As a fan of Greek tragedy, I’ve always been drawn to a Flawed Hero. And in Joel Potrykus’ BUZZARD, we get our Flawed Hero with Marty Jackitansky. No, it’s not Polish. Yes, he’s sure. He’s also sick of barely getting by at his temp job.
In a weird amalgamation of a young man equal parts Napoleon Dynamite and Beavis and Butthead, we get Marty (Joshua Burge). With the mentality of a scavenger, he’s happy to play original NES all day and listen to metal, but he is tired of his day to day existence, paycheck to paycheck as a measly temp at a mortgage firm. And like with any scavenger, when feeling backed into a corner, he lashes out.
Having probably seen movies about con artists, but not learning anything from them, Marty starts out small by ordering office supplies from his job and then returning them to the local store for cash. Opportunity comes for a bigger score when his birthday check from his mom is signed to the wrong kid. Just sign it over to the right name and cash it. After being put in charge of refund checks at his work, he gets an idea to do just that with bigger money.
Not thinking things through and telling his loose lipped co-worker Derek (director Potrykus) about his plans, he finds himself immediately in hot water and decides to go on the run. Armed with a backpack of a few clothes, his NES controller, and his recent invention of a Nintendo Power Glove equipped with Freddy Krueger claws, he sets out on the lam.
Burge does a great job of showing us all aspects of Marty’s character. He’s sarcastic and not the best friend, but you get a glimmer of someone trying to rise up, but it’s quickly dashed by Marty’s quick lashing out and living for the moment attitude. Potrykus as Derek is amusing, as the guy that just wants to be cool, but for every effort removes himself from that status more. His Party Zone basement is proof of this, but also adds to some of the more hilarious scenes.
As a director, Potrykus doesn’t just aim for a comedy, or a horror film, but as an overall character study, he allows scenes to linger, giving us a whole tableau to take in, rather than force feeding us character points. This allows for the film to be more of a personal experience, even though the characters for the most part aren’t entirely likable. Similar to the Showtime version of Shameless, we get characters that aren’t the best people, but we want them to get to a better place despite their constant ability to fuck up any good thing.
BUZZARD opens in theaters and on VOD March 6th, 2015.