Underground Film Journal

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Movie Review: Trailer Town

By Mike Everleth ⋅ February 6, 2003

Old man holding a shotgun

One wishes that Giuseppe Andrews‘ films came with extensive behind-the-scenes “Making of…” featurettes. They inspire so many questions about the filmmaker’s intentions, shooting process and actor’s histories. Alas, as of right now, his movies are not available on DVD. Maybe if they are ever distributed in that format, such invaluable bonus material will be included for baffled viewers.

After declaring Giuseppe’s first film, In Our Garden, as my “2002 Movie of the Year,” I was quite anxious to see his follow-up feature. I remember watching In Our Garden for the first time at the New York Underground Film Festival hardly believing my eyes and ears. Using a cast of trailer park residents, Giuseppe had crafted a bittersweet love story with some of the most over-the-top, vulgar dialogue ever spewed. (“You smell like you just ate a cum-filled burrito” is still a classic.)

With Trailer Town, Giuseppe returns to the same territory, somewhat quite literally. I can’t say for certain if both films were shot in the exact same trailer park — tho’ I would have to assume they are — but both films do feature mostly the same cast, even if the two main actors of In Our Garden, Gayle Wells and Walt Longo, are cast in small supporting roles.

The same shooting/editing technique is also employed, in which the actors only say a line or two before the scene is chopped with an abrupt jump-cut. More importantly, the same reprehensible dialogue is employed throughout the film — and not only is it the same, there is much, much more of it and it’s even filthier and more disgusting.

I don’t know what I would have made of Trailer Town if I hadn’t seen In Our Garden first. At least In Our Garden was tempered by the charming Gayle Wells. While I was watching that film, I couldn’t help but to think how did Giuseppe get a nice older woman to say such despicable things.

A few gals do have roles in Trailer Town — including Gayle in too brief an appearance — but it’s mostly a “guy movie.” Hearing these vulgar old coots rattle on about the horribly nasty things they want to do, and claim to have done, to women after awhile just gets downright mean-spirited and ugly. Their verbal antics will probably make any viewer of Trailer Town swear off of sex for at least a year.

However, if In Our Garden is a deconstruction of the “romantic comedy” as I’ve asserted, then perhaps Trailer Town is a deconstruction of the “male bonding” film, e.g. Swingers.

While most of Trailer Townswims in the filth of a surreal trailer park, there is a brief scene where one of the park’s inhabitants makes contact with the “real” world. Bill, a real blowhard and ostensibly the “star” of the film, straps on his favorite, biggest dildo, storms into a record store and threatens the life of the store’s clerk, who reacts the way most viewers of Trailer Town will react to the film. He’s completely horrified.

This scene appears to be a brief stepping out from the film to point out that these cretinous trailer park inhabitants are not sympathetic, are not to be admired and are not supposed to be entertaining. While I roared with laughter all the way through In Our Garden, very little of Trailer Town struck me as funny.

So, is the film a comedy or an anti-comedy? Is Trailer Town just a relentless assault of vulgarity meant to be amusing? Or is it some sort of commentary on modern masculinity? As I said at the beginning of this review, Giuseppe’s films inspire a lot of questions about their maker and their own nature.

And one last word for those brave and/or just curious enough to face the assault of Trailer Town: The entire film, tho’ spoken entirely in English (albeit mostly a drunken form of English), is fully subtitled from the first scene to the last. Actually, “subtitled” is too kind of a word.

All of the dialogue, as it is spoken, is reproduced in giant block lettering on the screen. Sometimes this is helpful as the film is badly miked, but most of the time I couldn’t figure out what purpose the running text served. I also tried to “tune out” the text and not read along. However, that proved to be a fruitless endeavor as the text is too obtrusive to ignore.

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