OFF THE MAP Add To My Top 10
Too Bad It’s Out of Bounds
Release Date: March 11, 2005
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for nudity and thematic
Runtime: 105 minutes
Distributor: Manhattan Pictures International
Director: Campbell Scott
Producer: Campbell Scott and George VanBuskirk
Writer: Joan Ackermann
Address Comments To:Manhattan Pictures International
369 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 453-5055
Fax: (212) 453-5080
The movie starts with Bo, a young girl, talking about the our Lord Jesus Christ, His face being seen on a tortilla in a café in New Mexico, and describing the summer that her father got depressed. Her father was her best friend, but he’s so depressed that he can’t go hunting with her, build things with her, or be a father. Her mother Arlene doesn’t know what to do with the father, and his best friend George tries to help him to no avail.
The family lives naturalistically in the middle of the desert in New Mexico, way off the map. The parents are like aging hippies while the daughter Bo reads Forbes magazine and figures out clever but not-so-honest ways to scam companies to send her cupcakes and food products. Her descriptions of the world are superb.
One day, while her mother is working naked in the garden (in the middle of nowhere), a man named William Gibbs walks miles from his abandoned car to serve tax papers on the family. After putting on a coat, Arlene tells William that the family only makes $5,000 a year and didn’t think it was necessary to file taxes. William has seen her naked and is totally entranced with her – so entranced that he stands still as he gets stung by bees. Reacting to the bees, he goes into a devastating tailspin, but after several days, he is a transformed man. He abandons the IRS, moves into an old bus on the property and becomes a painter.
George, meanwhile, the best friend, goes to a psychiatrist to get anti-depressant pills for the father Charlie. After years and years of being Charlie’s best friend, George falls in love with the psychiatrist, gets married and moves out of town. Bo continues her quest for normalcy, is somewhat rebuked in her scam of the companies, gets a credit card and buys a boat, which is out of place in the middle of the desert, and matures in imagination, wisdom and faith.
There are some surprising parts of this movie. William Gibbs tells Arlene that he loves her, but their relationship is never consummated, because Arlene treats him like a little boy. He tells Charlie that he walked in on his mother’s suicide when he was six-years-old but later thinks that this may be a false memory planted by his brother. Charlie refuses to take any anti-depressant drugs, and, when he does, he gets very violent. Gibbs becomes a superb best-selling painter, but his life is cut short.
The acting and direction in OFF THE MAP are superb. The visual elements are extremely well thought out. For the time that the movie is on the screen, you are living in the desert. Bo is a captivating character.
It is rare to hear such good dialogue in a movie, with each line twisting and building on others in imaginative ways. Some of the movie is hilariously funny. And, in many ways it is a comedy, but one done with great subtlety and precision.
There is not a lot of foul language, but the film is out of bounds because of the full female nudity. Although the nudity is not sexual, it is explicit and lingers for several long moments, and the nude drawings follow from it. Too bad, because otherwise this film could have been a captivating coming-of-age tale.
The acting and direction in OFF THE MAP are superb. It is rare to hear such good dialogue, with each line twisting and building on others in imaginative ways. In many ways, the movie is a hilarious comedy, but one done with great subtlety and precision. There is not a lot of foul language, but the movie is out of bounds because of the full female nudity, although it is not sexual. Too bad, because otherwise this movie could have been a captivating coming-of-age tale.