The decidedly peculiar new film from actor-turned-filmmaker Crispin Glover and co- director David Brothers is 80 minutes long, and it’s a good bet that you’ll spend much of that time checking your watch. If you stay (and you should), it’ll be a tribute to the film’s screenwriter, the late Steven C. Stewart. Drawing deeply from his own life, Stewart stars as Paul Baker, a bookish, middle-aged man with cerebral palsy. Paul’s a learned man, but illness has made his speech too slurred to be intelligible to most people (including us). Certain women, however, understand Paul perfectly and are so charmed by his insight into their inner woes that they go to bed with him—in sex scenes that are clearly the product of Paul’s imagination and are so disturbingly frank that you may well look away. Paul is blissed-out with each conquest, but inevitably, his date will say something that rattles his idealized notions of womanhood, such as “I’m going to cut my hair.” Enraged, Paul strangles that one.
A movie about a serial killer with cerebral palsy—as the brainchild of the long-suffering Stewart, it’s hard to dismiss out of hand. Getting the film made is said to have been the writer’s life dream; he died before seeing the final cut. To reject his movie, then, is to reject the man, and perhaps the right of the disabled to express sexual fantasies. Making things even more unsettling is the likely presence of Glover, who is traveling the country, introducing his film. If you duck out early, you may meet Glover’s gaze as you head up the aisle. All these factors—weird movie, tragic backstory, and the on-site presence of its maker—combine for a nerve-jangling hour-plus. Moviegoing is rarely this fraught.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 13, 2007