Once again, it's Odie On Demand at Roger Ebert's Movies on Demand blog. This time, I review Beware the Gonzo, this generation's answer to 1990's superb Pump Up The Volume. That movie had Christian Slater's career best performance, and played better to me at 20 then it does at 41. I have such affection for it because, to paraphrase Dazed and Confused: I get older but my nostagia stays the same age.
Beware the Gonzo didn't engage me the way Volume did. In fact, Gonzo kind of pissed me off. You can judge for yourself if I were being overly sensitive. Here's a taste:
"Beware the Gonzo" begins with one of those flash-forwarded scenes where something from later in the film is presented to us as a means of foreshadowing. Being out of context, the scene has the tricky role of piquing the viewer's interest while not being a spoiler. It rarely works, and "Beware the Gonzo"'s opening scene is a big spoiler: a beaten up Eddie "Gonzo" Gilman (Ezra Miller) stares into a video camera and tells us that his actions have cost him his best friends, made him lose his girl, gotten him kicked out of school, and almost caused the divorce of his parents (played nicely by Campbell Scott and Amy Sedaris). This is supposed to be an apology to all those he has wronged, but instead, it's one of those politician mea culpas, a whiny "my bad if you were upset" speech that never forgets to be more about its subject than atoning for his wrongdoings. Out of context, it seemed pathetic, but I was willing to grant that I didn't have the entire speech at my disposal. However, it hung over the movie, and as I met the interesting and trusting characters, dread crept in; I kept waiting for the moment when Gonzo would stop being the likeable character he is for much of the film and turns into this destructive monster.