You Are Here* (2001)
Director: Jeff Winner
Jeff Winner, Todd Peters
Music: Byron Estep
"quit your job, get in a fight, make art,
make a new friend, get drunk, go to a funeral,
take the promotion, freak out, chant,
go to a party, crap on you boss's chair, kiss the girl
. . . deal with it"
(from the videocasette sleeve)
You Are Here* is the worst movie I have ever seen.
Generally, when people talk about the worst movie they have ever seen, they refer to such "classics" as Plan 9 from Outer Space or some other bad science fiction movie. Such movies are low-bugdet, full of production errors, with hokey plots and even hokier special effects. Such movies are usually so bad they're funny. This movie was worse than that. You Are Here* isn't funny, only painful.
I rented this movie one evening at Hollywood Video. It was part of their First Rites series of independent films from new directors, which I have had mixed results with, but generally promises an interesting cinematic experience. As part of the First Rites program, the director of the film gives a little introduction at the beginning of the tape. Jeff Winner came on my TV screen and proceeded to tell us that he had wanted to make a genuinely "real" film that everyone could relate to. This introduction was generally content-free, mostly incoherent, and blended pretentious unpretentiousness and naïveté in the most painful manner possible. Our hopes that the director could communicate better in film than in spoken words were soon dashed.
You Are Here* follows the life of aspiring artist Moe (Todd Peters) working a boring office job in Manhattan's Lower East Side, his friend/coworker Sanjay (Ajay Naidu, of Office Space fame), friend Sallie (Caroline Hall), and bizarre roommate Jason (Randall Jaynes), all characters in their late 20s. Moe hates his job and decides to quit, but then is offered a promotion when one of his coworkers dies, and takes it. He paints himself up funny and dances around. He goes out drinking with his friends and ends up at a high school party. He has a conversation with Sallie, who has just quit her job. Eventually, Moe shits on his boss's chair, and he's fired. Good for him. If you are unlucky enough to actually care about the story, I recommend you read the script on the film's website at http://www.johnnypictures.com/—it's less painful than watching the movie itself.
The mundane and uninspiring story of You Are Here* is overshadowed by a bad script, poor acting, bad direction, and bad editing. From the start, the characters are flat, their speech awkward, and their motivations unclear. Scenes drag on, then end abruptly, without any conclusion, breaking point, or, often, apparent reason for being in the film at all. In between many scenes are blurry, jittery, quasi-"artistic" interludes with bad music, probably inserted to give the movie more "emotion" or to provide a transition. These interludes are too long, further disrupt the flow of the film, and seem to be little more than the director having fun with what he can do with DV.
As you watch the film, you can feel nothing but pain, sympathy for the actors for adding such a horrible movie to their portfolio, and a desperate wish that the film end soon. There is absolutely nothing redeeming I can say about You Are Here*, and I hope to never see it again.