The Dennis Woodruff Collection: Volume 1 DVD Review
Directed by Dennis Woodruff and Keith Kurlander
2011, Region 1 (NTSC), 229 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on June 14th, 2011
Dennis Woodruff as Himself
Who is Dennis Woodruff and why do I want to make his movie? The first part of this question can be succinctly answered with, “Nobody,” and the second part answered with, “I don’t.” Sure that reads a little harsh, but it’s nicer than my first reaction: “Fuck that guy.”
Troma offers up a 2-disc set of the works of Dennis Woodruff, including two of his film attempts, Spaceman and Obsession. Quality control at Troma must be slipping however, because the third film listed on the title card, LA, is nowhere to be found on this release. Instead we are treated to Keith Kurlander’s documentary Dennis Woodruff: Superstar (95 min) which is where anyone interested in this “wacky” Los Angeles character should begin.
Woodruff’s creativity is immediately apparent in his ability to self-advertise, wearing shirts that sport his name and phone number while driving a car covered in Styrofoam sculptures of himself. Rather than working as a quiet artist who creates, this attention-whore wastes countless days accosting tourists in a delusional state that is either a solid piece of acting or simply burned-out groveling for spare change.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I understand that, but if you have nothing to offer once someone calls on you, don’t raise your hand. The sight of a grown-ass man yelling for attention in the middle of the street is a turn-off that prevents me from wanting to know more about this guy. From the moment Dennis Woodruff appears on screen I want to press mute and walk away.
If there is anything less appealing than watching the mundane life of this jackass, please let me know. The best part of the documentary comes at the very end, when the film abruptly stops and returns to the main menu. Do yourself a favor and watch this film selectively. I recommend viewing the first five minutes and then skipping ahead to the last ten minutes. Doing so will spare you from such classy moments as “A trip to the bathroom” and “A tour of my shitty motor home.”
Moving on to the Woodruff films, Spaceman is the more sincere of the two and is a legitimate attempt to tell a story about an alien that comes to Los Angeles and tries to understand how humans interact. The gimmick is better served as a short film and collapses under the weight of a 78-minute running time. This man is neither an actor nor a director and is barely a personality, as witnessed in the mercifully shorter film Obsession. Here, Woodruff decides to comically worm his way into the world of legitimate filmmaker David Lynch. Instead of making an honest effort of reaching this goal he simply accosts people on the street.
Hollywood has always had its fringe personalities like billboard superstar Angelyne or the goons dressed as movie characters in front of Mann’s Chinese Theatre posing for pictures with tourists while asking for “tips.” Dennis Woodruff is the unfortunate loudmouth who has no skill except being able to get a stranger to look at him by yelling “Hey, look over here!” Mission accomplished. Good job, Dennis, you’re a dipshit.
Video and Audio:
Presented in fabulous 4x3 full-frame glory, the picture quality across all three titles is substandard analog consumer grade handi-cam shoddy and is every bit as ugly as you would expect.
Audio is presented in stunning 2-channel camera mic stereo. Nothing like taking the extra time to make the product sound like the disappointments found in your everyday life.
Standard Troma-based trailers are on display along with the “Radiation March” — like that never gets old.