Okay, due to my unrelenting ADD, I need to veer off course once in a while and babble about something other than Tampa Bay music acts. … I sorry.
An Australian sleeper indie comedy starring Ben Lee got by me until this weekend, and sweet Jesus is it ever good.
Rage In Placid Lake, from 2003, is the ideal, twisted coming of age story for fans of Harold and Maude and Rushmore.
As I’ve gotten older, my tolerance for aw-shucks movies has sunk lower than that of the average person. I sometimes sound like a cynical j-a but hey, to each her own.
A couple of heart-“worming” movies I hate: Forrest Gump and Running With Scissors (which is basically Forrest Gump poorly imagined as a John Waters movie).
That all said, when done right, coming of age movies rule. I love 400 Blows, My Life As a Dog, Breaking Away, My Bodyguard, the aforemented classics, plus a sweet Italian kidnapping caper called Io Non Ho Paura (or I am not afraid). I’m sure I’m leaving some out, but I can’t spend too long on this!
The Rage in Placid Lake, like the other coming-of-age flicks I love, dances around the formulaic pitfalls and doesn’t indulge in over-the-top histrionics too often — but sparingly enough to keep you on your toes and keep you amused.
It centers on Placid Lake, a sensitive young man raised by self-centered hippies (his mom is the kickass Miranda Richardson). After a horrible accident, he decides to lead what he considers a conventional life and gets a job at an insurance company. This move is seen as an act of rebellion. He’s just trying to save himself from himself.
The satire at play is clever as hell, with corporate life, young romance, angst and parental foibles showcased in poignant and hilarious ways.
You could say The Rage in Placid Lake has all the same elements at play as Running With Scissors, but with much more heart and likeable 3-dimensional characters and much fewer plot manipulations and broad strokes.
Most importantly, you really gotta love the lead character. Ben Lee is a truly likeable and lovable semi-tragic hero. His misfit Placid is charming, unique and razor sharp. He should go down as the next great nerdy archetype.