Motivational Growth starts with the death of Kent. Kent is the only friend Ian has left in the world, they have a pact that they would be there for each other to the end, though in truth Ian always assumed he would be the first to go. Kent is a 1964 Commodore television. This might seem sad but it’s better than being left with the plants who were always plotting something untoward.
This is the end of the road for Ian who decides to end it all. Unfortunately Ian has never been good at plans, or action hence why his only friend in the world is a television set and he hasn’t left his apartment in over a year. Now when you fail at most things the answer is death but it seems that when you fail at death you might be given salvation, a friend, guidance and a steady hand. Unfortunately for Ian this comes in the form of talking mold.
‘The Mold’ as it wishes to be known offers him a deal, give The Mold till the end of the week to turn Ian around and if not he can go back to filling his bathtub with chlorine gas. After all what’s the worst that can happen?
Ian Folivor is played by Adrian DiGiovanni and he is a Hikikomori, for those who don’t know a Hikikomori is a shut in, a recluse, someone so afraid of the outside world that they have shut it away altogether. As Ian says, it is like there is a forcefield around the door, a force of will field. The people in these situations, so devoid of outside influence have been known to exhibit signs of cabin fever and to loose all sense of worth and dignity. After all why go through the basics of washing and exercising if there is literally nobody else around. In fact Ian seems to only get out of bed some days to alleviate his bed sores. When we first meet Ian he gives of an air of filth that makes you want to go and shower and the apartment looks like he may have a dead body hidden away in there that even he doesn’t know about. Thus when The Mold starts talking to him and encouraging him that there is still a chance for him he takes it, grudgingly. He doesn’t know if it is the chlorine gas or the bump on the head, or madness or simply the isolation and neither do we, not entirely at least and that could be one of the main problems of the film.
See the movie is about a man at the end of his rope isolated by his own fear, stuck in a flat thjat he could be evicted from at any day, not because he can’t afford it (though how he can afford it is never really extrapolated on) but because the money and his landlord is outside. He is a man whose only friend is a television and who thinks that his fish willingly killed themselves to get out of there and the movie really tries to show this kind of life. Not just from the outside but from the in. Ian regularly monologues about what he is thinking and feeling, talking to the camera, possibly as a forth wall breaker or simply because he is talking to himself, now his friend has abandoned him, and you are simply there to see it. It’s like Abed from Community or certain Deadpool books before he became Marvels new cashcow, is Ian aware he is in a movie or simply so mad he thinks someone is watching? He is talking to his bathroom mold afterall. This doesn’t really generate a satisfying movie, at least structurally and I can see more than a few people being unhappy with the end.
See I bet you heard of this and thought it was going to be some wacky feel good indie hit where Ian learns from The Mold, grows as a person and comes out the other side with the girl and a new belief in life. Spoiler, not so much.
See when an angel comes down from heaven because you are about to commit suicide there’s a good chance they at least mean well, even if you are in a parody episode of a classic movie and things don’t pan out. But when your best offer is from fungi growing next to a sink, maybe just take stock of what they are saying once in a while. Especially when it is voiced by Jeffrey Combs, last heard playing distressed citizen number six in the Lego Marvel game, a man not known for playing the good guy.
Now this isn’t a ‘Moon’ situation here, where we have a lead, a big name actor doing voice work and that’s it. No despite never leaving his apartment Ian manages to gather a small collection of characters. From Zathras now a t.v repair man pushing plasma, not not as in blood plasma, a landlord too dumb to know what an ox is but strong enough and short tempered enough to earn the nickname and wants to know if Ian even knows what ‘it‘ is and Leah who goes past every day at 10:15 on the dot.
With the outside world too bright to handle everyone passes through his apartment but not everyone passes out again afterward. The effects desrve a mention, entirely practical and never being afraid to skimp of the blood and slime and the puppet manages to look sublimely sinister cast in the shadow of the sink.
Occasionally we see life inside the t.v in wonderfully over the top shows, all seemingly ripped from the early nineties, indeed occasionally slips into them apparently to cope with what is happening to him, but I’m slipping into analyse mode there. Anyway one of the coolest of these is when things take on the look of an old LucasArts style point and click game derived from a trailer seen near the start. This in turn bleeds over into the chiptune styled soundtrack that never manages to stand out even when the flesh and blood actors are back on screen.
The movie probably isn’t for everyone but I enjoyed it and would recommend it to fans of bizarre and gross. It is currently available from GOG.com for four pound and nine pence or your regional equivalent.
Perhaps one of the most distracted things about the movie was the aforementioned advert for what seemed to be a shmup/ point and click adventure game set in some distant corner of the galaxy. See the problem was that the guy was asked to design his imaginarily perfect game and it looked it. But for those left drooling, pine no longer for this year the game made it to kickstarter and it has already been funded which means this will be heading to reality very soon, ish, hopefully.