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The Toad Warrior

Bellflower (2011)

Joel Hodge/2011 Sundance Film Festival

“Bellflower” is an infantile hipster fantasy about an aimless pyromaniacal gearhead with an outsized sense of entitlement. Woodrow (Evan Glodell, also the writer-director) and Aiden (Tyler Dawson) devote much of their time testing out flamethrowers and fixing up a dream ride. Recalling the trust-fund-baby art majors you know from college, they are free of practical concerns yet posture with an inauthentic air of world-weariness. In fact, the main characters here all carry out the requisites of a boho existence — such as trading a car for a motorcycle on a whim — when none of them appear to have or need a job.

Woodrow meets Milly (Jessie Wiseman) at a cricket-eating contest and becomes instantly taken with her, despite her cautioning him that she’s a wild one who’s never been tamed. On their first date, they take off from California to Texas on impulse, so she can experience the worst restaurant he’s ever dined at. But she grows bored with Woodrow — inexplicably so in the absence of rational character development. He catches her in flagrante, and out of anger sets her stuff on fire. In retaliation, she has some guy knock him unconscious and then tattoo a fake beard on his face. Afterward Woodrow sleeps with Aiden’s girlfriend (Rebekah Brandes) — class acts all around.

“Bellflower” has evidently won over a few attendees at Sundance and South by Southwest, although one shudders to think what sort of people could possibly relate to a spoiled brat like Woodrow or a vile, irresponsible piece of garbage like this film. Mr. Glodell’s sexist, one-dimensional depiction of women notwithstanding, he also seems to champion domestic abuse when justified by infidelity. On his LinkedIn profile under the education heading, Mr. Glodell claims to have earned a Ph.D. in “film, humanity, violence, conflict, love and the law” from “the mean streets” — which really explains, a lot. Here is a guy who believes that it’s cool to be an asshole and that degrading women proves one’s manhood. And unfortunately, many critics out there are apparently in agreement.


Opens on Aug. 5 in New York and Los Angeles.

Written and directed by Evan Glodell; director of photography, Joel Hodge; edited by Mr. Glodell, Mr. Hodge, Jonathan Keevil and Vincent Grashaw; produced by Mr. Grashaw and Mr. Glodell; released by Oscilloscope Laboratories. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. This film is rated R.

WITH: Evan Glodell (Woodrow), Jessie Wiseman (Milly), Tyler Dawson (Aiden), Rebekah Brandes (Courtney) and Vincent Grashaw (Mike).


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