Wade on Birmingham

Sidewalk 2006: YouTube the Motion Picture



Every generation has its slackers, or “Slackers,” a cinematically scruffy group of aimless youth interested in no more than casual relationships, “art” and other passing pursuits. Such is the posse of unfortunately named “LOL,” a pastiche of scenes that may very well be perfectly suited to the crowd of teens still coming of age.

Viral videos allow anyone to be director and star, auteur and writer. This reality-tinged comedy seems little more than a strung-together series of YouTube clips, and not the compelling ones of embarrassing stunts or weirdly mesmerizing moments.

The movie screens as part of this weekend’s Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.


Chris Wells S N D movie “LOL.”

As far as I can tell, the movie revolves around three immature guys only mildly obsessed with porn, camphones, mashups, IMs and e-mail. I’m still not certain.

I do know that LOL is the oft-used acronym in texting and e-mails for “laughing out loud.” As in, few people will be LOL during this flick.

The girls in their lives exist only to enable their little boy behavior. It is a rare thing to be pulling for some imaginary jocks to rescue them from these technonerds. I find it hard to imagine how they paired up anyway.

The conversations that take place, and the movie is nothing but conversations, are stilted, whether in person, by phone or online. We learn little about these guys and their girls, except that a vague dissatisfaction runs throughout this group.


Trailer [Quicktime]

The movie doesn’t end after 81 minutes so much as simply stops rolling. Nothing seems to be resolved because nothing seemingly has really transpired.

I am not the target audience. I am too old at a ripe old 35 to identify with any of them. I didn’t get it even while trying to.

But the kids might like it. Director Joe Swanberg breaks up the film with entertaining little mashups of random vocal sounds and images, which by themselves would score high on YouTube. But the other segments would most definitely be the ones merely taking up server space, unloved, unforwarded.

Clip: The meandering conversations of “LOL.”

“LOL” aims for a slacker mystique but, not surprisingly, goes nowhere. Someday, a clever artist will turn a series of viral vids into a movie worthy of Altman or Warhol. But in this case, if it’s too LOL, you’re too old.

“LOL” will screen at 9:15 p.m. Saturday with opening short “Paralegal” at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Actors Kevin Bewersdorf (also co-writer), Greta Gerwig, Tipper Newton and Chris Wells (also co-wrtier) are scheduled to attend.


• • •

Action! Complete Sidewalk 2006 coverage.

Leave a Yip

Subscribe without commenting