Contrasting Views of People Living Within an Artistic Lifestyle
Directed by Matt Zane
Right off the bat, the title is a fucking mess; there’s enough adjectives and prepositions to choke a horse. Surely Contrasting Views alone would have sufficed? At least get rid of the damn Artistic Lifestyle part; apart from the laudable intentions of porno exile/musician Matt Zane, there’s fucking well not much art to be seen in this film whose reach is greater than its grasp. Unless art has been redefined as “annoying fucks,” and I wasn’t informed.
This film is so cheesy (earnest yet painful) that every time my brother walked by while I was watching it, I hurriedly pressed the VCR/TV button to switch to something less mockery-worthy, like Elimidate or The Fifth Wheel.
Contrasting is Matt Zane’s ticket into the serious side of independent and documentary film, now that he killed off his porn career and Backstage Sluts left him marked with a permanent Scarlet Letter-ish brand of shame. This film is an encouraging show that Zane’s heart is in the right place, but as an aesthetic piece in and of itself, it is also a failure.
I don’t want you lot to think that I have any axes to grind with Mr. Zane. He’s better than Marilyn Manson, and I think it’s hilarious that all of these big tuff rockers slobbered all over his ass so that they could be in Backstage Sluts and prove that they weren’t gay.
On to the film. I hope I get all of the jargon right.
The camera work is annoyingly grainy and the sound quality is abysmal, sounding like a Sebadoh demo played on a broken boombox, under a pillow, with Rosie O’Donnell sitting on the pillow, with a microphone taped under her arm to record the aforementioned Sebadoh demo. Oh, yeah, and she’s shifting her weight every fifteen seconds. The most stellar example is the interview with the priest on the airplane, where I got dry mouth from listening to the roar of the air conditioning system. This may or may not be to approximate cinema verité.
Zane’s ideals behind this project are high-toned and “abstract,” but the profiled subjects are, to be frank, a bunch of cunts. There’s no art, no contrasts, they’re all morons. The creepy fat goth guy who obsesses over a girl he went out with for a month and now spins that into a barely fucking plausible tale of how he’s going to go on a serial killing rampage when he turns 30? You know the type, you’ve seen him glowering at the pit during a Pantera show. Big talker, but someone half his size could take him down with one punch.
Or how about the surfer guy with khaki shorts and loafers with no socks who re-enacts his own “death by iodine poisoning,” and speaks admiringly of the death scene in Interview With a Vampire. Put on some socks, Pitt.
Wait, then there’s the drunk girl with the Most Annoying New York Accent in the World who drones on endlessly about how Rochester sucks, and then Zane puts a bizarre spin on it by emphasizing her drunken alien invasion theories.
Or even the greasy-haired white trash goth girl who supposedly “overdosed on heroin?” Yawn. C’mon Matt, don’t you live in California? Certainly you could find better than this? I grew up in fucking Kissimmee and I met at least four of each of the supposed unique Artistic Lifestyles represented in the film.
The debate rages. Are these really artistic lifestyles? Is the art herein worth any value other than a few shakes of the head and a sardonic laugh? I think Mr. Zane, deep down, knows the real answer to that. And I don’t think he likes it.