The Strange Ones

Split Screen

The worst made film of the year is not the worst film of the year. It's still pretty bad.
Reported on 21st of August, 2018

It’s weird that the worst made film of the year is not the worst film. You don’t so much ponder how The Strange Ones got made – worse have been. Like so many before it, the film follows the classic I-knew-the-second-well-not-really-the-second-but-the-agonizing-ninety-minutes-that-felt-like-nine-hundred-I-saw-it that it was a short that had found funding to be elongated.

It is a film where something obvious will be revealed – largely because its concealment involves simply cutting around the reveal – and then…it is. To call it a one-act does a disservice to shorts everywhere, and short films are on the shit scale between two parking space taker-uppers and White God.

The Strange Ones

17 July 2018 @ The MK2 Odeon - Hautefeuille

-$15.00 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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No, how it got made I get. It has no story. Par for the course. It doesn’t actively hate women. That’s our new low bar, but so be it. Poorly shot, directed, and edited, and unwritten, it settles into a comfortable place of never coming to life; incompetence without the spark of a Mr. Tommy Wiseau or Hr. Uwe Boll.

We went to the next door Carrefour to get ice cream in order to save money. I’m just happy not to have, in this case, not given an extra income to the theater.

Back in the King Pictures days, when I saw movies and read scripts before they did or did not make it to any festival, I knew that thousands of films are made a year, and nine hundreds were like this. No, what terrified me – really – is a film that that this incompetent and lifeless could find distribution. What terrified wasn’t the film but that I was watching it in a theater.

But if France taketh, it supporteth revival houses. Because this is a place where you can see Three Days of the Condor and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind in the theatre.

Fortunately for me, I had just seen Silence of the Lambs six weeks previous (and was to see it again four weeks after). So, like that memorable bit from Peep Show, where they lament not seeing Heat whilst seeing a shit play, I just closed my eyes and watched SotL, a movie with more surprises despite the fact that I had seen it a good seventy times. Here is my attempt to recreate that experience.

Also I napped a bit.


We see the kids face look all blank and stuff, and much is hidden from us.

Sorry that wasn’t explicit enough. The Strange Ones is about a kid who clearly kills his father. We know this because of everything left obviously and deliberately out in flashback. It is then, slowly – oh so slowly – to be revealed that he killed his father.

That’s the whole story.

Now, that’s not great, but as a result, the characters must, as in the way of keeping the reveal so desperately – like the elaborations of a bad liar – from the audience, remain blank.

They do that with the dialog too, but I’ll get to that.


On the other hand, later that month, I got to see SotL with Phathi, who had never seen it. Also, Dorothée said, ‘You know who you remind me of?’ That felt good.

After Mr. Scott Glenn talks about meeting Ms. Jodie Foster when he was giving a lecture at UVA, by way of demonstrating his fairness despite her ‘grilling her about civil rights during the Hoover years’, he justifies himself saying ‘I gave you an “A”‘.

She replies ‘A minus, sir.’

Three words, and we know she stands up for herself, is polite, has morals, remembers him. She has four more characteristics in three words than any character in the entirety of The Strange Ones.


No one will be admitted while…the kid walks. Then he walks some more. People on the farm are shown using rakes on grain crops which are not used on fucking grain crops. Then the kid walks some more. At some point he doesn’t say anything. Then, he looks blankly.


I thought, during this respite, of one of the nicest bits of compression in cinema history, and the power of unseen violence. Body drops down in elevator, cut-to Sir Hopkins in the ambulance, who sits up wearing the face of his victim, pulls it off, and then: a pay phone dropped and dangling, Ms. Kasi Lemmons running down the corridor to tell Ms. Foster what has happened.

So much goes on in between those two cuts – fifteen seconds that has more left out than the entirety of TSO left in. This is even more true since I was watching it in my head.


The dialog is of the improv ‘Do you like your dialog bland so that the audience will feel like it’s real/we won’t have to do the fucking hard work of writing variety’. I was torn, because people talking breaks up the long, long scenes of standing around.

On the other hand, and I quote:

‘Do you like your breakfast.’

‘Yes. I like my breakfast.’


‘I, myself, cannot.’

It may not be fair to compare The Strange Ones to a cinema classic. But that’s only because – being unable to scrub every print from its digital existence everywhere – this is as unfair as I could think to make it.

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