I like a guy who puts on a cape and cowl and goes out into the night to fight crime. I like the colorful, often kooky villains who bring mayhem to Gotham City. I’ve heard some say they like Spider-Man because Peter Parker is a nerdy everyman they can relate to, but not me. I like Bruce Wayne, the broody billionaire. I like the Tim Burton Batman films best of all, because they’re just the right amount of campy without going full-throttle (I am, of course, looking at you, Mr. Schumacher). A superhero story like this should be fun, after all… right?
Or so goes the plot of Gregg Araki’s latest film, Kaboom — only with less subtlety. Araki is the filmmaker behind 2005′s hauntingly beautiful, moody Mysterious Skin, which gave the world its first taste of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a seriously talented performer, and the stoner comedy Smiley Face, a silly trifle worth watching to see the inimitable Anna Faris in full-out gonzo crazy mode as she rolls from her car to the floor of her garage because she thinks Satan is after her. Of course, Araki also has a cult following thanks to early films like Nowhere and The Doom Generation, which were also about disaffected, strung-out, promiscuous youths, many of them gay/lesbian/bi/whatever. Ostensibly, Kaboom is a throwback to those films, dubbed the “teen apocalypse trilogy” — is it now a quadrology? If you ever watched Dr. Strangelove and thought it could use more gay sex and a witch-melting scene, then Kaboom is the movie for you. Continue reading →