This Is Your Movie on Drugs: Lord Byron


Based, it’s said, on some kind of true story, Louisiana native boy Zack Godshall’s languid, toxically goofy little indie self-consciously focuses on the spiritual quest of a homeless, obese black man (the shruggingly unemotional Paul Batiste, in a single gray sweatshirt), who wonders about life’s meanings but prefers utter indolence—crashing in his ex-wife’s attic, smoking pot all day, improbably bedding an array of women, and dumbly observing an array of white-trash eccentrics, apocalyptic obsessives, and fringe innocents (mostly, we presume, Godshall’s friends). To say it may be the year’s ultimate stoner movie, in front of the camera and behind, is to nearly say it all. Vacillating between free-associative shtick and complete inertia, Lord Byron is lost in thought and allergic to reason. The textures are DIY (ancillary cast member Eric Schexnayder, it should be noted, nails down what may be the most intense portrait of no-limit assholery in modern movies), but just when you thought Godshall should owe you money, Byron gets mugged, gets lost, wakes up in a bizarre all-male bayou commune, and, strangely, the film takes on the dreamy air of a vision. Or maybe it’s just high.