Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida
Cop: But…this is real life, Chad…we have a dead body over there…
Lt. Chad: No…c’mon…it’s not real life. Look at yourself. You have a stuffed toy alligator under your arm.
A possessed tire wreaks havoc in a small town via its ability to telekinetically explode people’s heads.
Yeah, you read that right.
And that’s not even the half of it.
This movie opens with a man, standing on the side of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, holding a large quantity of binoculars in his hands, watching a car driving towards him knocking over and destroying several poorly built chairs. The car comes to a stop, the trunk opens, and out steps Lieutenant Chad (Spinella). He proceeds to look straight into the camera and explain how in the movies, much like in real life, most things happen for “no reason”. This seems to be nullifying any questions we might have about what we’re about to see.
We soon discover, though, that Lieutenant Chad is not exactly speaking to us, the audience, but to a group of people standing on the side of the road who will soon be given the binoculars I mentioned before. This will allow them to watch the “show” that is about to begin unfolding in the desert. This particular show involves a rubber car tire (apparently named Robert) coming to life, rolling around for a while, then discovering that he has the power to destroy. At first it’s just small animals, but eventually his attention is drawn to humans.
I’m assuming that writer/director, Quentin Dupieux, is a David Lynch fan. While this movie isn’t as surreal as what I’ve seen from Lynch, it certainly leaves you scratching your head while it blurs the line between what’s real and isn’t real and between audience and characters.
I have to applaud Dupieux for trying something different and original, but it didn’t always work for me. While the tire had some actual personality early on as it tried to learn how to roll without falling over, eventually watching it travel around the desert became tedious. It felt like he was padding a small idea into a much longer film. Plus, while the exploding head special effects are quite impressive, that got old too.
Now, on the bright side, Stephen Spinella is just fun to watch. He has most of the best lines and injects an energy into every scene he’s in. Without him, it would be hard to recommend this movie at all. He elevates it to check-it-out-on-Netflix range. Actually, most of the performances are good. Everybody plays their roles fairly straight in an otherwise confusing movie. That nicely balances out the bizarreness of the plot (if that word applies here).
Maybe Dupieux was trying to make some sort of commentary on society or Hollywood…or movies…or movie audiences…or…I don’t know…there has to be some point to it all, right? Whatever it was, I guess I missed it.
So in the end, it’s just a little too bizarre – and occasionally boring – to strongly recommend, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained quite a few times throughout. It just has the feeling of a 20 minute film padded out to feature length. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did start out originally as a short film. So, maybe if you watch this with your finger on the fast forward button and just zip past the scenes of the tire rolling around for minutes at a time, you’ll find this one to be even more entertaining.
Be nice to tires.
10 – 2.3 because there’s a lot of dull/repetitive padding scenes – 1.5 for being just a little too bizarre/confusing for my taste + .2 for Stephen Spinella’s performance = 6.4