By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
I always love a Bill Leon review. He’s a writer with a particular passion for certain types of movies, and you know when you read a review of his, you’re going to learn some shit. So, when he told me he was going to review a flick outside his usual thematic wheelhouse, Magic Magic, not because he liked it, but because he hated it sooo much, I was automatically intrigued. What does that have to do with Crystal Fairy, you might ask?
Well, the two are both directed by Chilean provocateur Sebastian Silva, both star an unusually douchey Michael Cera, and both revolve around trippin’ balls. Oh, and they were shot at the same time. I’ve only seen one of the two, and I still can’t keep them straight. Crystal Fairy is about…
No, it’s not the True Hollywood Story of the Tooth Fairy’s harrowing addiction and infatuation with replacing her teeth with perfect little baby ones…
Cera and three Chilean dudes going to the beach to cook up some San Pedro (psychoactive cactus). A wrench is thrown in their plans when hipster/hippie extraordinaire and self-dubbed Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman) is invited along.
I admit, this flick has a peculiar, meandering rhythm to it that takes a bit of time to sync up with. The mix of realistic vibe and absurdity makes for a kind of heightened reality for the movie to operate in, which I started to really dig (nope, I wasn’t high). Thematically, the funny, acerbic satire of entitled American tourists wandering about of the first part of the film gives way to a heartfelt portrait of growth, which was also strange, but cool.
Most people’s entree into the film will likely be Michael Cera’s presence, though, and he couldn’t be more perfectly cast as the yuppie/hipster asshole who you can’t really bring yourself to hate. Gaby Hoffman nabbed an Indie Spirit Award nomination for her role, and it’s easy to see why, as she herself goes from just about the most insufferable wanna-be mystical hippie goddess imaginable to a deeply sympathetic character. The three brothers who accompanied them, who were apparently the director’s actual brothers, also acquit themselves well, and the soundtrack is aces.
A last toast goes to the drug sequence itself, not that I would know what taking San Pedro is like or anything…
I was expecting some sort of stereotypical kaleidoscopic, Fear & Loathing bullshit to take place, but I honestly started to wander if Silva didn’t just get everybody super high on San Pedro for this scene, because it nails the effects of the drug. Again, not that I would know…
Sometimes the movie is just being odd for the sake of being odd. Like when Cera stares at a turd of his that didn’t flush for like 10 seconds.
Yes, his surname is Brown, but besides some behavioral similarities, I don’t think the turd is any relation to Chris
I’m also not sure there’s that huge of message here, outside of maybe “Wow, drugs do make you a better person, kids!”
There’s a build up to a reveal that’s supposed to be a big twist or something, but basically just makes no damn sense in relation to the character (especially after said character already had one highly emotional scene that worked just fine as a surprising explanation for their fucked-upedness). Also, I really didn’t need to see that particular picture, thanks.
If you’re see-sawing between watching Magic Magic and Crystal Fairy, definitely go for this one. Otherwise, if you want an oddball, surprisingly tender indie flick experience, this will do the trick.
Take a Drink: whenever somebody does drugs, of course
Take a Drink: when real life is trippy enough without them
Do a Shot: for intense body hair action