By Don Simpson | October 20, 2009
Director: Michael Greene
Writer(s): Michael Greene (screenplay), Kerem Sanga, Charles Mulford (story)
Starring: Michael Greene, Kerem Sanga, Dan Bui, Cyndi Williams, Caitlin Rose, Christina Spurgeon
When I first moved to Austin, I felt like I was stepping into Richard Linklater’s film Slacker. Everyone I met seemed to be three dimensional incarnations of the celluloid characters. Looking back, I think I just dreamed most of that…probably for the better. Okay, where was I going with that? Nowhere, it seems. I guess I should have let the gas mask wait until after this review was written. But it was there, looking so…well…eerie yet irresistible. You could say that the gas mask is my muse. Oh, gas mask I love you so…let me count the ways…Yikes, I’m digressing again. Sorry.
Okay, so I’m here today to talk to you about a local Austin, Texas production entitled Stoner. The film focuses on four housemates (students at UT Austin) – and they all have a hankering for the weed. Unfortunately, the drug seems to adversely affect the critical judgment gland in their brain and they…well…they make bad judgments.
Let’s start with Michael (Michael Greene – also the writer and director). He works a crappy part time job at a copy shop. His mother is always on his back about taking responsibility and getting a real job. His mother is such a downer. Luckily he doesn’t like with her. That would suck. Anyway, eventually Michael decides that he could make mad cash if he started dealing…drugs that is. Unfortunately, everything that can go wrong for Michael does go wrong. Something Mark was never taught in dealer school: You should always know your clients. (Just like the clients should always know their dealer.) Michael should just go back to daydreaming about Bob Dylan.
Mark (Eddie Mathis) is a womanizer, I guess. He doesn’t really look like one, but he seems to attract some fine ladies. One of the fine ladies is Becky (Caitlin Rose). She totally digs Mark, but that sort of freaks Mark out. Unfortunately, Mark makes some poor choices and winds up getting a hefty punishment for not keeping his wiener in his trousers.
Then there is Kirun (Kerem Sanga). Kirun is the book-smart, antisocial one of the house. Thankfully he discovers weed (via the gas mask) and he comes out of his shell…maybe a little too far out of his shell. Kirun likes Becky, which creates some drama. In many ways, Kirun was better off being completely anti-social.
Dan (Dan Bui) is a kick-ass banjo player. Man can he riff on that thing. He seems like a good kid. Unfortunately, some psycho self-help freak-a-zoid named Kuldeep (Aravindh Ragunathan) takes a liking to him. Kuldeep really wants Dan to come to a self-help seminar with him. It’s very hard not to feel sorry for Dan. He really does seem like a good kid.
All in all, Stoner is fun. Personally I think some of the humor is a little too gutter-prone. For example, the blowjob scene has just got to go. There’s no reason for that. Yuck. I would say that Stoner is a very odd cross between Slacker and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The overall plot and message concerning Michael is worthwhile. The supporting characters are entertaining and fun, but they either need to be worked more into Michael’s plot or given stronger stories of their own. Despite all of this, Stoner is fun and definitely worth partaking of.