Trash Fire

Entourage’s Adrian Grenier plays Owen, a surly, selfish douche, wiped clean of any trace of Vince’s trademark charm, a man seemingly incapable of love or commitment who makes you wonder just what his girlfriend sees in him. Turns out, his girlfriend Isabel (Angela Trimbur) has begun to think the same, and attempts an anniversary breakup that’s only interrupted thanks to Owen’s inconvenient seizure. She dutifully nurses him back to health but is only rewarded by more of his blunt thoughtlessness when she finds out she’s trash-with-fire-movie-2.jpgpregnant. “Get an abortion” he says, and she agrees, because who’d want to have a baby with him? But he has a change of heart and she agrees to consider it if only he’ll finally introduce her to his surviving family members – a grandmother and a sister he hasn’t spoken to since his parents’ funeral.

Turns out, his parents died in a house fire that was accidentally set by him. His little sister  (AnnaLynne McCord) was badly burned but survived. The guilt is eating at him (and maybe making him a less than awesome person to be around) but not quite enough to go back and get the sister he abandoned to his mean grandma. Grandma, it turns out, is a hellacious bitch and played with delicious abandon by Fionnula Flanagan.

Director Richard Bates Jr. has a bone to pick with religion and he’s not in the mood to be subtle about it. Everyone will have their turn to squirm underneath his unrelenting magnifying glass, like they’re the ants and he’s the little boy MV5BMTEzMTU1Njg2MDleQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDcwMTAxNDcx__V1_UY268_CR229,0,182,268_AL_.jpggleefully catching them all on fire. Trash Fire has its roots in horror of course, a fact that constantly slithers up and down your spine, especially when AnnyLynne McCord tiptoes into the bedrooms of the sleeping guests with nothing but a ghostly white nightie and a shotgun.

Fantasia Festival programmer Mitch Davis described this as a “venomous black comedy” and director Bates echoed that, doubting we’d see “a darker comedy this year.” Flanagan accounts for much of that, with her acid tongue, shrewd timing, and zealotry so self-righteous it’s literally masturbatory. Bates exorcizes some major demonage on-screen, calling it “the most personal and fucking weird therapy session” but feels ready to be a good husband to his new fiancée now (they got engaged at Sundance). Can the same be said about his tumultuous lead character, Owen? I can’t give away all his secrets, but I will say this. That ending? You’re going to need a good stiff drink.

17 thoughts on “Trash Fire

  1. reocochran

    Jay, I like quirky movies but this seems a little off-putting in its darkness. The plot sounds really bizarre. I hope they don’t try to tie it all up since that would be “a tough pill to swallow!” (Is this where the stiff drink comes in?) Great review leaving you with an impression of the film, but undecided about viewing it. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jay Post author

      Well it’s not something I can easily endorse. I will be offensive to some, and it’s tough to watch. And the ending really does its horror roots proud, but it’s abrupt and nasty.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bun Karyudo

    I can never tell with black comedies. I either seem to love them or hate them. Perhaps it depends a little on whether they just seem nasty for the sake of it or if there’s any underlying point to the humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ruth

    So this is a comedy/horror/romance? Not sure I’m interested in this one, ahah I think I’m w/ the commenter above ‘calensariel’ that I’d rather watch ‘Persuasion’ again 🙂 I haven’t seen Adrian Grenier in anything besides an episode or two of Entourage.

    Liked by 1 person


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