The FP Grabs Raves…and Puzzled Questions

  • A scene from &italThe FP&ital which won both compliments and puzzled questions at the SXSW Festival in Austin this month at its premier. You won't recognize him, but that is Lee Valmassey on the left, with the mohawk. The film is written and directed by Brandon and Jason Trost.

    Image 1 of 3
    A scene from &italThe FP&ital which won both compliments and puzzled questions at the SXSW Festival in Austin this month at its premier. You won't recognize him, but that is Lee Valmassey on the left, with the mohawk. The film is written and directed by Brandon and Jason Trost.

  • Oh dear. Sarah and brother Jason Trost shown here with what critic Eric Kohn of IndieWire says is an appropriately goofy pose during the aterparty following The FP premier at the SXSW festival." The feature is a maniacal genre spoof about Dance Dance Revolution competitors, " Kohn wrote. He also said the crew got a little carried away after chugaluging Four Loko, and almost sabotaged their own premier. [IndieWire photo]

    Image 2 of 3
    Oh dear. Sarah and brother Jason Trost shown here with what critic Eric Kohn of IndieWire says is an appropriately goofy pose during the aterparty following The FP premier at the SXSW festival." The feature is a maniacal genre spoof about Dance Dance Revolution competitors, " Kohn wrote. He also said the crew got a little carried away after chugaluging Four Loko, and almost sabotaged their own premier. [IndieWire photo]

  • Another scene from Secret Identity Productions The FP which premiered at the SXSW Festival in Austin March 14. The film was shot in Frazier Park, and created with local talent. Brandon and Jason Trost acted, directed, wrote and operated camera for the film.

    Image 3 of 3
    Another scene from Secret Identity Productions The FP which premiered at the SXSW Festival in Austin March 14. The film was shot in Frazier Park, and created with local talent. Brandon and Jason Trost acted, directed, wrote and operated camera for the film.

‘Silly, Filthy and Utterly Unique’

The talented Trost family of Lebec took their first feature film, The FP, along with Mountain Community friends and collaborators to the ultracool SXSW (South by Southwest) music and film festival for its midnight premier this week in the SXFantastic screening. "FP" stands for Frazier Park. Two rival gangs, the 248s and the 245s (Lebec and Frazier Mountain telephone exchanges, respectively) are fighting over the local park ducks…by playing a game much like Dance Dance Revolution, with deadly seriousness.

On Monday, March 14 some critics wrote reviews filled with superlatives. They spoke of the cheeky humor, deadpan dialogue and a mixture of absurdity and confidence that had ‘instant cult classic’ written all over it.

Eric Kohn of IndieWire wrote, with fondness, that the film was “shamelessly recycling the crass adrenaline rush of 1980s American blockbusters, with references to The Warriors, Robocop and many others. The FP is loud, furious and recklessly funny. Even when the relentless genre indulgences grow repetitive, the ride maintains a mad and infectious rush from one frenzied scene to another.”

But then the Trosts did something that some critics said appeared to undermine their own premier. The brothers drilled down on glorifying a “white trash” mystique for Frazier Park that mystified some reviewers as being puzzling and crass to the point of self-sabotage.

They said the waffle and Spaghetti-O sandwiches served to the crowd weren’t a problem, but the brainless chugalug contest of caffeine-enhanced alcoholic beverage Four Loko that the filmmakers indulged in onstage, before the film began, resulted in Jen Yamato from MovieLine writing, “one crew member proceeded to loudly jeer at the screen throughout the film. A few audible shushes went unheeded; by the time the credits rolled and the jovial cast and crew descended to the front of the theater for a postfilm Q&A, plenty of critics and bloggers in the audience were well past exasperated….” The Tweet examples from other critics that she included in her story were scathing.

Still, Jacob Hall of MovieFone was paying close attention. He calls The FP the leading contender for the strangest film to find its way to a movie screen in 2011: “The film’s straight-faced, high drama tone only further highlights that this is one filthy movie, filled with all kinds of awful debauchery that simply cannot be unseen. While The FP playfully tweaks with convention in its structure and story, it fills every available moment with pitchblack vulgarity, scenes and characters so deliriously wrong and offensive —but taken so seriously!—that it’s a shock to the system. The dialogue, slur and profanity-laden all of it, is strange and dense, forcing you to keep up with the wordplay.

With the economy tanking and school grades plummeting, the world of The FP often feels like a pretty damning (if not realistic) depiction of an America in ruin: a bunch of white guys fighting over their rundown podunk town using video games, thoroughly abusing the English language and treating women like objects to be won and thrown out. For all of its silliness and raunchiness The FP’s faux celebration of post-apocalyptic white trash behavior can’t help but feel like a condemnation of everyone and everything the Trost brothers find fascinating and horrifying about people in general.”

Some critics observed that the filmmakers are nearing 30 years old, reveling in the fantasies of 12-year-olds. Hall finishes by saying that The FP is the rare ‘ready-made cult hit’ that actually works. It’s an uncommon combination: a fearless, low-budget indie that’s not necessarily made for mass consumption, but made with confidence and skill by guys who grew up devouring cheesy blockbuster cinema, a love letter and a middle finger to Hollywood….”

See The New York Times interview with the Trost brothers.

See ScreenJunkies review of the "Trost family genre calling card."

—Compiled by Patric Hedlund

This is part of the March 18, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.