Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Question: Who wants to see a movie about a kickass flamethrower? Answer: EVERYBODY.
In reality Bellflower (Netflix) is not entirely about a flamethrower. It’s mostly about a bunch of entitled white kids who fall in and out of love and possibly maim each other with rough sex. But forget all that noise. FLAMETHROWER!
You can see this super sweet napalm cannon in action in the picture above. What makes it over-the-top rad is that this fully functional lava launcher was built by writer-director-star Evan Glodell. It’s kind of like finding out an actor was really playing guitar in his musical numbers, or that he did his own stunts. Except with FIRE.
Glodell’s wiki says he’s an avid tinkerer, which explains a lot of the coolest stuff in this movie. The pyrotechnics are of course super badass, but there are also two modded up cars, one of which has the slickest built-in whiskey tap I never knew I needed. The other one is dubbed Mother Medusa and it is an absolute soul crusher. Check it out:
Glodell also built his own custom camera out of old parts, which apparently yielded a unique piece of hardware capable of doing things other digital cameras can’t. An example is putting one area into focus while blurring another, and then reversing them in the same shot. I don’t know anything about cinematography, except that saying the word cinematography makes me feel like a complete fraud. Nevertheless, ignoramus that I am, I couldn’t help but notice how innovative (almost to the point of distracting) the camera work is in Bellflower. Intentional blurring, noticeable artifiacting, super-saturated color palates, extreme slo-mo. This thing is a film school wet dream. Usually that irritates the shit outta me but for some reason it felt earnest. Maybe I’m biased, because FLAAAAMETHROWERRRR!
I’m a little mixed on the real crux of the movie. The whole doomsday hipsters modeling their lives on Lord Humungus from The Road Warrior is just foreplay/shadowing. Bellflower is really a mumblecore-meets-David-Lynch examination of the pain and insanity love (and losing it) can bring on. It plays liberally with time and it’s rarely clear what has really happened and what is merely the imagined consequence of the main character ‘s decisions. That’s pretty fun to try to nail down but there are some loose spots where the bearings start to rattle. Like when the generally fun and likable leading lady below is tasked with some seriously violent bits of improv toward the end. Sorry kid, it just wasn’t your night.
Added bonus: MOTHERFUCKING FLAMETHROWERRRRRRR!!!!!