It’s not the constant snorting, sniffing and nose-rubbing after the snorting and sniffing.
It’s not drinking, the endless, pointless sexcapades and grasping for ‘decadence.’
It’s not the vomiting after indulging, either. Vomiting and vomiting and sniff sniff sniff more vomiting.
No, the excesses of “The Madness Within,” the most misguided indie drama since “The Room,” are only signs of the power trip a deluded writer/director/star with cash backers was on.
It’s the sheer incompetence of it all, the “Room” level staging blunders, the boom microphone slipping into the frame, the movie posters on the office walls of coke-and-molly-maniac Russ Washington (writer/director/star Hunter G. Williams). They’re the completed films of this Hollywood producer, addict and all around rhymes-with-gas-pole shaker-and-mover.
The title of the biggest hit, the poster hanging right over Hollywood player Russ’s shoulder?
That’s right. These dipsticks wrote themselves a “cautionary” Hollywood tale of drugs, sex and the piper wanting to be paid. They hired set dressers who commissioned graphic designers and a print shop for posters for “deadly.” and “From Another Dimension.” And the one that stands out is the one with the misspelled word in the title.
Williams’ producer-Russ is out of control, and his production partner Marcus (Edin Gali) is not there as a sobering influence. This isn’t “Simpson/Bruckheimer.” There is no responsible sober partner. They’re both indulgent junkies who burn through production cash the minute they have a deal.
Every bit of good news deserves a bump. Every bit of bad news deserves a bump. Sniff sniff.
They get the deal even though they’ve shown up for their distribution/financing meeting late. Even though Russ declares he has stars lined up (he doesn’t) and presales of $22 million overseas, and $18 million in the U.S. He’s the last guy you’d lend $50 million to for a movie.
There’s little time spent on the set with temperamental stars, a little more spent trying to badger a movie star (Lily Tomlin, as herself) you’ve had a fling with into making your movie.
OK, that was funny.
Mainly it’s about Russ falling for his very own “Pretty Woman” (Tessa Farrell), a hooker who doesn’t charge him. Because like every other woman in the picture, she is compliant and eager to degrade herself to be with these two degenerates.
“In Hollywood, everyone’s a hooker, in one way or the other. Sniff SNIFF.”
“I’m starting to think you have a PROBLEM. SNIFF SNIFF.”
Restaurant bathroom sex, autoerotic asphyxiation in a Darth Vader mask sex, “Eyes Wide Shut” orgy sex.
Golly. At least there’s a little courtship, a montage of trips and sex and hot air balloon rides.
Sniff sniff sniff.
“The hero’s journey” here lacks a hero, or a journey. The performances are competent but not compelling, the dialogue profane and never profound. The sexism and sexual misuse rampant.
It’s an appalling film on pretty much every level, and one only hopes that all involved — save Lily Tomlin — changed their names in the credits to escape blame.
Of course, it could’ve been worse. They could have signed on to “Corpotate Games.” As it is, they just made what might be the worst film of 2019.
MPAA Rating: R, drugs, sex, profanity
Cast: Hunter G. Williams, Edin Gali, Tessa Farrell, Arber Mehmeti and Lily Tomlin.
Credits: Written and directed by Hunter G. Williams. A Midnight Releasing release.
Running time: 1:37