I like to think that it’s my duty to look at film, then recommend them to those who have not fully decided to see it. Today my message is one of warning. Kaboom is TERRIBLE, awful, repugnant, and ultimately tripe trying to mask itself as cinema. Never before in a movie that has the fate of Earth in the balance, did I revel somewhat into the demise of mankind. Let me warn you, Gentle Reader; I will be spoiling the plot of this movie. It will save you the time you’ll wish you had back from watching it yourself.
The movie centers around Smith (Thomas Dekker), a college student who describes his sexual orientation as ‘undeclared’ (he’s bisexual, but only because there are forced scenes with other men). Let’s make this perfectly clear: Smith is clearly more comfortable having sex with women than men. By the way, there’s sex; lots of sex. 15 minutes into the film, I honestly thought I was watching pornography. Anyone who says that sex is a metaphor in this film is lying to you. There is neither a tonal or metaphorical purpose to the sex in this film.
Smith starts off the film lusting after his roommate Thor (Chris Zylka). Thor’s focus is quickly lost, then Thor disappears, and reappears late in the film – might as well have written him out. There was potential for an avant-garde sexual orientation dilemma for Smith by the female characters and Smith, but the film played this angle as if it were written be a film school dropout, desperate for attention.
Speaking of director Gregg Araki, this is his 10th film. I wholly do not understand who he thinks he’s fooling. Araki suspects he’s ‘shaking up’ the movie establishment by writing, directing, and producing movies that are not-PC, and lightly treat sexual taboos. As a movie watcher, I do not object to using sex to achieve a goal. Love and Other Drugs used sex quite well. Kaboom has sex for the sake of sex. I am actually quite surprised that there are not any full-frontal scenes, but I certainly expected one. Araki’s films are disjointed, and are about as easy to watch as a consecutive series of slaughters at an abattoir.
Plot: Smith is the ‘chosen son’ of a cliché apocalyptic cult. Upon Smith’s 19th birthday, the world is supposed to end. Every named male character is in on this cult in some capacity. Either they (a) are in the cult, or (b) used to be in the cult and joined a ‘secret government organization’ hell-bent on stopping it. Right as this exceptionally boring movie draws you into the plot, the screen ripple-wipes to a white room. In this white room, there is a man in white who is supposed to be Smith’s dad – presumed dead – who taps a button and the world explodes.
So apparently, Smith was never needed. “Dad” could have just blown up the world anyway.
Other issues: Stella (Haley Bennett) is a stereotypically aggressive lesbian in a relationship with a witch, Lorelei (Roxane Mesquida). Lorelei gets hit with water, melts, but according to the plot she’s presumed alive? You never see her again in the film, except as a flashback – she was victim to one of “the cult’s” experiments. Again, the ending renders this plot point utterly useless.
Forced upon the audience is Araki’s taste in music – a subgenre of alternative called ‘shoegazer.’ This is marked by the use of distortion, droning riffs, and a metaphorical ‘wall of sound’ created by noisy and unturned guitars. Vocals are subdued in volume and tone. At least there are undertones of melody. Lyrics are not emphasized, however, and sound like an unmastered version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. In its use as background soundtrack, it’s not terrible, as you can ignore it. It is regrettable that this form of music is crammed into the entire film. ‘Shoehorned’ sound like the best method one could use to describe how the soundtrack is integrated into the film.
Back in grade school I wrote a story, and in retrospect I saw that the three page story jumped around, with almost no character development. There are elements of that disjointedness in the script that made me wonder for moments if I had Alzheimer’s disease. I actually wish I could forget this film, as it is so absolutely terrible that I wonder if the film gods hate me this year. After Kaboom, I want Country Strong to win next year’s Oscar for Best Screenplay.
Not only do I not recommend this for children, I do not recommend this for the casual moviegoer. I suspect that the only way to enjoy this is to be on some kind of hallucinogenic drug, but I don’t recommend that either. Kaboom casually tosses around insulting slur about homosexuals as if it were perfectly acceptable.
FINAL GRADE: F (I asked if there were a lower score I could give this film, and I was told ‘no.’)
TRR Movie Revue by Geoffrey Beebe