Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Janitor (TJ Nordaker and Andy Signore, 2003)

Custodian. Janitor. Custodian. Janitor. Never has the discrepancy between what a particular group calls themselves and what others choose to call said particular group been so vast. It goes something like this: Custodians call each other "custodians." Taking a, "will you drink my jizz, so that the feds won't pin a grisly hooker homicide on me," approach to friendship, custodians look out for one another. Non-custodians, however, bristle whenever they hear the word "custodian." And after they have finished bristling, they inevitably get around to contradicting you by calling you a "janitor." This, what I like to call, custodial-janitorial linguistic showdown, has been going on for decades, if not centuries, and it's thoroughly examined in a highly intelligent manner in the cartoonishly gory The Janitor; the reason, by the way, the film, directed by TJ Nordaker and Andy Signore, wasn't called "The Custodian" probably had something to do with the fact that there are more non-custodians than custodians in this film. And, don't forget, while the film's target audience is mostly made up of card-carrying members the custodian community, the bulk of the people who will no doubt go out of their way to seek this film out probably don't know what a custodian does exactly. So, it makes sense, from a marketing point-of-view, to call the film "The Janitor," as it simplifies things for the mouth-breathing segment of the population.

The inherent conflict between custodians and non-custodians is the central crux of this film's thesis. Saddled with the task of fleshing out this thesis are: A psychotic, lovesick custodian who dreams of svelte redheads with pale knees and a life devoid of mopping up improperly expelled piss; a gorgeous, non-custodian sorority girl with jet black hair and a huge mouth who must decide which cock she wants her exalted pussy to repeatedly holster for the next five to ten minutes; and a janitor who lives in a cramped supply closet who desperately wants things to remain the same.

In my mind, it's these three characters that drive The Janitor towards its unavoidable conclusion (the fact that this film has to end eventually pained me greatly), yet the film has so much more to offer in terms of eliciting pathos and crass humour, I fear my words won't be able to do the film justice.

Isn't it ironic that a film that is filled with so much bloodshed would turn out to be so life affirming? (How the fuck should I know? I'm just waiting for you to start gushing over the startling uniqueness that is Stephanie Christine Medina, a woman who is without a doubt the personification of alluring.) Don't worry, I'll get to her in a second.

Sometimes, improperly expelled piss doesn't need to be moped off the floor. That's because the piss is being expelled on you. While cleaning the floor in one of the rest rooms at the Generico Corporation in Encino, California with a toothbrush, Lionel (Andy Signore) is accidentally peed on by an office drone. Accident or not, Lionel decides to teach the sloppy urinator a lesson. Doing what anyone would do if they were covered with pee at a time when they didn't want to be covered with pee, Lionel takes sloppy urinator outside, ties him to a chair and sets him on fire.

Establishing early on that he is someone you not only don't want to pee on, but someone you clearly don't want to fuck with, we also learn that Lionel is a bit of a dreamer. Telling his fellow custodian, Cornelius Hornsby Growbo (Bruce Cronander), in their cramped cleaning closet/home that he wants more out of life, Lionel, despite his habit ripping people's limbs off at the slightest provocation (Troma's Lloyd Kaufman loses both arms in this fashion), is just like you and me. Only problem being, Mr. Growbo is so into being a custodian, that he dismisses Lionel's dreams as wishful thinking.

Part of Lionel's campaign to get more out of life involves wooing a pale-kneed goddess named Hillary (Fiona McIntyre), a redheaded office drone he has a crush on. While I doubt the reason she was cast had nothing to do with the exquisite paleness of her knees, Fiona McIntyre gives the closest thing to a real performance in this movie. Or maybe it seemed "real" because she's the only one who seemed genuinely concerned that a serial killer is targeting her co-workers. Who knows. All I know is I liked the way she moved her head when she recited dialogue and thought the little clips she wore in her hair that prevented loose strands from flopping across her face were adorable.

As you would expect, Hillary has no idea Lionel exists. Of course, Hillary's more outgoing co-worker/reliably brunette friend Mary (the lovely Crystal LeBard), causes trouble by telling Lionel that Hillary will meet her in the park after work. Not realizing that this is all a joke at his expense, Lionel waits in the park for what seems like hours. A frustrated Lionel takes out his anger on a couple of punks spray painting a nearby wall (Lionel covers over their graffiti using the blood from one of the punk's severed arms) and a lanky prostitute (he ejaculates sperm in her mouth as he cuts her head off - it's not as gross as it sounds, oh, wait, yes it is).

