A Family Finds Entertainment

2004, 42 min, color, sound

Dennis Cooper writes in Artforum: "If A Family Finds Entertainment can be reduced to a thumbnail description, this might be it: Trecartin stars as Skippy, a clownish but terrifyingly psychopathic boy who has locked himself in the upstairs bathroom of his family home during a wild party. Ignoring his siblings' and friends' pleas that he come out, he paces the little room, cutting himself with a knife and musing opaquely on his existential dilemma in a kind of King Lear-style delirium. Downstairs, the partiers are experiencing wild mood-swings and having complex, disassociated conversations (mostly about him) that are constantly interrupted by bursts of visual effects and animated sequences that disorient the cast of characters like so many lightening strikes. Eventually Skippy emerges, borrows money from his creepy, sexually inappropriate parents, and heads outdoors, where he runs into a documentary filmmaker who decides to make a movie about him; but then Skippy is immediately hit by a car and, apparently, killed. Back inside the house, a hyperactive girl named Shin, also played by Trecartin, gets a call on her cell phone with the bad news. She spends twenty or so hysteria-filled minutes trying to focus and construct a sentence linear enough to tell her friends what has happened. When she finally does, a band plays music that seems to magically raise the young man from the dead, and everyone runs outside and sets off fireworks. Then everyone runs back inside before the police show up.

"A wonder of Trecartin's videos is that his approach seems as intuitive and driven by a mad scientist-style tunnel vision as it is rigorous and sophisticated, grounded in his expert editing and inordinate gift for constructing complex avant-garde narratives."

Camera: Ryan Trecartin, Liz Hostetler, Leeanne Williams, Betsy Lindell, Butttoaster Brainmonkey, Rhett LaRue, Laura Colella.

Cast: Kelly Pittinger - Little Lisa; Aunt Shell - Big Lisa; Veronika Gelbaun - Veronika; Catlin Macbride - Alarmtina; Rachel Glazer - Misunderstood Muddy Girl; Erin Dunn - Patty May; Asher Penn - Asher/Green Whity; Ben Carlson - Ben/Blue Bubble D/Jane; Rhett LaRue - Visionary Shell Man/Pippy Pappy/Johnathon; Roaja LaRue - Malkie; Taya Koschnick - Drag Queen; Megan - Middle Child Girl; Lizzie Fitch - Cosmos Bitch/Linda/ Fisher Woman/Orange Tamber; Lindsay Beebe - Little Boogerface/Blueberry Muffin/Hell Boy; Kathleen Brennan - Michelella; Steve Vallet - Number Sex; Barkev - Garbage Face Rusty Nails Boy, Smiley; Patrick Tompson - Lipstick; Brian Mckelligott ? Dough Boy/Fireman/Dork/Mr America; Jesse Greenberg - Helium Twin B/Punky Ratman/Tzar; Nick Payne - Helium Twin A; Kenny Curran - White Lips Bloody Knees/Ed/Tamber; Annette K. Bonin - Mom; Aarin Jungles -Daaaad; Laura Callela - Documentary Video Artist Zoey Spelling; Jessica Williams - California Raisin Girl; Allison Powell - Phalangena; Will Gurly - Dameon; Drew Gillespie - Jaime; Brent Cowely - Bruce; Ethan Hayes Chute - Buddy/Smokey the Bear; Casey Glover - Sklar Stardust/Jasmine Spooner; Mutty Brant - The Married Virgin; Ryan Trecartin - Shin/Skippy/Closet Monster/Booty Girl/Snowy White Girl/Video Face. Credits: Lizzie Fitch.


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