Review Index



Those who can tolerate sexually explicit psychosexual weirdness will enjoy this cinemutation, the second directorial effort by the demented Crispin Glover.  Featuring the late Steven C. Stewart, a Cerebral Palsy-afflicted man, the film is deeply weird, confrontational and often off-putting--but average it definitely ainít! 

The Package 
     For those who donít know, Crispin ďHellionĒ Glover is an eccentric actor (best known for his appearances in the first BACK TO THE FUTURE, RIVERíS EDGE, the WILLARD remake, CHARLIEíS ANGELS and most recently BEOWULF) and all-around weird-media sultan.  IT IS FINE!  EVERYTHING IS FINE is the second entry in Gloverís self-directed IT trilogy, which began with the surreal 2005 shock fest WHAT IS IT?  That film, headlined by real-life Down syndrome patients, featured the wheelchair-confined Steven C. Stewart, who went on to write and star in the succeeding film.  Stewart, who speaks in an incomprehensible babble, wrote the film after a lengthy stay in a nursing home, and the script reflects both his idealized fantasies (he gets to have sex with quite a few pretty women) and oppressive reality (his character is a deranged misogynist).  He passed away within a month of the completion of filming.
     Crispin Glover refashioned Stewartís lengthy screenplay to suit his own nutty sensibilities, with a fractured narrative chronology and quite a few surreal interludes.  Glover also financed the film himself (from his CHARLIEíS ANGELS salary) and somehow managed to entice a few name actors to lend their talents, including onetime Rainer Werner Fassbinder regular Margit Carstensen and HOSTEL 2 star Lauren German.  As for the filmís release, Glover handled that chore himself via roadshow-style weekend bookings at various theaters across the US (including Hollywoodís Egyptian Theater, where I caught it) together with an hour-long slide show and a lengthy Q&A session.  Glover used the same approach distributing WHAT IS IT? and will do so with the final film of the trilogy, so donít expect these films to show up on DVD any time soon!

The Story
     Paul is a cerebral palsy-afflicted man confined to a wheelchair and prone to feverish, sexually-tinged fantasies.  Bumping his head on the floor of the nursing home where heís confined, Paul imagines himself a suave ladies man with a fetish for long hair.  In this fantasy he meets a woman at a cocktail party and quickly weans his way into her life.  But Paulís dark side asserts itself one night, and he strangles the woman to death in her car.  From there he seduces the ladyís twentyish daughter, strangles the gal and then violates her corpse.
     More women pass through Paulís fractured existence, all attracted to him and all mysteriously able to understand every word of his mumbled speech patterns.  Thereís a wheelchair-bound brunette who blows him off and a haughty blonde cocktease who ends up drowned in a bathtub.  Other victims include a too-willing prostitute and a sweet lady with a paralyzed leg, who performs onscreen fellatio on Paul before checking out.  But all this is, again, mere fantasy, with Paul stuck, apparently permanently, in the confines of a Hellish nursing home. 

The Direction 
     Although the film was co-directed with David Brothers (an experienced art director who designed the sets for WHAT IS IT?), itís very much a product of Crispin Gloverís disturbed psyche.  Viewers of WHAT IS IT? will recognize quite a few touchstones, including the harsh, lurid lighting, the noisy, asynchronous sound design, the succession of seemingly unmotivated fades and dissolves, and the cast comprised of handicapped folks of various stripes. 
     Itís also a rare movie featuring a handicapped protagonist that doesnít present him as an optimistic, asexual hero.  Steven C. Stewart in this movie is portrayed as a psychopath, has much full frontal nudity (something I probably could have done without) and performs in two startlingly graphic sex scenes that cross the line into out-and-out pornography.  Some will call the proceedings exploitive, yet Steven C. Stewart himself wrote the script--as Crispin Glover has suggested, maybe it was Stewart who did the exploiting!
     Itís that certifiably loony script, incidentally, with its oddly charming naÔvete and dark, obsessive air that makes this the delirious, authentically deranged piece of work it is.  The film often feels like a maniacís home movies with its blatantly artificial sets, histrionic silent movie-style performances and goofy soap opera-esque dialogue (ďYou may be crippled, but youíre still a man!Ē).  It all adds up to...something

Vital Statistics 

Volcanic Eruptions 

Directors: Crispin Glover, David Brothers
Producer: Crispin Glover
Screenplay: Steven C. Stewart
Editing: Crispin Glover, Molly Fitzjarrald
Cast: Steven C. Stewart, Margit Carstensen, Carrie Sziasa, Lauren German, Jami Ferrel, Curtis James, Bruce Glover, Carrie Szlasa