Golden Age DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee Pattee
A STOTAM Up production
Hey baby! What are you doing home? – Becky
Written and directed by Cullen Carr
2006, No region (NTSC), 31 minutes, Not rated
Cullen Carr as Burton
Mindy Wester as Cult Leader
Mia Frost as Becky
Kyle Holman as The Poet
Nick Crawford as Best Friend
Burton is having a rough day.
After losing his job due to consistent tardiness, Burton (Cullen Carr) returns home, only to find his wife, Becky, sexing it up with his best friend. In a fit of rage, Burton sets the trailer on fire with his wife, buddy and dog still inside.
If it weren't for the mysterious video store owner (Mindy Wester) who hit on him when he stopped for movies on the way home, his day would be the ideal country song. He did, after all, find his wife cheating on him with his best friend, lose his job, his dog…
A couple of months later, Becky (Mia Frost – Hide and Creep) finds him in a bar and breaks some news to him — she's pregnant.
A drunk Burton leaves the bar, only to be pulled over by the law. The guy cannot seem to get a break.
That is only temporary, though, because in a moment of quick thinking, Burton hurls a beer bottle at the cop, striking him square in the middle of his forehead. Then he makes a break — on foot — for the woods.
Coming out of the woods near a deserted gas station, he gets picked up by a car. The driver? The mysterious video store owner from a few months back.
The driver gives Burton a good idea to get out of his current predicament with the law, and, even better, a wild night of passion. Things are certainly looking up.
Until he wakes up tied to posts with a man hovering over him, ready to kill him.
Remember when the VCR came out, and all of those mom-and-pop video stores opened up? We're talking pre-Blockbuster here. If you were anything like me, you remember the awe of wandering the shelves, picking up such great titles (and even greater box covers) as Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave; then staring at these jewels, with wonder and a little bit of fear. What secrets these boxes held. Golden Age is Cullen Carr's homage to that time and those films.
One of Age's biggest strengths is, hands down, the performance of Mindy Wester as the video store owner/cult leader. From the moment she comes onscreen, your attention is drawn to her. The character is supposed to be dark, evil and dangerous, and Wester has no problems with that. But she also brings a sensual eroticism to the character from the get-go that just makes you want to see more of her.
Carr himself plays Burton, and he does an admirable job with it. His role of the weak, down and out Burton perfectly complements Wester's controlling woman. You can tell that while Burton tries to act like a bad ass, underneath that tough guy exterior is a man begging for a woman to control him. Wester is that woman.
In addition to the performances, the editing and pacing of the film are rock solid. One of the best edited scenes is when Burton and the video store owner are getting their jollies on, and it is cut in such a way that you can not only feel Burton's lack of control in that situation, but you can sense Wester's character's complete control of the situation. The acting and edits made this a terrific scene, as it wasn't about sex, but power. And who had it. Plus, Carr did the smart thing and concentrated much of the film on character development. The first 2/3 of the movie is nothing but character development — in this particular film, this is extremely important, as the movie is only 31 minutes long.
And when Burton wakes up from his night of passion, you are very aware he's screwed. It's not just him tied down in his tighty whities giving it away, either. The entire look of the film changes. The white levels get jacked up, giving the film that blown-out look of the early exploitation videos of the '80s. There's even a nod to Cannibal Holocaust in the movie. It's a very obvious nod, intentionally obvious, and very sweet.
The entire movie is good from start to finish. It's a tight little film and I only wish that it were longer. Because once Burton really gets into trouble — because he had no idea what trouble was until he slept with his new friend — the film is over too soon.
I want more.
Video and Audio:
This is super low budget, and it shows. The picture is completely watchable, but you aren't going to get the sharp, blemish-free picture you find on your multimillion-dollar movies. However, considering the type of film Age is, the scratches work for it. It takes you back to the '80s when you were at your friend's house sneaking a watch of Faces of Death.
The audio doesn't suffer from any noise, but there is an occasion or two where you have to adjust the volume.
- Director's Commentary with Cullen Carr and Joel Ramsey
- Commentary with Nick Crawford, Mia Frost and Mindy Wester
- Deleted Scenes/Outtakes
- Behind the Scenes Featurette
Both commentaries are enjoyable, and both have something for everyone. The cast commentary is easily the more humorous of the two, but the director's commentary does have some technical information that is interesting.
The behind-the-scenes featurette is interesting through-and-through. It's strictly behind-the-scenes, with no "talking head" interviews to be found. Hell, one of the best parts of the featurette is when the camera is placed on a stair while the crew works an effect with an actress. You see nothing but steps, but the dialogue you hear, coupled with the words that pop up onscreen, is worth some stair watching.
The deleted scenes are worth a watch, if only to appreciate the fact they hit the cutting room floor.
The outtakes are outtakes and the teaser is a teaser.
Golden Age is Cullen Carr's directorial debut, and I'm already looking forward to his next film. Ideally, he'll take Age and expand on it, turning it into a full-length feature. But, it's okay even if he doesn't, because the promise he shows with his first film gives me confidence that the next one will be even better.
While it's not in wide release, you can currently snag a copy of Age for ten bucks, plus two for shipping, from Golden Age's MySpace page.