Close to being caught--an F.B.I. agent, Agent Page (Skip Pipo), is sending his semen sample to be analyzed at the lab as speak--Lionel finds an ally in Mr. Grobow, who decides to help the bearded custodian during his time of need. (Don't tell me, Mr. Growbo manages to somehow prevent the semen sample - "we have got to stop that semen!" - from making it to the lab?) Let's just say the mouth of the dead prostitute isn't only oral cavity to experience the salty bouquet that is Lionel's unjust jizz on this day. (Um, eww? How are they going to explain the missing spunk?) Don't worry, Lionel is way ahead of you. By the way, when Lionel spits on his hand to make it easier for him to jerk off the unconscious F.B.I. agent they stole the semen sample from, I think I might have let out a girlish giggle.

It's weird, being janitors and all, you would think Lionel and Mr. Growbo would have the custodial fortitude to realize that they're might still be some traces of Lionel's jizz in the vial after Mr. Grobow drank from it. Well, anyway, the old sperm switcheroo trick should buy Lionel some time. Actually, mixing sperm together would taint results, leaving Lionel in the clear. So, as they might say in Australia, no worries, mate.

The alliance between Lionel and Mr. Growbo is short-lived, as Lionel decides to apply for a job at the TNA sorority house. You know what that means, right? (This decision jeopardizes Lionel and Mr. Growbo's friendship?) No. Well, actually, yeah, it does. But it also introduces us to Glory. Who is Glory, you ask? Why, she's only the funniest character in The Janitor universe.

For some strange reason, Glory's funniest moment was deleted from the movie. However, you can find it in the "deleted scenes" on the DVD. When, I think it was, TNA member Bree (Kelly S. King), says, when describing Lionel: "He's kinda creepy." Stephanie Christine Medina replies without missing a beat, "Kinda? He's way creepy." You can't teach comic timing like this, it's innate. And Miss Medina is a natural comedian. In addition to being funny, she's bumpy in all the right places.

Thanks to circumstances beyond his control, Lionel doesn't get the job at TNA. Meaning, he's going to miss out on the sorority pillow fights. Yikes, I can see why TNA would need a janitor, the place must get covered with feathers on a daily basis.

Forget about cleaning up feathers, he's not going to be able to savour the sight of Stephanie Christine Medina dodging pillows in nothing but a red bra and panties.

If Lionel's not going to savour this, who is? I'd rather not spoil the surprise. But let's just say Lionel feels betrayed. Don't feel too bad for Lionel, there's still plenty of office drones to butcher back at Generico. (Like who?) Remember Hillary's reliably brunette friend? (Mary?) Yeah, her. You could totally kill her. And she's always hanging out with that clown Robbie (Logan Christopher), the office "mail boy," so, you could off him, too. Of course, if you need help killing all these people, you could always ask Willis (John Carreon, who also acts as the film's director of photography), the office's newest janitor, to help out; I have learned over the years that guys who masturbate onto dying squirrels are always willing to lend a hand in a pinch, and Willis is no different in that regard (he even gets an '80s-style training montage to signify the progress he makes as Lionel's protege).

Now, you would think that a film with such a low budget wouldn't be able to afford the amount of fake blood necessary given how many people are slaughtered in this movie. Wrong. Blood is cheap. In other words, let the fire-hose quality arterial spray fly. The so-called "sorority house massacre" scene is an orgy of violence; it's also an orgy of orgy in a way, as Glory takes two cocks in her vagina at once (you go, girl! - and by "go," I mean stuff that juicy hole of yours with an extra helping of cock, you wide-mouthed angel, you). Like most people, I first heard the word "custodian" in The Breakfast Club. (Your point being?) No point. I'm just stating a fact. Anyway, if you like over the top gore, semen humour, films that feature cameos by Lloyd Kaufman and Judah Friedlander, svelte redheads with pale knees, lippy brunettes with large breasts and equally large comedic chops, kung-fu fights that involve plungers, then you need see this movie, and you need to get your head examined. I mean, seriously, consult a brain doctor immediately.


  1. I worked as a janitor over two summers. I needed the money. Fortunately the building we were cleaning was closed for the summer (a school), so I didn't have to be around any office drones. But the professional janitors, all approaching middle-age, were extremely hateful and bitter toward every living thing, including themselves. They especially hated each other. I think they "wanted something more" out of life at one point. But that didn't work out and now they were cleaning fucking bathrooms and polishing floors in a public middle school. Well, they did enough work to squeak by. Fortunately we started work way early in the morning and were done by 3:00pm. So the homicidal and suicidal vibes they were giving off couldn't infect me for too long. Plus I just went back to school. It was definitely an eye opening experience. I think this movie is the kind of stuff they dreamed about.

    But I would rather hang out with those guys than the 20-something office drones from those years when I actually worked in a government office in Washington DC. That is the True Face of Evil.

    1. I had no idea a movie called "The Janitor" would elicit such a fitting anecdote. I should review more movies about psychotic custodians. ;)

  2. Probably my favorite review of the movie. Bravo. -TJ