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Writ/Dir. Michele Maher
Str. David Thronton, Katie Macnichol, Saundra Santiago, Juan Hernandez
Opens June 6th at the Village East Cinemas

About as Intelligent as the Subject Matter

I should probably detail some of the biases I have against this movie, just so you can take it all with a grain of salt. To start with, I'm standing in line, waiting to check in at the press screening. The lovable, smiley PR girl is sitting down with a huge list of names-- all certified B-grade film critics, and me somewhere near the bottom. The guy in front of me-- a strange 20-something mix of a flaming queen and a phish head, he give his name, she crosses him off the list, and then reaches into a bag behind her and pulls out a huge pair of briefs. These briefs are massive, and only appear more so due to the fact that the crotch is heavily padded (see picture). I get to the front, give my name, watch it get crossed off the list, and then wait. After, like half a second I say "no underwear?" in my mousiest whine; the girl just smiles bigger and shakes her head. As I'm walking away I hear her say, "Here ya go" to the man behind me, someone who would definitely not get the joke of the huge padded briefs. I mean, come on! I would have actually used them... I swear!

Free Williamsburg
Film Archive


Capturing the Friedmans
The Eye
28 Days Later
Cowboy Bebop

Washington Heights
Better Luck Tomorrow
View From the Top

Laurel Canyon

Ordinary Sinner
Dark Blue
The Quiet American


Hell House
Good Housekeeping
Roger Dodger
Spirited Away
Punch-Drunk Love
Bowling For Columbine
Scarlet Diva
Full Frontal
Sex and Lucia
The Powerpuff Girls Movie
Read My Lips (Sur Mes Levres)
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Human Nature
Shot in the Heart
Jim Brown: All American
Stolen Summer
Ram Dass: Fierce Grace

Then, to no fault of either the film makers or the PR company, the two people in front of me at the theatre decided to start falling asleep about 1/2 an hour into the movie. Then about twenty minutes after that, one of them pulled a flask form his jacket and started taking belts off it in between dozings. I'm not sure if I found this distracting, or I was just extremely jealous, but either way, it tainted the movie a little.

All exterior circumstances not withstanding, however, Garmento, is a quirky, funny movie. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be spoof of the fashion world, or a poorly disguised retelling of true events. Either way Garmento feels like this weird form of nostalgia powers it.

'Remember when Ralf Lauren came out with that line of 'RL' jeans? Remember the whole heroine chic fashion movement, or when Calvin Klein was pronounced a pedophile?'

'Uh... yeah... I guess.'

'Good times.'

So, I might not be the right person to be reviewing this movie. I mean in the middle of the whole jeans craze of the mid-nineties I was busy thrifting my way through the salvation armies and seventies vintage warehouses of Portland. I didn't buy a pair of CK's until you could get them at Costco's and I needed something to wear for my first watering job; and I've never bought any RL's. I was lucky enough to bring a girl with me who actually knew all of it, and got all of the clever references, and subtle jabs.

Once those were explained to me the whole movie made a lot more sense, satirically. Plot-wise there are some questionable decisions, and character development actually manages to move backwards, but there is a charm to Garmento that is undeniable. The humor is rather unique, and the acting is above the board. While perhaps pointless, Garmento is, at least, entertaining. And isn't that what life… and fashion is really all about?

Three Tasty pieces of eye candy

The boys in this one are pretty much exactly what you'd expect coming out of a fashion industry movie. Tons of boys in tight black get-ups all trying to look chic cool and perfect. As an added bonus anyone who wanders around Chelsea at all is guaranteed to spot a couple people they know or may have slept with cameo-ing their way through Garmento. Personally I saw two boys that I know. Steven Guareno tucked in the back of the elevator scenes. Apparently he had been in more scenes but was cut. And some guy I met one night at the Roxy a few years back who never actually spoke to me but I followed him around all night - and 'stalking' counts as 'knowing,' don't you think?

One stupid and bizarre 'It was all just a dream!' twist

The ending... what the fuck!? I don't want to give anything away for the five people who will read this and be like "Oh my god! How could I NOT go see this movie!?" It left me scratching my head wondering, "Did a nice, trite little comedy, actually try to make some bold statement about fate, existence, and the circular nature of the universe? Or were they just being really, really stupid? And if they weren't, then why? To what end?" The last pile of minutes to the movie is bizarre in their idiocy. It would have made more sense if they'd left the movie open for a sequel or something. 'Garmento 2: the curse of the polyester'

Two sensibly dressed hipsters with bulging crotches

Despite not getting the free skivvies, and the ridiculously odd ending, and the guy belting scotch in front of me, Garmento isn't a terrible movie. There are a couple of comic devices it uses and stays true to for the entire movie, even when they start to feel a little old-- which only makes them funnier in the end. It also walks the line between the absurd and the satirical carefully and cleverly. While it's a fairly pointless movie, Garmento is quite a lot of fun. Especially if you actually cared about designer jeans when you were a kid, or if you're a desperate fag in serious need of some painfully fashionable eye-candy.

--B.C. Edwards
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Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
[email protected] | June 2003 | Issue 39
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