GIMME THE LOOT
(directed by Adam Leon, 2013)
* (out of 5)
> Critics really liked this indie film about two small-time NYC taggers planning to leave their mark on the giant apple that rises into view every time the Mets hit a home run. I liked it too- but something about it really bugged me: the selfish, twisted, I would say perverse values embodied by the main characters.
. The man and woman graffiti team in the center of this film are played by two appealing actors whose behavior annoyed the hell out of me. Was my inability to relate to them a form of soft racism? Almost every single character in this film is black, and living close to the street in grimy, crime-ridden neighborhoods with few job prospects and little hope of a good future. Is it any wonder they behave in anti-social ways that seem to betray a complete lack of respect for others? If I had blind hatred directed at me every day of my life simply because of the color of my skin, I imagine I would have a similar me-first, fuck everybody else attitude.
. But watching people who behave this way is not my idea of entertainment. I am sick to death of films that celebrate the anti-hero, and venerate nasty characters who don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves. (I remember first feeling this way when I saw 1988’s HEATHERS. I couldn’t understand how I was expected to have the tiniest bit of compassion for the callous, mean-spirited assholes who murdered their peers without the slightest tug on consciences they apparently didn’t have.) I’m just done with this crap. I want to see films about people trying to do the right thing, be they “good” or “bad”- not movies populated by scumbags gleefully doing rude, hurtful things that seem to indicate they believe they are the only ones on the planet of any significance. Tiresome!
. In GIMME THE LOOT, these pathetic lead characters have no sense of influence on their world, so they tag every square inch of their neighborhoods to prop up their flagging sense of self-worth. Maybe if they see their (nearly incomprehensible) tags everywhere they look they can convince themselves their desperate, empty lives have meaning. It’s ridiculous of course: taggers are weak-minded losers whose only contribution to society is to bring ugly blight to their own environment. (“Reclaiming public space”? Don’t make me laugh!) The clueless two are on a quest to raise $500 to pay off a security guard who says he can provide them access to that coveted apple- and they will stop at nothing to get the bribe, including romancing someone they claim to “love” in order to steal their jewelry case. The character even admits he would never dream of robbing his victim face to face. Being such a coward and detestable weasel, he somehow thinks it’s more acceptable to cheat, manipulate and lie to her face in order to deceive her- than to just burst in and commit a robbery. These people we are supposed to care about are despicable.
. To the film’s credit, we grow to care about them anyway, when we see that though each are pursuing other romances, the real objects of their secret affections are each other. In the best scene of the film, they tacitly admit this to one another when the guy takes his friend’s hand affectionately and she chides: “Don’t you be holdin’ my hand!” and he replies: “I’ll be holdin’ your hand whenever I damn well feel like it!”
. The end is both a let down and perfectly appropriate. It’s grown on me, but I still can’t suggest GIMME THE LOOT for the cluelessness and lack of respect shown by just about everyone in this film. Does this really reflect life in New York City? If so- New York City sucks!
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