CAPSULE: THE CASSEROLE MASTERS (200?)

Weirdest!

DIRECTED BY: J. William Carter (Billy Carter?)

FEATURING: Billy Carter, Larry McKellen, Bobby Cilantro, Stevie Dawson, Jimmy Howitzer

PLOT: None.

Still from The Casserole Masters

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It’s certainly weird enough, but, although some of the animated sequences show talent, the live-action sequences are too amateurish, and more annoying than bizarre.

COMMENTS:  I’m going to resist the temptation to start out this review with quips at the expense of the makers of The Casserole Masters, and instead give you some useful advice (for a change).  Load up the movie (embedded below) and immediately skip to 24:30 for a short lecture by “Molcok the Owl” on the afterlife.  It sounds like footage from a Scientology question and answer session, as the mild-mannered, mystical bird describes his visit to the interstellar Hall of Mirrors, a journey illustrated with swirling psychedelic patterns and egg-shaped spacecraft and sausages.  If you enjoyed that, and maybe even if you didn’t, skip forward again to 52:05 (you’ll know you’re at the right spot when you see the proscenium floating in a blood red sky) for the strangest video Christmas card ever filmed, scored to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and featuring a silent snowy forest, kaleidoscopic peppermint colored backgrounds, festive mushrooms, and a vintage Santa who bleeds from his eyes.  These two short worthwhile segments, both animated, rescue The Casserole Masters from the “beware” rating it would otherwise earn.  If I had tried to watch Masters from the beginning, without being obliged to review it, I would have given up within five minutes, because the rest of  the movie looks like home video of some Dadaist frat boys noodling around on a Saturday afternoon.  Recurring characters include a guy with a magic-marker mustache, Burger King crown, and a lobotomized smile, and another character who repeatedly babbles about being Batman; they stand in a room and giggle stupidly and howl abuse at each other.  All voices are electronically speeded up or slowed down to maximize the irritation factor.  The largest role goes to a sheriff with a shaving cream beard who delivers monologues praising religion and denouncing drugs, and plays a “knife game” with a tied-up prostitute in pasties and plastic trash-bag panties.  An authority figure preaching virtue while practicing depravity: yawn.  For the climax we learn the casserole recipe, which involves tentacles in oil and a wiener.  The live-action segments look like footage Harmony Korine rejected for Trash Humpers as too repetitive and annoying.  And yet, as insufferable as the live action scenes are, the “animated” sequences—which are just cutout images manipulated very simply, but effectively, with zooms and pans to create the illusion of movement—are interesting, reminiscent of a slower paced, weirder, and less witty iteration of Terry Gilliam‘s animation work for Monty Python.  The animations are scattered throughout the movie, sometimes laid over the filmed material, but Casserole only heats up in those two extended segments cited above.  Stretching for something else to praise, I’ll mention that the synthesized score by Blue Fiction is actually very good.  Still, there’s about ten minutes of worthwhile material buried inside of seventy minutes of avant-garde dreck.  It may work reasonably well as background wallpaper for an acid trip, though, which may well be Casserole Masters intended route of ingestion.

We’ve embedded the video below for your convenience, but we found the playback on blip.tv to be sporadic, particularly if you try to use the slider to fast forward the movie. If you’re having trouble watching the embedded video you can try viewing it on the Casserole Masters homepage. It may also help playback if you let the file load on the page for a while before hitting “play.” Good luck!

16 thoughts on “CAPSULE: THE CASSEROLE MASTERS (200?)”

  1. Suggestion: Perhaps it is simply not your cup of tea to enjoy Dadist, nihilistic surrealism? As you mentioned Harmony Korine. Isn’t this perhaps an actual chance to put it in the list? Its pretty damn weird enough. I think the whole other thing is merely a matter of taste. Some people get Harmony Korine, and some don’t. Not a matter of who’s wrong or right, but simply of tastes, in my opinion.

    1. Korine already has a movie on the List: Gummo, and I’m not against putting another of his movies or something similarly Dadaistic there if it deserves it. I didn’t find the live action sequences of Casserole Masters as good as Korine’s work, but if you liked Trash Humpers (which is still a candidate for the List, despite my personal dislike), you may like this more than I did. I’d be surprised if there were a big groundswell in support of Casserole Masters, but it’s here for everyone to watch and judge for themselves. You have no excuse!

