"Wirey Spindell" is the kind of film that leaves the viewer asking a lot of questions. Such as, "Will this movie get any better?" "Why would this girl (or any other) actually want to be with him?" "What the Hell was (writer/ director/ producer) Eric Schaffer thinking?"
This somewhat autobiographical film tells the story of Wirey Spindell, a guy who finds himself days away from his upcoming wedding and unable to make love to the women he loves. While he deals with his problems, he revisits three earlier phases of his life as he looks at what has made him the way that he is, as he sees himself as a little kid, as a young adolescent, and, most extensively, as a college aged drug and alcohol addicted guy.
While the semi-autobiographical, nostalgic approach worked so well in "Almost Famous" here it falls flat. The attempts at humor in the film are often in bad taste and few will actually elicit a laugh. While the material related to Wirey's troubles with drugs and alcohol in college and his interactions with his college love are some of the better parts of the movie, other parts, especially those dealing with the adult Wirey is painful to watch, and not in a sympathetic way.
Perhaps the biggest problem in this film is that the adult Wirey is just not a likable character. There is virtually no chemistry between Wirey and Tabatha, his fiancee, even during the "Good times." While Callie Thorne does put in a good performance, there just isn't much there between them, even when there is supposed to be.
There is also a scene in the film which is somewhat troubling. Young Wirey's friend Robby is African-American and, because he can be at times a bit difficult to understand, Schaffer puts subtitles on the screen, however, he does so by showing the same portion of the scene a second time with subtitles. Whether this is done simply to assist the viewer or to get a laugh, it falls flat and is somewhat troubling.
While it is possible that one watching this movie will argue that it really isn't THAT bad, it is simply not worth the time to watch.
"Wirey Spindell" is presented in wide screen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Throughout the film, there are occasional specks of dust that are somewhat evident, although not unduly distracting. The colors are fairly clear and true, and the skintones are fairly accurate.
The sound transfer on this DVD is a 5.1 Stereo Mix. This is one of the first DVD's that I have encountered that does not use Dolby sound. The sound is decent, but is not exceptionally sharp. The film is extremely dialogue driven, with extensive use of music. Both are easily discernable, and there is no real need to increase the volume at any time to be able to clearly perceive the dialogue of the film..
The bonus materials on this DVD include weblinks, production credits, filmographies and feature length commentary by writer/ director/ producer Eric Schaffer and composer Amanda Kravat.The production credits are strictly credits, without any sort of production notes, and the filmmographies are also relatively run-of the mill.
The commentary track is interesting insofar as Schaffer freely shares with the listener which scenes are actually autobiographical. Whether this should make us appreciate the film more or think poorly of Schaffer is never clear. An annoying aspect of the commentary, however, is a lack of humility. Countless times, Schaffer says "Oh this is great," or Kravat refers to a scene or a line as "one of the greatest lines in the history of film." While the boldness is impressive considering the reviews this film received in its theatrical release. The two do discuss the process of making the film, the locations which are being used, and their interactions with and opinions of the other actors in this film. All in all, the only aspect of the commentary really worth watching is the discussion of which scenes actually were drawn from Schaffer's life.
It is hard to be overly critical of a film which revisits the filmmaker's childhood. It is his experiences and his memories on screen, and it is hard to criticize such things. That being said, this film simply fails to entertain. Trust me and skip it.