Cannes Review: Gregg Araki's Trippy College Comedy Kaboom
by Alex Billington
May 18, 2010
Although I already walked out of one film earlier at the Cannes Film Festival asking "what the fuck did I just watch?", this movie deserves that exclamation much more than that other one (Hideo Nakata's Chatroom). After hearing some interesting buzz about American indie filmmaker Gregg Araki's new film Kaboom, I decided to check out the film at its last screening in Cannes and man, was it crazy. It's pretty much an acid trip version of Rules of Attraction about some college kids and, well, I can't even really start to explain what happens. If you're in to low budget mind-trip wacky films, then maybe you'll end up liking Kaboom as well.
Similar to Les Amours Imaginaires' Xavier Dolan, Araki is a gay filmmaker and Kaboom starts out almost as a typical college relationship story about a bi-sexual student (Thomas Dekker) who has the hots for his surfer roommate, but can't find the right guy, so he ends up hooking up with Juno Temple instead. He has a re-occurring dream with some people he doesn't know and a dumpster, which sort of sets things in motion. Beyond that, I don't even want to try and explain more of the plot, but I can tell you that it contains lesbian witches, crazy animal-mask wearing cults, lots of gay sex, lots of naked Juno Temple, and so much more.
I don't exactly love Araki's cinematic style, it's very low budget and it looks like he shot this with a consumer video camera, but this is one of those so-bad-it's-good kind of films where it's easy to forget that there aren't any production values and just laugh and enjoy the drug trip that Araki takes you on. I'm not even using a metaphor by referencing a drug trip either, Kaboom had to have been conceived when Araki dropped some acid and thought it would be a good idea to make a trippy gay college cult movie, but alas, it's not actually a terrible film. And as long as you can appreciate that going in, Kaboom is actually pretty damn fun to watch.
Reader Feedback - 12 Comments
i have to freaken see this!!!!
erik Keating on May 18, 2010
So in a nutshell, it sucks? If I'm going to see a movie that's so bad it's good, then I want action. In fact, I think that's why I saw the Mummy movies. For me, despite the incredible flaws (dialouge, plot....well, everything), they were still great fun (first 2 at least). Don't see even remotely see that happening with this movie.
jjboldt on May 18, 2010
this film has absolutely nothing to do with the Mummy films,and if that's the only kind of 'action' that titillates you,then,yeah,you'd best look elsewhere.but,for the record,this film has plenty of action and its value cannot be reduced to the ridiculously lazy assertion,"it's so bad it's good"
Perspicacitykid on Jan 13, 2011
you had me at juno temple.
eric on May 18, 2010
Oh Thomas Dekker. Someday you will be in a movie that I actually want to watch.
equustel on May 18, 2010
DiR3cT on May 18, 2010
Gregg Araki should never EVER be allowed on a film set again. He is the worst director and his movies SUCK!
Film Fan on May 19, 2010
KABOOM got an amazing 10 minutes standing ovation at the midnight screening, I was there and it was totally deserved. Maybe some snobby critics walked out (I didn't see many peeps walking out though as it is pretended here) but it was nothing compared to the huge & warm welcome the movie received that night. For all those dummy haters: It looks like you're so upset it's a real damn good movie without any "obvious" and "pretentious" directing skills you would expect coming out from a Festival's movie that you feel right not to congratulate it. KABOOM is one of Gregg Araki's best work to date. It is perfectly imagined, nothing cheap. It is humble, beautiful, raw, original, weird, subversive, hot, hilarious and also very melancolic. It is teenage (maybe not yours though) as it is nowadays and I don't know any other Director capable of capturing the essence of it, its ambiguity, its fears, its sadness / and putting it into life in a movie. Also, I am really shocked most of the critics out there didn't even mention the hommage done to Luis Bunuel / Salvador Dali's "Un Chien andalou"... and also forgot to mention all the amazing shoegaze musical references (explosions in the sky, helen stellar, new order) that contribute to the movie surrealism and onirism. well, anyway, in my humble opinion, KABOOM is a huge cult movie, probably the best stuff I've seen in Cannes this year. Except few ones ("Un homme qui crie" and an interesting second movie from Xavier Dolan) all the others (in competition and aside) are so common, so already done, so academic, pretentious... it just shows how the movie industry gets boring with a capital B, lacking of ideas, lacking of fun, lacking of humble intentions. PS: I never got into lsd trips or whatever and am not interested in it.
Freud on May 20, 2010
ten minutes? please. exaggerate much?
gogogadget on Feb 20, 2011
godd this looks really interesting, and even tho gregg araki is a strange director i love his movies. does anyone no where i can watch this??
sierra on Aug 18, 2010
Just saw the premiere at the Midnight Madness showcase at TIFF last night. I went into this movie knowing nothing about it, and when it started, I thought it had potential. A little after, I saw that it had none whatsoever. A little while after that, I saw that I was completely wrong. This movie is B-movie gold (B standing for beautiful, you see)! I honestly can't wait to see it again: I'll know what I'm getting into, and know to just enjoy the awesome ride.
Matthew Bianchi on Sep 16, 2010
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