Dance Party USA
Do yourself a favor, lady. Keep the headphones on for this flick.

Theatrical Release Date: 03/12/2006 (SXSW Festival), 01/28/2008 (DVD)
Director: Aaron Katz
Cast: Cole Pennsinger, Anna Kavan, Ryan White, Natalie Buller

I think I’ve found religion and I have “Dance Party, USA” to thank … that is, I said “Oh, God” and “Jesus, make it stop” a whole lot while I watched and sat through the whole thing. That’s like finding religion, right? Right? Well, one thing’s for sure, some of the people involved here should be sent straight to hell for crafting something so bad that I was looking to come up with a rating under zero.

The premise is that some teens meet up at a party. It’s supposed to be one of those, natural-feeling, slice of life flicks. However, when’s the last time a girl listened to some guy, who already had a terrible reputation as an asshole, tell her how he basically raped a 14 year-old (but stopped in the middle because he figured out it was wrong) and the girl goes on to be okay with it and kisses him the next day at a crappy, parking-lot amusement park?

I’m sorry, did I really drink that much beer? I can’t have actually seen that scene … hold on … I’m skipping to that section of the film on the DVD just to make sure … and … yup, that’s what happens.

This is absolute bullshit! I wish I could be more tactful about it but this film is purely self-indulgent amateur filmmaker crap. The lead actor is basically the third London brother, only he makes Jason and Jeremy look like Gary Oldman clones. His “best friend” is a retarded version of Casey Affleck (and that’s an insult to Casey, the mentally challenged community and the world at large).

Just about every scene looks like the actors just learned their lines and instead of feeling like real conversations, you can feel the pauses as each wait for the other to finish their sentence so they know when to begin theirs. They’re not listening to each other, they’re just regurgitating the script.

The only slightly bright spot is the main female role, played by Anna Kavan. The role fails because of the script and direction, not necessarily for her acting ability. It’d be like watching Sydney Poitier take over the Jeremy Irons role in “Dungeons & Dragons”. No amount of ability makes that role work, nor does her potential make any of the pain go away.

What makes this film even more frustrating is that it comes from Aaron Katz, who directed my favorite film of 2008 so far, “Quiet City“. In listening to a bit of the commentary on “Dance Party, USA”, I found out that whereas “Quiet City” was largely improvisational, “Dance Party, USA” basically stuck to the script.

It’s too bad someone on the crew didn’t have the good sense to burn that script. The world would be a better place. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to see this film. You’re better off smashing a hole in your TV, taping up a picture of cockroaches having sex and getting drunk. Seriously.

One of the worst films I have EVER seen (and I’ve seen “Manos: Hands of Fate”), there’s only one rating I can deliver “Dance Party, USA” and that’s the dreaded bag of hammers – a 0 out of 5. I’m not ever sure hitting yourself with the hammers to lose consciousness is the best course of action here … you should have already used the hammer to destroy the DVD and/or hunt down the responsible parties.

I will reiterate the best course of action one more time, to make sure none of you fall prey to this film: DO NOT SEE THIS FILM … it will urinate on your soul and kick your dog.