Yes, in Bass Ackwards, a man drives a ‘76 Volkswagen van across America. No, the film isn’t mired with the tired mechanics of a typical “road movie.” This utterly original, lyrical, and visually exciting adventure has such a light touch that it quietly sneaks up and tugs you into an overpowering appreciation of being human.
When humble Linas, kicked off of his friend’s couch and spurned by his lover, finds a forgotten van on a llama farm outside Seattle, he begins lurching east with nothing to lose. Slowly, the road eases him out of his relentless longing and into the moment. As his encounters with enigmatic characters take on subtly transcendent qualities, his shame and discomfort at being alone gradually give way to self-acceptance and connection. The dented, off-kilter vehicle, which valiantly, amazingly endures the journey, becomes a colorful metaphor for the human condition—our tenacity and hopefulness always tinged with imperfection.—Sundance Film Festival
A graduate of New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing, Linas Phillips started out as a live performer of experimental theater and alternative comedy while living in New York City. Linas’ day job for over 5 years was babysitting special needs kids, with whom he started making short videos.
Since then he has made several short video projects, including Ushtanka (Enough), a documentary about his 93-year-old Lithuanian grandmother which he directed, shot and edited. Walking to Werner was Linas’ first feature film, in which he vowed to walk from Seattle to Werner Herzog’s home in Los Angeles.
Phillips made his narrative feature film debut in 2010 with Bass Ackwards.
The easy listening of indy film. There are no pretentions here, which is refreshing, but the film never runs the risk of becoming pretentious. It never runs the risk of anything. The theme of transient human relationships is squandered in a narrative that doesn't know how to invest the audience. Watchable but ultimately unimportant.
More risks need to be taken here! It's a shame because it was a promising film but never managed to break out and become a really interesting work. The one problem I have with a lot of the American independent works being released right now is that they're too light; there needs to be more films willing to throw people out of their comfort zones like Ronald Bronstein's 'Frowland' managed to.
"The idea was to record and respond to the political and culture climate as instantaneously as possible — and, one assumes, intervene