Pithy, Provocative & Pornographic
Release Date: January 25, 2002
Starring: Selma Blair, Robert Wisdom,
Leo Fitzpatrick, Paul Giamati,
Mark Webber, John Goodman,
Julie Hagerty, Lupe Ontiveros,
& Jonathan Osser
Genre: Comedy, Black
Runtime: 87 minutes
Distributor: Fine Line Features/New Line
Director: Todd Solondz
Executive Producer: Amy Henkels, David Linde &
Michael De Luca
Producer: Christine Vachon & Ted Hope
Writer: Todd Solondz
Address Comments To:Mark Ordesky, President
Fine Line Features
Robert Shaye, CEO
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
STORYTELLING is divided into two parts. The first, shorter part, titled “Fiction,” tells what happens when the girlfriend of a college student with cerebral palsy has a fling with their black literature professor. A political revolutionary who seems to be bored by his white suburban students, the professor turns out to be a perverted racist.
The second story, titled “Non-Fiction,” describes a dysfunctional white suburban family, headed by John Goodman and Julie Hagerty. The parents are pushing their aimless, lazy older son, Scooby, into college. A would-be documentary filmmaker, named Toby Oxman (played by Paul Giamati), decides that he’d like Scooby to be his focus on the trials and tribulations of high school life, especially the trials of students who, like Scooby, are on the verge of graduating. A family tragedy puts everything into perspective for both Toby and Scooby, leaving viewers with a lot of things to think about after they leave the theater.
The social satire in STORYTELLING is very pointed, pithy and provocative, and not entirely without merit. This is true especially when the movie calls into question the political correctness in today’s society regarding minorities and handicapped people. The sex scenes in STORYTELLING, however, are incredibly shocking and distasteful, especially in the first story. In fact, in order to get the R-rating guaranteed in his contract, Solondz blocks out the most graphic sexual encounter with a red censor bar. Ultimately, his movie argues in favor of unrestricted artistic expression, even if it graphically depicts the ugliest, most perverted kinds of human behavior. It also attacks American suburban life. This gives STORYTELLING a strong Romantic worldview, instead of the Christian worldview that it should contain.
STORYTELLING is, however, one of the better acted, better written satires to come out of Hollywood in recent years. By focusing on the sudden maturation of Mark Webber’s Scooby character, it packs an emotional wallop that leaves one regretting the director’s juvenile need to offend and blaspheme viewers’ sensibilities.
The social satire in STORYTELLING is very pointed, pithy and provocative, and not entirely without merit. The sex scenes in the movie, however, are incredibly shocking and distasteful, especially in the first story. Ultimately, the movie argues in favor of unrestricted artistic expression, even if it graphically depicts the ugliest, most perverted kinds of human behavior. This gives STORYTELLING a strong Romantic worldview, instead of the Christian worldview that it should contain