  2. This is the first time I ever felt the need to chime in on a review @ this site.
    I have to say that I think you have possibly misunderstood the filmmaker’s intent.
    I just watched the entire thing, I was going to skip ahead, but I didn’t.
    And I thought, from beginning to end, it was one of the most irreverent and hilarious things I’ve ever seen. Every last second was a feast of anti-establishment mockery, to me at least, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.
    I find it hard to believe that whoever made didn’t know exactly what they were doing.
    I’ve seen almost every film currently on the list, and I think that was bar-none, one the weirdest and funniest things I’ve ever seen.
    I fell out of my chair when the “handicapped” kid starting banging the hot dog against his naughty bits.

  3. This is the first time I’ve ever felt the need to chime in on a review posted at this site.
    I have to say that I was going to skip ahead as you suggested, but I didn’t
    I just watched the entire thing beginning to end and I have no option but to come to the conclusion that I think you have completely misunderstood the filmmakers intent.
    I find it hard to believe that whoever made that didn’t know exactly what they were doing. I thought it was one of the funniest and most irreverent things I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen almost every film reviewed on this site.
    This is an anti-establishment film of the highest caliber and deserves a place on the list.

  4. I saw this movie at a screening in a gallery in Brooklyn, and am REALLY surprised to see it pop up on this site! I think its far more tolerable than Trash Humpers, which I couldn’t sit through personally. I am glad to see that you’ve made note of the animation sequences and the superbly strange and ominous soundtrack. I think your list however is too broad to incorporate this movie. Compared to Clockwork Orange, Brazil, Inland Empire, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, actually almost everything that has actually made it on your list, this underground art film is going to seem amateurish. I guess to me half the movies on your list aren’t weird they’re imaginative. But for some people those words are synonymous. Where’s Videodrome or Conspirators of Pleasure? seriously, Barton Fink?? sigh…..

  5. I was giggling all the way through your review…you’re funny!! I am confident that this movie would not be my cup of tea…but I do love to read what other people have to say about it.

  6. That is the WORST excuse for a film that I’ve ever seen
    arguably the most messed up movie ever made
    I feel like the brunt of a sadistic practical joke right now
    They have to be criminally insane

  7. Crappy filmmaking/acting several steps BELOW ‘amateurish’ is NOT “Dadaist surrealistic nihilism”, just as unfunny comedies do NOT count as “satire”.

    Nice try ‘Caleb Moss’ and ‘Rich Penders’, but you gotta improve your game as Internet Plants on review sites — when the evidence is accessible to the readers/viewers, at least PRETEND that they have a brain and can call bullshit when they see it.

    1. Caleb is not a plant. He’s been around the site quite a while, and I suspect he was more moved to comment by my reference to Korine than by anything else.

      “Penders” may well be a shill; his two postings 15 minutes apart came from two different IP addresses, both of which have been associated with forum spamming.

      All these responses—for a film that has been out for at least a year but has never been reviewed anywhere before and has no buzz—are kind of odd. But I thought I’d let it play itself out. If the cast and crew are commenting on the film, so be it; I think people can see through it and, as you point out, all the evidence of the film’s quality is right there for everyone to judge.

  8. I will probably agree this is a bit amateur to probably put on the list among the others. But somehow, I found it just charming. The live-actions sequences, while I will agree do not always strike a chord, are at times rather amusing. I just didn’t find it as necessarily annoying, rather than just plain fun. But yes, the best thing to note about this movie is the animated parts, and the soundtrack. And sorry to LRonHubbard that my opinion may of lead him to think I was a “plant”. I simply was questioning some aspects of “taste” when related to reviewing the overall content of the film. 🙂

  9. Wow, I’m highly amused by this.
    I’ve been using this site for a few years,
    and I’ve definitely discovered and enjoyed some great movies that I surely would not have stumbled across otherwise.
    I think that this particular film left me with a lot to think about.
    There is a certain anger behind the cynicism of what is being displayed.
    I mean, on the surface it’s clearly so juvenile and stupid that the desired effect MUST have been to focus on people who think they know everything and bugger them to no end.
    Gentlemen, I would say in that regard this film is particularly effective. 🙂
    Cheers!

  10. My friend Tyler used to be obsessed with this movie
    I never saw it though
    I’m afraid to watch this now
    LRob will yell at me and make me feel stupid if I like it?

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