Southlander: Diary of a Desperate Musician
J. Gordon
12/10/2003 3:21:36 PM

Southlander, named after one of those freebie classified ads magazines, is the coolest low-budget movie to come out in a while. The acting is cheesy, the story ridiculous, but all pulled together it’s just clever, absurd and entertaining enough to keep you watching. Told from the perspective of Chance (Rory Cochrane of CSI Miami), it is the haphazard story of a guy on a quest for the rare 1969 Moletron synthesizer that will change everything. The snappy narrative is half the fun, with references to the LA suburbs as “beigetown” and his plight of mediocrity, “I didn’t have the haircut. Couldn’t understand the clothes. I figured maybe this keyboard was my ticket out of town.”

Chance whores himself out to get the Moletron, which also gets him the girl in the band (Beth Orton, who’s surprisingly good in the part of a euro-techno space cadet). But that’s just the beginning. The magical Moletron is stolen, by none-other than his best friend Ross (Ross Harris of Airplane!), and bounces from psycho-to-psycho across LA in the most ridiculous adventure since…well, maybe since ever. We’re talking giant car-eating dinosaurs made of metal in the junk yard of Hank Williams III (as himself). We’re talking inside snowstorms, white rabbits and Welcome Back Kotter’s Freddie Boom-Boom Washington (Lawrence Hilton Jacobs) as the gun-toting badass funkmeister, Motherchild. We’re talking Latino punk bands recording in a Silverstream, Hollywood cocaine parties replete with an Orgasmatron from the Woody Allen movie, Sleeper, and Egyptian incense makers with a “space room” in the back where they play cool jazz (Billy Higgins) in the middle of outer space.

Actresses Ione Sky (Say Anything, The Lost Boys) and Laura Prepon (That 70s Show) also have significant parts, and rock star Beck is a natural in front of the camera--he steals the whole picture—with the added bonus of some good tunes. Elliott Smith (R.I.P.) does a cameo as the bus driver at the end

Directed by critically acclaimed Steven Hanft, who’s got over 70 music videos to his credit (eight of which hit MTV’s number one spot including Beck’s “Loser”), created Southlander based upon the true stories he’d heard of musician friends using the SoCal zine to buy, sell and trade instruments. It’s fun, it’s nuts, and it’s worth seeing.

Special features include Deleted Scenes, Uncut Performances, Director’s Commentary, Music Videos, Bonus Audio, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer, and 5.1 Surround Sound.

Available at


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