Greetings! ScoreKeeper here preparing to do something I've never done before as a writer at Ain't It Cool News...review a film! As the signature scribe for all things film music related I always just stick to the tunes and let the other writers handle the film reviews; however, I was privy to a new movie that has some filmmusic-related ties to it and thought I'd give it a whirl.
Last year I reported that one of the best soundtrack labels in the world, Film Score Monthly, was going to close up shop. It is still true and it is still sad news. I believe they have one title left to release after which Film Score Monthly will be no more. As I stated in my announcement, FSM is like the Criterion Collection of the soundtrack world. They release scores of masterworks and give tons of care and attention to present it with the very best sound quality along with expertly written liner notes and packaging worthy of royalty. I have at least a couple hundred FSM titles in my personal collection and will be sad to see them go.
The founder and owner of Film Score Monthly is Lukas Kendall. When I talked to him last year about his decision to leave the business I was curious what was in store for a soundtrack producer extraordinaire. The answer surprised me.
Lukas Kendall is becoming a filmmaker. It's not unusual for anybody based in LA to take a whack at filmmaking. So many people do it. However, it's not often that a figure so ensconced in the soundtrack world attempts to transition to film. My curiosity was piqued.
Kendall's debut film, which he co-wrote and co-produced with Robert Nathan (LAW AND ORDER, ER) ironically, has no film score whatsoever. It's a "found-footage" film about the porn industry called LUCKY BASTARD. (2013). The film stars Jay Paulson (MAD MEN), Don McManus, Catherine Annette (FEMME FATALES), and Betsy Rue as the porn star diva Ashley.
The film attempts to delve into the seedy underworld of the porn industry and bring to light the levels at which society stoops in order for quick entertainment. Don McManus portrays pornographer Mike who oversees a web site called Lucky Bastard. The site invites every day blokes to apply to have sex with a famous porn star on camera. When innocent "aw-shucks" porn fan Dave (Jay Paulson) is selected as the next "lucky bastard" not everything goes according to plan.
While I admit that the "found-footage" genre is a tough one to do right, I still believe in its power and effectiveness as a medium for storytelling. There is a visceral impact to these films that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. In the case of LUCKY BASTARD, there is inherent interest that rides on the sheer fascination and curiosity of the porn industry itself. The first act of the film is extremely successful in luring in its audience with torrid glimpses of what goes on behind-the-scenes of a porn film or web site. As the plot thickened and we venture into act two, the level of curiosity heightens as our "peephole" into the world of porn expands with the introduction and development of Dave and his relationship with Ashely whom he is about to have sex with on camera. It's volunteerism exploitation at its worst (best?) establishing the culpability of society as purveyors of such exploits.
The performances overall are quite convincing. You rarely lose sight that this is indeed a "found-footage" film, or in this case, it's culled from footage taken while producing a porn movie for a web site. They're natural enough to believe that this footage was indeed intended for such an exhibition.
While the medium seems to be running ground while risking cliché, LUCKY BASTARD takes the premise into new directions.
There will be a free screening of LUCKY BASTARD on Feburary 4th at 7:30PM at the Writers Guild of America Theater in Beverly Hills, California. Seating is limited and tickets are free but you must RSVP to reserve your spot.
Who knows, maybe you'll be the next LUCKY BASTARD…