Fantasia Film Festival 2020 Screening – While THE OLD MAN MOVIE (or “Vanamehe Film”, as it’s known in its original Estonian) is based off of short webisodes available on youtube, there is very little that could prepare you for the complete absurdity of this film. Take a road trip movie, add a dairy farmer lusting for vengeance, a perverted ancient tree, a rock star stuck inside a bear… and you might have the beginnings of something as crazy as THE OLD MAN MOVIE. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Three kids are sent to their grandpa’s farm for the summer. Seems like a simple, almost boring premise, doesn’t it? However, after exploring grandpa’s mysterious and spooky barn, a case of mistaking crazy old grandpa for dead, and a botched funeral, their summer can truly begin. Seeing grandpa on fire floating down the river was certainly one way to kick off the summer, but now they’re being put to work – cleaning the stalls, feeding the animals, and most importantly, learning about milking cows. No, they aren’t allowed to milk the cow themselves, just watch as grandpa does. You see, he’s the only person who really knows the right way to milk a cow – and these young kids with their fancy electronic devices and new big city ways would never be able to treat a cow like he does. Grandpa may be a stickler for the old ways, but he’s nothing compared to “The Old Milker”, a creepy old dairy man with a sordid past. The Old Milker will do anything to destroy Grandpa’s milk legacy, and starts by setting the cow loose overnight. What the kids don’t know is that an unmilked cow is prone to explosion, and a mere 24 hours could lead to total destruction, not just of the cow, but of the town too. Grandpa and the two oldest kids set out on a wild adventure to find the cow and milk it before it’s too late. Along their bizarre journey, they encounter a hippie love-in/music festival, where the cow is being worshipped as a link between man and nature. Old Milker teams up with a gang of out of work lumberjacks, and they crash the festival, leaving a wake of chainsaw detritus behind them. Thus begins the insane Man vs Man vs Cow roller coaster ride. Meanwhile, the townspeople are out of control without their milk, and the youngest of the grandkids puts on his thinking cap and tries to invent a new way to solve the problem. Will the new overtake the old, or are some people just too set in their ways to ever grow? Can you teach an old grandpa new tricks? If what I just described sounds absurd, it is nothing compared to the final throwdown of THE OLD MAN MOVIE. Truly, nothing could prepare most viewers for this movie, as each turn is more bizarre and completely out of left field. What starts out seemingly innocent turns to adult humor very quickly, most of which is completely beyond our nearly puritanical American thinking. In researching the original videos this film is based on, it seems they’re mostly very short, single punchline comedy videos. In a way, THE OLD MAN MOVIE follows a similar formula – short little montages of humor and absurdity strung together by an extremely loose, extremely nonsensical storyline. I mean, let’s be honest here, the whole thing centers around a cow. I can’t say that I can think of too many movies that fall into the same category. As an American viewer it’s also astonishingly clear how different our sense of humor is culturally. I am interested to see how this film does in front of American audiences, as I think it will be harder to follow than American audiences are ready for. A standout of THE OLD MAN MOVIE is the beautiful art direction. The humanoid puppets are quite bizarre looking, and verging on ugly, as are most of the animal puppets – seriously “ugly cute”. The Old Milker puppet is truly disgusting – a bizarre combination of skeletal and bloated, milky white flesh. The scenery gets a 10 out of 10 from me – reminiscent of some beautiful cartoons, like Over the Garden Wall, and equally as picturesque yet frightening. Everything in this film – from the barn, to the forest, to the machinery and equipment is gritty, grungy, and lovingly “used” looking. THE OLD MAN MOVIE’s title may fool you, but I promise you this is something that must be seen to be believed.
Makeup Artist, Monster Maker, Educator, Producer, Haunt-lover, and all around Halloween freak. When Miranda isn't watching horror films, she's making them happen. When she's not doing either of those things, she's probably dreaming about them. Or baking cookies.