"Somebody Up There Likes Me": Dangerously Quirky

To promote his 1958 B-movie, Macabre, director William Castle offered audience members fake life insurance policies, and he also hired (fake) nurses to hang out in the lobby to look ominous — the gimmick being that his film might scare you to death. Nowadays, indie film directors like Bob Byington could take a page from Castle's showmanship playbook and insure people against Death By Quirk — particularly since while Castle's Macabre was not actually scary, Byington's Somebody Up There Likes Me really is dangerously quirky. Following emo-haired Max (Keith Poulson) through decades of self-absorption and bad relationship choices, there's not much else to Somebody Up There Likes Me other than quirkiness, and the movie stretches 20 minutes of story out to a still-overlong 75 minutes. Many indie-quirk guideposts are present, including but not limited to jaunty music (by a member of Vampire Weekend, naturally), gratuitous animation, equally gratuitous full-front female nudity — for such a twee film, it fails the Bechdel Test in a big way — and a mysterious glowing briefcase, because: Pulp Fiction. (Pity it's not the equally glowy briefcase of 1955's Kiss Me Deadly!) The one thing Somebody Up There Likes Me gets right, especially after under-using Kevin Corrigan, is offering up plenty of Nick Offerman. But even he can't compensate for the lethal levels of quirk.

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