary called Wamego: Ultimatum – Part 3. Watch it if you are into Hollywood bashing, into receiving tips about indie film making and how the scenes are shot. Watch Out is surreal, graphic, a bit avant garde and, at times, damn right gross – a must see for any sadomasochist!
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