The first movie I ever walked out on was Trapped in Paradise, starring Nic Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey. I was 19, and I’d finally realized that paying $3.50 in admission didn’t obligate me to sit and suffer. I paid them; they weren’t paying me. And no one should have to suffer through the cinematic comedy stylings of Nic Cage and Dana Carvey. George Gallo wrote and directed Trapped in Paradise, and this week, Gallo and I met again, this time with similar results.
I made it 37 minutes in before concluding that I liked Trapped in Paradise better.
Local Color walks the same formula that every other student/mentor film has ever marched — Mentor is an asshole. Student is raw but talented. Mentor, usually retired, is skeptical and stand-offish initially, but warms up to student. Student learns a lot about his trade; mentor finds his soul. Life lessons are learned by all. Mentor usually dies. Oh la dee. Oh la da. In Local Color the prodigy in question is a painter (Trevor Morgan) based on the early life of Gallo himself and the mentor (Armin Mueller-Stahl), I assume, is based on the artist George Cherepov. It’s set in 1974, and the film — chock full of earnest voice-over narration — is something akin to a really bad episode of “The Wonder Years” crossed with an ABC Family movie. It’s hokey, lifeless, and contains more platitudes than a customized bumper-sticker and mug store in the mall.
How bad is Local Color, a movie that’s been sitting on the shelf for two years now? Well, despite the fact it was released in 22 cities, apparently I’m one of only a small handful of critics who bothered filing a review, and even I couldn’t get through half of it. And poor George Gallo — who wrote Bad Boys and Wise Guys — had to stoop to writing his own iMDB synopsis of the film. The description is about as cornball as the film itself:
A successful artist looks back with loving memories on the summer of his defining year, 1974. A talented, but troubled eighteen year old art student befriends an elderly alcoholic genius painter who has turned his back on not only art, but life. The two form, what appears to be at first a tenuous relationship. The kid wants to learn all the secrets the master has locked away inside his head and heart. Time has not been kind to the old master. His life appears pointless to him until the kid rekindles his interest in his work and ultimately gives him the will to live. Together, they give one another a priceless gift. The kid learns to see the world through the master’s eyes. And the master learns to see life through the eyes of innocence again. This story is based on a real life experience.
If you read that aloud while playing a cheap, Hallmark Moments score in the background, you’ve pretty much experienced what it’s like to watch Local Color, minus Ron Perlman as a flaming art dealer and Ray Liotta — defying typecasting! — as the homophobic, abusive father.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives withi his wife and son in Portland, Maine You can reach him via email, or leave a comment below.
Local Color / Dustin Rowles
Film | December 10, 2008 | Comments ()