Baghead Appreciation

The film genre called mumblecore is hit or miss: Mutual Appreciation is lovely, while Hannah Takes the Stairs is unwatchable. Baghead is a hit. Co-written and -directed by the Duplass brothers (Mark played one of Hannah’s boyfriends in HTtS), it is set not in Brooklyn or Chicago but LA (though it appears to have been filmed in Texas) and it features four wannabe actors who repair to a cabin in the woods for the weekend to write a screenplay starring themselves. Fat funny guy likes pretty ingenue, who in turn likes the older cool guy with Elvis hair, who is sleeping with aging bombshell but wants to sleep with ingenue as well but promises fat funny guy he won’t.

They get drunk, fight, flirt, and then a crazy stalker with a bag on his head shows up, at which point the film turns into No Exit meets Blair Witch Project. As with all mumblecore films, it is important to keep in mind that you’re supposed to be uncomfortable and the characters are supposed to be annoying. The meta-ness of it all will draw some predictable commentary about technology, celebrity, and the surveillance society, but I think Baghead is probably best understood as a meditation on the inadequacy of group brainstorming as a creativity-generator.

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