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MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH (2013)
Published by David Carter on 2015/10/4 (669 reads)
Directed by Don Thacker
Review by David Carter
Released by MVD Visual/Parade Deck Films
Running Time: 104 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English/English Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Commentary Track, Photo Gallery
Trailer Online: Yes
Selfies. Tweets. The modern age has brought with it many strange new aspects of society that didn’t exist when most of us were born. One of these curious new arrivals goes by a variety of names but is most commonly known as the slacker, someone who has no desire to participate in society at all. Granted, outsiders to society are nothing new – hoboes, hippies, and other rebels have done this to varying degrees over the years – but slackers don’t remove themselves from society, they just don’t participate. They consume huge doses of popular media, which is typically their only exposure to the so-called normal world.
Ian Follivor, main character of Don Thacker’s MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH, is such a person. Ian has an excuse for sitting around watching TV all day, however; he’s an agoraphobic. Gripped with fear at the thought of leaving his filthy apartment, Ian sits in front of his ancient tube television (named “Kent”) day in and day out until the unthinkable happens: Kent dies. Kent was Ian’s only companion, so faced with being alone for the rest of his days; Ian decides to commit suicide by making a crude form of mustard gas in his bathtub.
Like most things in his life, Ian’s suicide doesn’t go as he planned it and instead he hits his head and lies unconscious on the floor for an undetermined amount of time. He wakes to find that the mold in the corner of the bathroom now has a face, a voice, and an unhealthy interest in him. The Mold – as he insists on being called – derides Ian for the current state of his life but offers him a way out: The Mold promises to turn Ian’s life around if he agrees to do everything he says. Ian has few other options and takes The Mold up on his offer, but eventually begins to question the deal when his life becomes increasingly bizarre and violent.
MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH is a strange little film that is sure to resonate with many of you FilmFanaddicts out there. Don Thacker has created one of the most memorable independent films in years here; one that manages to be both unconventional and completely engrossing at the same time. Thacker is also a video game designer, so several of the film’s more bizarre sequences utilize 8-bit animation as part of MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH’s unique aesthetic, one that is likely to be copied by other films in the future. While entertaining, some sequences outstay their welcome and a shorter, tighter pace overall would benefit the film. Exceptional performances by Adrian DiGiovanni and Jeffery Combs will keep you glued to the screen throughout, however.
MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH is available on DVD from MVD Visual and Parade Deck Films. The disc has a good print of the film and contains an entertaining commentary track featuring the stars and the director. MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH is the type of film that you’ll immediately recommend to everyone after watching. While its mixture of high-brow concepts and disgusting visuals may not be for everyone, fans of bizarre cinema will appreciate its BASKET CASE meets David Lynch aesthetic.
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