Log: Beeswax

Somewhere between The Puffy Chair and Cyrus (due in 2010 from director Mark Duplass,) mumble-core, as it is or ever was (big question mark there,) hit a fork in the road.  By then, the critics and audiences had acknowledged it, and dismissed and embraced it in equal measure.  But where was it headed?  How much could be milked from this aesthetic?  Boldly, the filmmakers pressed on.  But much as we all might have held hope for some kind of Cassavetes-style American indie new wave thing to happen, it didn't, really.  A few unqualified hits (Humpday) left a lasting impression, but that was all.

The dregs of upper-middle-class humanity are on display in Beeswax.  It's a story about a pair of sisters who run a boutique, which may be being shutdown due to a disagreement between the business partners.  In between, of course, there's plenty of room for ugly sex scenes, meandering conversations and superfluous exposition.  The dialogue is drowning in a sea of "umms" and "yeahs," leaning on that old "well we just improvised everything" crutch.  But this is nails-on-chalkboard awkward.  It hurts.

I'd like to give the film credit in some backhanded way, as many no doubt have (it's sitting at 92% from Top Critics at Rotten Tomatoes,) by saying that draining the emotion from its characters and story makes some kind of higher statement about the emotionless-ness of people in today's world.  And the film does manage to work up a smidgen of dramatic tension near the end, and, in lock step with tradition, ends with a spectacular whimper.  But in the end, I have to say--people quite simply aren't actually this fucking awkward in real life.  To me, it's just a cheap substitute for having to actually portray the emotions a person might be feeling in a given moment.  People have feelings, dude.  REAL feelings.  And often times, they can actually be articulate about them. There's your movie, man. Get to work.