Main cast: Adrian Grenier (Owen), Angela Trimbur (Isabel), Fionnula Flanagan (Violet), Matthew Gray Gubler (Caleb), and AnnaLynne McCord (Pearl)
Director: Richard Bates Jr
Trash Fire is marketed as a horror movie, and I’m playing along by calling it that, but it is actually more of a dark comedy. Wait, that would imply that it is funny, which it isn’t. It’s drama… wait, it’s not very emotional. How about thriller? Well, it gets violent in the last few minutes, but on the whole, the violence happens off-screen – on my blood pressure. I know, I’ll just call this movie crap.
Owen is a troubled fellow. He has a big nice house and a hot girlfriend, Isabel, but a traumatic event in his past gives him the excuse to act like a loathsome piece of crap to everyone, and the brunt of his emotional and verbal abuse is Isabel. When Isabel announces that she is pregnant, he offers to split the abortion bill because it’s “only a few hundred dollars”, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the hurtful things he would say carelessly to her. Eventually he decides to bring Isabel to meet his grandmother and his scarred and not-quite-together sister Pearl, and surprise, the grandmother Violet is basically an older woman version of Owen. She treats Isabel like dirt, and I only roll up my eyes when Isabel tells Owen that his grandmother is a “cunt”. She’s sleeping with one, so why is she shocked that his grandmother is the same kind of garbage?
This movie, therefore, is about 90 minutes of people saying the shittiest things to one another. Maybe director and scriptwriter Richard Bates Jr fancy himself something like Neil LaBute who started out making deliberately misanthropic movies to win the hearts of jaded critics, but watching this one is like listening to the trashy neighbors next door screaming at one another day in and out. There is no joy in it, no point at all, and to enjoy this movie requires a suspension of disbelief when it comes to Isabel. I mean, why does she want to keep being with that turd Owen, and why does she keep subjecting herself to the nonsense he and his grandmother put her through? “You can’t choose the one you love,” she tells a shrink, and this seems, to me, personifies this entire show. It’s all about loathsome people and victims who choose to keep debasing themselves to these loathsome turds.
Fortunately, people in real life can choose what they want to love, and avoiding this movie is easy.
Oh, and Adrian Grenier shows quite a lot of skin (as does Angela Trimbur) in two sad non-sexy scenes, but either he’s wearing a modesty pouch or they digitally erased his dangling bits, because when he goes full frontal, there is nothing down there but a messy thicket. That’s the only unintentionally amusing moment in this movie.