Sunday, May 3, 2015

Powder (Victor Salva, 1995)

Hey, 1995. What's with all the slack-jawed gawking? Haven't you ever seen a guy in a fedora before? I know, it's been nearly ten years since Duckie donned his iconic old-timey chapeau in Pretty In Pink, so, it's probably been quite some time since you seen anyone outside of an old black and white movie wearing one. But still, you really need to get over your fear of fedoras, it's so unbecoming, it's so... 1995. What's that? Really? Well, I've just been informed that 1995 wasn't just staring at Jeremy 'Powder' Reed (Sean Patrick Flanery), the lead character in Powder, because he was wearing a fedora, a lot of it had to with the fact that he's so pale (and, before you ask, yes, I consider "1995" to be a sentient life form). You mean to tell me that they don't have Goths or Goth-adjacent people in this part of Texas? I mean, if Jeff Goldblum is allowed to be a science teacher, I'm sure they can deal with a rat pack reject with gothy skin. What think I'm trying to say is: I found the town's reaction to Powder's chalky complexion to be a tad over the top. However, at one point Lance Henriksen's Sheriff character does remind his Deputy (Brandon Smith), who finds Powder's ashy appearance to be off-putting, the irony of a Texas police officer being prejudiced against another human being for being too white.

Speaking of things that are ironic, anyone else find it odd that Powder's primary antagonist looked exactly like Eddie Vedder? It's true, Pearl Jam technically didn't release an album in 1995, but I think most of you will agree that no-one represents 1995 more than Eddie Vedder. And if there's one thing the Eddie Vedder's of this world hate, it's pigmentally-challenged hipsters who dress like Dean Martin circa 1955.

That, and super-smart freaks of nature who are able to cleanse, fold and manipulate the forces of the universe; they totally hate people like that.

After causing cafeteria cutlery to smoosh together of its own accord and showing a deer hunter the face of death, you would think the Eddie Vedder-aligned populace would learn that you shouldn't mess with albinos from Texas, especially one's who have memorized Moby Dick. But if they didn't, mess with them, that is, there wouldn't be a movie. And who wants to live in a world without movies like Powder? I know I sure don't. Seriously, this movie is uplifting and shit. It's like Begotten meets Edward Scissorhands, and it features Susan Tyrrell!

Not to continue to pick on 1995, but I have to say, Powder couldn't have picked a worse time to emerge from his cellar. I know, he had no way of knowing that his grandpa would was going to kick the bucket in 1995, nor did he know that 1995 going to be such an asshole. But still, 1995 is no place for... (Pigmentally-challenged hipsters who dress like Dean Martin circa 1955?) Exactly.

If Powder had, oh, let's say, emerged from his cellar in 1977, he would have been the toast of New York City. However, instead of hanging out with Andy Warhol, Little Edie and Bianca Jagger at Studio 54, Powder is stuck with a bunch of bland, non-cocaine abusing ninnies.

Anyway, after Powder's grandpa dies, Sheriff Doug Barnum (Lance Henriksen) enlists the help of Jessie Caldwell (Mary Steenburgen), who is the director of a reform school for troubled boys. (Where the fuck is the school for troubled girls?!?) I have no idea. Nevertheless, since Powder is still a minor, he's forced to live at this place, which, yep, you guessed it, is also home to Eddie Vedder and his evil band of moistly sprocketed toadies.

Accusing him of being a "vampire from outer space" and asking him if he's was kicked out of "cancer camp," Eddie Vedder makes it's clear that he doesn't like Powder from day one. And it's when Eddie Vedder tries to initiate the hairless newcomer (some stupid ritual involving a spoon), that he gives him his first taste of his Powder power.

(Hold up, you mean to tell me that Eddie Vedder gets multiple tastes of Powder's powerful Powder power?) Yeah, so? (Didn't he learn his lesson during the first demonstration?) Oh, I hear what you're saying. That's just it, the Eddie Vedder's of this world are super-stubborn. In other words, it's going to take a lot more than causing forks and spoons to collide with one another in the cafeteria of a Texas all boys reform school to quash this bully.

Allowed to attend a regular high school, Powder, using the muscles in his neck, turns his head to look at Lindsey (Missy Crider) during science class. Of course, Mr. Ripley (Jeff Goldblum), notices this, and incorporates it into his lesson plan. I was surprised Powder didn't give Mr. Ripley a look as if to say: "Uncool, bro... uncool" (in other words, cock block my chalk-covered cock again and I'll cold cock you). But since he's the kind of person who is amazed by power windows, no such look is forthcoming.

Anyone else think it was somewhat peculiar that on his first day of school Powder attends a class that boasts a demonstration of a Jacob's Ladder? Talk about your plot contrivances. Either way, Powder is zapped with enough electricity to kill five elephants. After a brief stay at the hospital, Powder is told by Ray Wise that he's a genius. When this happens, I was like, great, let's get this boy to New York City, or at the very least, Dallas. But what happens instead? Powder goes on a camping trip with Eddie Vedder. This movie is starting to make less and less sense as it goes along.

Senselessness aside, I did experience some mild wetness in and around my eye-holes during certain moments. However, in all honesty, that just means the film is good at manipulating saps who are easily moved. And manipulating saps is like shooting fish in a barrel. That being said, I ain't no sap. Meaning, it must have been my allergies that were causing my eye-holes to well up. (But you don't have any allergies.) Shut the fuck up. There's no way I'm admitting in public that I was moved to tears by a movie this maudlin. Uh-uh, it's not going to happen. Powder is a movie I watched. If you want to do the same, be my guest. Warning: The film, for the most part, does take place in 1995.


  1. I saw this when it came out and thought Powder looked like Michael Stipe and couldn't believe how dumb it was. Plus the director was supposedly a child molester.

    1. What's the Frequency Kenneth era Michael Stipe totally gets hit by lightnin' in this flick.

      You mean to tell me I chose a child molester's jam?!? (kidsinthehall)