Sometimes my note taking while watching a movie is brief. On the one hand, it's disruptive to the flow. On the other hand, some movies don't need it. Hanger is one such movie. A movie that doesn't need notes, that is. Other than eight words about A/V quality, these are my two scrawls, "offensive nightmare," and "90 minutes of wallowing in filth." That's it, Kemosabe! Now I'm going to ramble for a few paragraphs, which will do nothing but cement the opinion you've already developed regarding this movie.
Coming from reading a tiny bit about Crispin Glover's taboo-busting movie What Is It?, I'm compelled to imbue Hanger with more importance than it deserves. Glover laments the corporate clampdown on taboo subject matter in American culture. He wants people to think for themselves. Insane rabble-rouser Ryan Nicholson (Gutterballs, Live Feed) might be interested in making people think for themselves, but if so, is coming at it from the entirely opposite direction. Whereas Glover uses actors with Down syndrome, Nicholson employs actors to portray developmentally disabled mutants; smashing, pissing on, and generally raping taboos with gleeful abandon. While I'm offended to my core by Nicholson's movies, I can't help but love the guy.
His character Hanger earns his nickname due to the way he's brought into the world, the result of a graphic, pimp-induced back alley abortion gone wrong. 18 years after the rubbery fetus is thrown across a cheap motel room, Hanger is all grown up and given a job by his murderous, ambiguously evil dad. It's a plum job, too, working with two other disfigured, retarded geeks (you'll excuse the expression, it's the only thing that fits the movie) in a garbage dump. Though sold as a revenge flick - will Hanger get revenge on those who have wronged him? - Hanger seems to exist only to push the low-budget sleaze-horror envelope over the edge and into oblivion.
If you like this sort of stuff, have a good sense of humor, a strong stomach, and a pad on your floor, (you'll need it for the number of times your jaw drops) you'll come away from this singular experience with a new red badge of courage. The badge is made of menstrual blood, and it comes from tampons that the offensively characterized, sex-and-beer obsessed Asian mongoloid likes to brew up as tea. Yes, it's that kind of movie. And in fact most of us who would willfully sit through Hanger could probably describe ourselves as sex-and-beer obsessed Asian mongoloids anyway, right?
I admiringly, grudgingly wonder what the hell Nicholson is even about? Why does he make movies 99% of the population would never consider watching, and 1% of the population probably wouldn't admit to watching? Does it have to do with the degeneration of our cultural mores, when a video called '2 Girls, 1 Cup' can become a cause celebré? I have no idea, and at the risk of having my wife initiate divorce proceedings, I'll continue to follow Nicholson's career with great interest. I guess because it's fun.
Then again, it isn't really all that fun, is it? General plotlessness, a sincere but short-changed desire to cross over into some variety of porn, attempts to rub everyone's face into the worst kind of mean-spirited humor possible, and a world in which, no matter what heinous depths you sink to, being gay is still the worst thing possible - these things are hard to take no matter how forgiving you are. So, approach with caution, ye with brave hearts. It's all fun and games until you watch someone smash a hooker's head to bits with a car door, or enjoy the sight of a delinquent having his way with a suppurating hole in someone's large intestine. And you thought it couldn't get any worse, didn't you?